At first, I thought this might be something of a problem but quickly discovered that flights between Shanghai and the capital are frequent and cheap, and so this wasn’t going to be too much of an issue.To cut a long story short, I went up to Beijing, Lila came down to Shanghai a couple of weeks later, and before long we had become a couple.For many expats moving to Shanghai or Beijing, dating can be a vexed question.Our online editor Mark Angus shares with us his experiences of living in Shanghai and how having a Chinese girlfriend enriched his life and enhanced his understanding of Chinese culture When I first moved to Shanghai in 2007, It was never my intention to find myself a partner.I should add, however, that this was entirely a one-way street, as Lila’s English was impeccable.
Anyway, I really wanted to do my best to experience fully Chinese life, and dating seemed as good a way as any as doing this.
Lila (not her real name) lived in Beijing, however.
I wasn’t implacably opposed to the idea; it was just that I couldn’t foresee the circumstances in which it might happen. Not long after I arrived, a British colleague’s Chinese wife told me that she had a friend who would be ideal for me and that I had to go out with her.
Anyone who has ever been badgered into doing something by a Shanghainese woman will appreciate the barrage I was under, and so unsurprisingly I acquiesced.
Having a Chinese girlfriend enriched my stay in China in so many ways.
My Mandarin improved so much more quickly than it otherwise would have without Lila’s encouragement – she would patiently run through my character flashcards with me, answer my endless (and often mindless) questions, gently correct my appalling grammar, and generally urged me to use Mandarin as much as I could.