Jennie Johnson moved from United States of America to Shanghai, China.
When did you first arrive in China and what are you doing here?
I arrived in Shanghai nearly a year ago on Thanksgiving Day (United States). Wow! I can’t believe it has already been a year; time really does fly here.
What do I do here?…well, officially, I’m a preschool English teacher but is anyone an English teacher abroad? Noo…
I come from nearly 10 years of event planning, fashion, and corporate marketing and even though I left that career behind in the states it’s still something I dabble in here and there. I stay involved with planning FitFam events, charity, freelance writing, copywriting, and I also manage to run my own travel-food-lifestyle blog. Let’s just say, I stay busy!
What are some of your favorite things to do in your current city ?
Being that I’m still a newbie in the honeymoon stage of Shanghai, exploring the city whether it be the Sculpture Park or walking around the French Concession is still a fun experience for me. I’ve managed to connect with some amazing communities and people in a short period of time here that I’m really focused on building connections. I enjoy checking out new brunch places on the weekends and grabbing dinner and drinks with the girls during the week. Whenever time and scheduling allows, I’m always down for taking a weekend trip!
Shanghai is honestly one of the best cities I’ve ever lived in! There is always something going on from fashion shows and fitness events to brunch and book clubs. I don’t think any weekend is ever the same.
Where do you see yourself in ten years, why?
I honestly can’t answer this question. If you asked me 10 years ago, I would’ve neversaid I see myself living in Shanghai. I’ve learned to go with the flow and take opportunities as they come!
Name three things you love about living in China.
Shanghai is a huge hub in Asia so jetting off to anywhere in Asia is as easy (and cheap) as booking a flight from NYC to LAX. Pair this with how many holidays we receive here in China and you have every traveler’s dream!
In addition to the wealth of travel opportunities, being a foodie in Shanghai is pretty amazing. I really love the variety and flavors of food readily available here! I certainly can’t pick my favorite (I’m quite indecisive) but you can get just about anything here! Not only all western food (except Cuban food, apparently), but a variety of Chinese food, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean…omg, the list goes on!
Tell us three things you miss from your home country.
Of course, I miss my family and friends, I think that one goes without saying but I also really crave Cuban food! Living in Miami spoiled me a bit and I haven’t been able to find a good Cuban sandwich or Ropa Vieja here in Shanghai.
While I’m thinking about food, I also really miss being able to go to Trader Joes and pick up a nice bottle of Pinot Noir and any cheese in the world I dream of for a decent price. Definitely can’t do that here.
But overall, there isn’t too many materialistic things I miss because everything is pretty much available for expats here. It’s more so the simple daily tasks, such as going to the bank or paying my phone bill that I long for being able to do as easily as back home. I am learning basic conversational Chinese, though, it sure doesn’t happen overnight. Things like this can be very frustrating, causing, what many expats refer to as “China days”.
How many countries have you travelled to?
Only 10 (not including the United States). I still have many more on my list and I guess that was the driving factor for me in moving abroad; the opportunity to travel more. It’s definitely provided me with this opportunity and in turn made my travel list longer. As I explore and travel more, the more travelers I meet and the more places I hear about to wanderlust after.
What is your favorite city and country you’ve traveled too? Why?
Oh boy! This is such a hard question. There are so many cities around the world that are my favorite for a certain thing that I don’t think I necessarily have an overall favorite city or even country. However, I did just spend a lot of time in Indonesia, mainly Bali and it kind of stole my heart. I don’t know if anyone has ever been to Bali and not said that, though.
Everything about Bali was amazing, the people, the food, the scenery…I’m already planning a trip back and that doesn’t happen too often for me!
Do you have any social media channels, websites, or anything you would like us to follow?
Finish this sentence…I am a girl gone international because….
I am a Girl Gone International because the world is my home now!
By Michelle Ibarra
Michelle Ibarra is the GGI Asia & Oceania Manager. She began the first GGI community in Asia in 2013 and has supported the growth of over 40 communities. An educator, business co-founder and podcaster, Michelle has lived in North & South America, Europe, Asia and currently lives in Abu Dhabi.