The man makes a round trip of nearly 100 kilometers to Shanghai every day to work, changing to 3 types of transportation

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American Jose Dominguez lives on Zhaofeng Road on the border between Kunshan and Jiading, and works at an international school in Yangpu District. Every day, he uses a combination of cars, high-speed trains and subways to complete a three-hour commute of nearly 100 kilometers.

Since he posted a video of himself commuting long distances on Xiaohongshu, it has reached 35,000 views. Not a lot, but he felt as if he was being watched by people from a stadium commuting to and from work.

Out of sheer curiosity, the reporter decided to go to work with him and experience a long commute. We arrived downstairs at 6 a.m. at his neighborhood on Mega Road, and at 6:10 a.m., Dong Jose showed up on time. When we walked out of Guoquan Road Station on Metro Line 10 and watched him walk to the school, it was nearly 8 o'clock.

Along the way, we followed him, trying to observe the city that we had long been familiar with the eyes of an ordinary foreigner, and made some unexpected discoveries.

For his part, Don Jose feels like an ordinary observer in the city 70% of the time. But at the same time he really lived in it, and he was on the daily commute like everyone else, living seriously, diligently, and not always with fun.

6:10 Drive to the high-speed rail station

"I can also be a hitchhiker"

He and his girlfriend moved here about six months ago, and after three years of dating, the two decided to buy their own house in Shanghai. In their opinion, this place is the most cost-effective area, although strictly speaking, it is classified as Kunshan City, which already belongs to the boundary of Jiangsu Province.

After they moved to their new home, Don Jose bought a car. He planned to drive to work, but after a week of trying, he realized that it was not wise. During the morning and evening rush hours, the G42 is too congested. And because he was unfamiliar with Shanghai's road conditions, he had to spend that drive under high nervous tension, which was not a good experience.

He said that all the big cities in the world have traffic congestion problems to some extent. "My family and I drove in Los Angeles a long time ago, and the traffic there was even worse."

So he decided to commute by public transportation.

Don Jose went to the underground garage to pick up the car

The subway is the way most commuters living nearby, and near his community, it is the Anting Station of Metro Line 11. But the biggest problem with the subway is congestion, and like many foreigners, he is not used to physical contact with strangers, so he prefers to spend 24 yuan a day on a round-trip high-speed rail ticket.

It takes about 5 minutes to walk from the building where his house is located to the underground garage. Every morning, he parks his car in the surface parking lot of Anting North Station, from where he takes the high-speed train to Shanghai Railway Station.

This is a small and sophisticated Volkswagen with little space inside the car, but it is enough for two people. "Recently, they wanted to sell us parking spaces, but it was very expensive." "I remember — of course I may be mistaken — it seemed like $200,000," he said. So we still rent a parking space for the time being. ”

José's girlfriend also works in the city, but with relatively free hours, working remotely from home a few days a week. So the main problem living in Kunshan was his commute, and he quickly adapted.

"In the U.S., people have long been accustomed to long commutes. For example, I remember when I was a child, my mother would spend 2 hours each way to work. I'm now over an hour each way, which is nothing in comparison. ”

Every morning, he wakes up at about 5:45 and leaves around 6:20 (note: we left 10 minutes early for filming on this day). On the way to the high-speed rail station, there are not many cars, and it is even more difficult to see people. This advantage is especially evident on rainy days, "Wasn't it raining heavily in Shanghai the other day?" Although I had to drive a little slower than usual, there was almost no delay. ”

Mr. Dong said he hoped his car would drive fairly well

"I hope I drive more steadily than the Didi driver who sent you here in the morning," Dong Jose said to us with a smile, "If I usually drive a little more and am more familiar with the road conditions, I think I can be a hitchhiker and take others along the way." But I'm not sure if the passengers mind if the driver even says Chinese disadvantage, which makes them nervous. ”

6:32 Arrive at Anting North Station

This year, I obtained my football coaching certificate

"I like Anting in the morning, it's very quiet compared to downtown Shanghai." He stopped the car and walked to the station, "Especially when the weather is good, the smell in the air is fresh." Here, the only sound is the sound of trains speeding by. ”

There were very few people at the station, almost all commuters like him. Every day, he buys the next day's high-speed rail tickets on time on 12306, "It would be much more convenient if there was a season ticket, but I'm not sure if there are season tickets for sale." ”

He said there was no longer commute than anyone he knew. "Last year I had a colleague who commute 1 hour and 10 minutes each way, and his family lives in Minhang, commuting between Yangpu and Minhang every day. That's pretty choking. "This year, though, it's just him.

Arriving at the high-speed rail station, there are no people yet

Jose Dong, a 30-year-old graduate of psychology at The Ohio State University, worked as a middle school psychology teacher in Japan and South Korea before teaching in Shanghai.

"Americans and Asians have different understandings of education, and students and parents have different attitudes toward teachers." He felt, "Here, they generally have more respect for teachers. In particular, parents are eager to communicate with teachers and want to know their ideas in order to better help their children improve. ”

But not all parents in the U.S. are like that.

