Going Home: So Long, and Thanks for All the Chickenfeet.

Jakob going home
Starting March 15th, I will be working as a video producer for a large advertising agency based out of Saarbrücken. It’s really a win / win situation, not only for me, but for us, my family, my friends... Not only will we be able to enjoy living in Germany and Europe, but we’ll also live in a home near my parents and near my friends, they are in my hometown, and just an hour away. Also, I should be able to get back to Shanghai and Asia every once in a while for video jobs, as the agency wants me to keep doing those here.

So how do you sum up the experience of over five years of living in China in a blog entry? It’s nearly impossible, unless I make the longest entry ever written by me out of this. I would really like to go into detail and explain very clearly what is making me move out of China by remembering the past, but it’s just too much right now. There’s some unfinished business, we have to pack, deal with Shangdown: The Way Of The Spur and other things. I will only quickly mention the main reasons.

The first and biggest reason of them all is our sweet daughter Emily, she deserves a safe and peaceful childhood, and I can offer her that. Looking at her growing up here in Shanghai reminded me of my own childhood, and China simply stands no chance against Germany in many aspects: Sanitation, insurance, society, safety, honesty, weather, quality of living, education system, politics and much more. What disappointed me recently the most was the Expo 2010 and the fact that the slogan “Better City, Better Life” was nothing more than toxic hot air. Don’t get me wrong, Shanghai is a fantastic city in many other aspects, especially for young people and singles, but as soon as you hit the family road, you realize just how terrible it is to live here with children. There is barely any nature, at least nearby, most venues are not family friendly, people in the park spit all the time and ruin it one way or another, the roads are dirty and all that... So many reasons.

Another reason is the increase of cost in Shanghai. Our apartment price went up by almost 15% last year. This year, the landlord is raising it by another 20%! Food is getting more expensive. Services of any kind are. Everything is getting more expensive. But it’s hard to charge customers so much more to compensate, and there is more and more and cheaper competition. Less productions, more bargaining. I think we are at the point where China got on it’s feet, and now it wants to try walking by itself.

There will be many, almost countless things that I’m leaving behind happily, but there are also things I will miss a lot, friends, food, work... And so on. It will be quite a challenge for us to get back and used to the life in the western world, especially for my wife. But she wanted it, learned German B1 at the Göthe Institute in Xi’An and looks forward to moving to Germany. And on a professional level, I feel I have learned as much as possible here, and will develop more skills in Germany.

I look forward to our new home, and to keep revisiting the city that both formed and changed my life.

So long, Shanghai!

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