"For example, if you tell them, 'You can do all this to help your child improve,' some of them will say, 'But why am I doing this?' ”

Some parents don't have time to worry about their children, others don't agree with what is being taught in class and say, "Don't teach my child this." "But in fact, because every school is approved by the government, what they learn is also allowed by the government." So it's not that they can't learn those things or shouldn't learn, it's just that parents don't want them to learn. ”

In Asian countries, there are also subtle differences among students in Japan, South Korea and China. "Japanese students like to praise each other, which I don't see very often; Korean students' class schedules are insane, with younger students learning musical instruments or sports every afternoon after school until 8 p.m. I know that many students in Shanghai also have a lot of extracurricular tutoring, but in Korea, it is more common practice and system. ”

"Students in Shanghai have seen more of the world, and many of them travel domestically or abroad during their holidays. They are very ambitious, and I can say that the students here have lofty ambitions that I have not seen anywhere else. ”

This year, Dong Jose also earned his soccer coaching certificate in the United States, so he now coaches the school's women's team.

In Shanghai, he plays in the ASAS Amateur Football League all year round, and his team is called Parceros. Every Saturday, a group of foreigners like him get together to play a game. Although he lives farther away than his other teammates, he arrives on time almost every time. He has been playing since he was 3 years old and he loves football.

Dong Jose felt he had been in Shanghai long enough to support a local team like a local. But every time he asked a friend to go to the Chinese Super League, people would say, "I might as well go to CAGES to watch the big five leagues." ”

He tried to go to the Shanghai women's football team, but the team's home stadium was in Jinshan, and going once was equal to this day and couldn't do anything else. But he felt that he had to try it once.

Don Jose checked in and went to the platform

We were just talking about U.S. women's soccer captain Rapino when the train station announced that ticket checks were open.

07:01 High-speed train departure

Talk to your psychology teacher about mental health

Don José's grandparents were Mexican immigrants, so his name is Jose with a distinctly Spanish overtone. "My girlfriend told me that there is a very famous female writer in China named Sanmao, and her husband is Spanish, also named Jose."

After coming to China, he read some Chinese literature, such as Li Bai's poetry. He hopes that one day, he can read "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". But the problem is, his life is too busy now.

The train gradually moved to the platform, and the G7215 high-speed train we took started at Kunshan South and ended at Shanghai Railway Station, which is completely a special line for commuters in Shanghai and Kunming.

Find your seat on the high-speed train

Even at such a time, the carriage was already half full. He usually chooses two rows and sits on the side of the window so that he can avoid being disturbed to the greatest extent. Sometimes, there are small children in the carriage. And he is usually the only foreigner, so he will inevitably be targeted by children. At this point, he would wave at them.

This way is often used by him to write his own science fiction novels or edit short videos in clips. As a lover of science fiction literature, he once tried to send his own novels to a literary group called Inkwell, but so far only received a rejection letter from the other party. "But I write more out of interest than for publication."

The group regularly holds events such as writing seminars, while some Chinese or foreign literature lovers in Shanghai bring their work to the scene.

He admits that he hasn't been to a seminar for a long time since his daily long commute.

Every day, he sees the same scenery on the train. But occasionally, some rare sights are captured.

"For example, in a thunderstorm, you will see lightning in the distance as if it really smashed into those power towers. It was a very special scene, my heart was suddenly grabbed, what if it really got hit? But fortunately, that never happened. ”

Moreover, this is just an ordinary journey from any point of view. Unlike other journeys, you don't expect anything about your upcoming destination, because it's just a fixed stop in your daily life.

"If a person rides this train year after year and is very resistant to it, over time, some psychological problems will arise." "But I still enjoyed the trip, and my mindset itself is different from most people here." ”

Dong Jose believes that it is not healthy to always maintain a positive attitude

Inevitably, we talked to this psychology teacher about the psychological problems that are increasingly plaguing contemporary people. His advice is not to always try to stay positive, as that is not healthy.

And if you encounter a hurdle that you can't get by, you don't need to pay too much attention to your self-esteem, and you must bravely seek help.

"If I encounter something that is bothering me and I can't solve it on my own, I will seek help from others. Find a colleague to help, find a partner to help, you can. Or, just see a psychologist. In my opinion, as an individual, there is sometimes a shame in feeling that you can't take it anymore. ”

No one can keep smiling all the time, and you don't have to be happy all the time. He contrasts "happiness" and "contentment" this way:

"You can't be happy forever, that's fine, just be content with life as a whole. Contentment has some contentment meaning, it refers to a person's mental state, feeling that they have enough, and very healthy, overall life is good, but this does not mean that a person should always be very happy, which is not healthy. ”

Arrive at Shanghai Station at 07:13

"My favorite slogan"

"Most people will go this way after getting off the high-speed train, but I'd rather take more detours." Don Jose usually leaves through another exit, "so there are fewer people." ”

Underneath his videos, there are often comments, "See you today." "Every time he sees someone say this, he wonders why people don't just say hello to him." Perhaps, people are too shy. ”

"The last time I visited, the system showed that 35,000 people had watched the video of my commute. Not too much, but when you think about it, it feels like an entire football stadium watching their commute. This feeling is peculiar, and it makes you more humble. ”

From the high-speed rail stop platform to the subway line 4, you need to walk a long tunnel. He remembers hurting his ankle playing football, "For the next week, commuting to work every day was no joke." ”

"Go back and tell me how your legs are down this trip," Don Jose said, "I remember the first week or two of my long commute, and my legs were sore because I had never walked this much before." ”

Don Jose likes to look at the billboards on both sides

As we walked, he reminded us to look at a billboard in a scenic area on the right.

"It's my favorite slogan because it sounds like a line from a horror movie." He reads the English version in the bilingual Chinese and English version, which literally translates to Chinese meaning: come, never leave.

Everyone immediately burst into laughter. "Yes, I am overjoyed to see this sentence every day I pass by here."

Out of the train station, he pointed to the skyline directly in front of us for us to see, "It's beautiful, isn't it?" "Especially when it has just rained, the air is fresh and the sky is high, which makes people feel happy." ”

After all, there are so many skyscrapers in Shanghai, who would notice the skyline?

07:29 Metro Line 4

"I see more ordinary people in the city"

Early at 7 a.m., Line 4 has not yet ushered in its peak. That is to say, although there are no empty seats, there is still plenty of space to stand.

"On the way to work, this side of the subway is full of apartment buildings, and the other side is an ordinary street view." In Don Jose's extended family, there are friends who specialize in model trains. "When I'm fine, I draw trains at home. So seeing this scenery provided me with a lot of inspiration when I painted. ”

He said the landscape on both sides is different

He lamented to us: "When I lived in the city, I didn't have the interest to take the subway to work every day to observe the scenery around me. "And considering that most of the lines go underground, there's nothing to see.

But when he commutes long distances every day, as he does now, he finds himself seeing more sides of the city. "For example, the buildings along the subway line, they are not beautiful, but the landscape is special."

And those subway passengers.

"Now I feel that I can see different types of people on a trip, and I used to simply commute to work and never pay attention to the people I met on the way to and from work, the ordinary people who live in this city."

They may not look very interesting, everyone wears the same expression, a little tired, a little wary, but they are also serious about living their lives.

At the end of a long day, if he enters a super crowded carriage with people attached to his chest and back, he will feel nervous. Out of the subway car, he chose to take a flight of stairs to avoid physical contact on the escalator, which had nowhere to escape. Sometimes the stairs are long, but he doesn't mind either. "I don't like the feeling of my personal space being encroached upon."

He feels that the Shanghai subway is the most efficient

But everything is nothing compared to Tokyo, "I used to go to Tokyo a lot when I was in Japan, and their subway ... You have to rely on people to push you into the car. ”

He feels that Shanghai's subway operation system is the most efficient he has seen so far, with convenient transfers and distances within acceptable lengths.

07:40 Metro Line 10

"My students are smart, but also stressful"

Dong Jose found that one of the interesting things about the Shanghai subway is that the distribution of people on each line is different.

"On Line 10, for example, you can see a lot of students because there are many schools along the metro. The Line 4 we took earlier is more ordinary office workers. ”

He likes to see the crowd around him constantly changing, which always gives him a sense of freshness.

After the subway started, he pulled out his phone and apologized that he had to check the message so as not to miss the school notification.

"Sometimes, my students message me in the morning." Often, they'll ask him questions about his assignment, "like they'll ask, 'Is that right?' And I asked them, 'Did you come according to my instructions?' ’”

Dong Jose feels that a lot of the pressure on students comes from themselves

He could feel that although these children were very intelligent and had great learning skills, they were generally very anxious about their studies. He can understand this concern, although some students in international schools will not have to take the college entrance examination in the future, but this has not actually made them feel less pressured on their shoulders.

In order to successfully apply to their favorite universities abroad, they have to pass tests such as the ACT (American College Test) and the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test). There are also some extra courses to deal with in the process of preparing for the exam, which is also very burdensome for students.

"Their stress comes both from the family and from themselves. What impressed me the most was that I noticed that if they failed the test once in a while, their emotions would be greatly affected. Instead of saying 'I messed up, it will be better next time' like American students and it passes. There is a very big difference. ”

07:53 Get out of Metro Line 10 Guoquan Road Station

An ending that has no chance of being realized

Exit the subway station to the school, and walk along the street to a dim sum shop. Sometimes it's too late to make breakfast at home, and he buys himself a pair of pancakes or flatbread fritters here.

On this road, coffee shops became scarce and replaced by milk tea shops. Dong Jose said that milk tea has now become a very popular drink in the United States.

We broke up with him some way from school. In the United States, he said, students' privacy is valued. Especially in recent years, campus security has become a great hidden danger, so the protection of student privacy should be improved. He doesn't have to worry about security in Shanghai, but he feels it's important to focus on protecting students' privacy.

We tried to send him a clip with a mobile phone lens, as is often the ending in TV series: the farther a person goes, the smaller his back gets. That feeling of being far away and living alone. But as soon as he walked out less than 5 meters, his figure disappeared into the flow of people.

We almost forget that Shanghai is a city where people don't have the opportunity to be alone.

This article is synthesized from: Thoughtful Shanghai

Author: Shen Kunyu Cao Jinjie