Office Moved, Life Improved

Life has just gotten way better for me. Last Friday Praxis Language (home of ChinesePod) moved to the Zhongshan Park area (where I live).

Why is this a big deal? Well, it means I can walk to work. It’s about more than convenience, though.

I used to take the subway to work every morning, and then back home at night. My commute took me down Line 2, through the People’s Square exchange, over to Line 1, at rush hour. Hey, millions of people do this every day in this city, so why shouldn’t I? Well, eventually I learned why. Over time the crushing commuting hordes really got to me. I would start every day lying in bed cursing my alarm clock, dreading my commute, and then, after running the gauntlet again, arrive at work in a foul mood. At the end of the day when work was finally over and I could relax, my bad mood would be reinstated by the commute home. It all added up to a significant amount of unhappiness, far exceeding the daily hour and a half I spent in commute.

I tried carpooling, but that didn’t work. Eventually I started taking taxis a lot more. It was kind of expensive, but I learned it was well worth it. I was buying back a pleasant emotional state, and it was a good value.

Toward the end, John B and I started carpooling by taxi in the morning and taking the subway home after work. We had to leave a half hour earlier in the morning to ensure that we’d get a taxi every day, but we could split the fare. Totally worth it.

Starting Monday I’ll be walking or biking to work every day. It’s going to be sweet.

If you’re planning on living in Shanghai and wondering how close to work you want to live, I say VERY.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. It’s so close! I’m ecstatic, and looking forward to leaving for work at 8:50am tomorrow morning. 🙂 What are you going to do with your extra 90-120 minutes each day? I’m going to try to make it productive, and not get in the habit of just sleeping more.

  2. Yep, my motto (living in Beijing) is: if you’re renting, find an apartment near your job; if you own your own home, find a job near your apartment!

  3. Congratulations! Does this mean that we’ll get some extra happy CPod lessons?

  4. Good stuff.. I’m wondering if the commute increased significantly for any Praxis employees.

    Three weeks ago I went from a 5 minute commute to now a 1:15 hour commute in the morning, and a 1:30 to 2 hour commute at night, driving in heavy traffic. One thing I didn’t anticipate was how stressed out I would be after driving home in heavy traffic. My evenings are now much much shorter, and I have to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Also I can’t go home at lunch and relax anymore. I’m definitely going to change jobs.. but the interim period will be rough.

  5. So it has been successfully been completed! Congratulations! A new skin, space to grow.

    The bad side: The old office was so much China. You could see, hear, smell, feel, and taste China all around you. And it showed in the lessons. Hope there is still some of that in the new office building….

    or maybe just some extra CPod lessons 😛

  6. bastard….

  7. Yay! You’re in our neighborhood now! When can I drop by for a visit? Email me the details!

  8. Wuss. I ride the qinggui four stops and then ride line 1 for one. I wouldn’t dream of moving closer to work — not worth the trouble of moving unless I was going to work at the same place at LEAST 5 years. I only take the taxi when I’m transporting mass amounts of cash — since I got my passport stolen once.

  9. More sleep, awesome. That doesn’t mean you can stay up later, John! Hey, I thought of the rush hour commute in Shanghai and Hong Kong – fairly efficient. Especially when compared to the Japanese model. Check out this video, called “Japanese Crowded Train” – I’ve never seen anything like this before:

  10. Glad for the move! A happy John means a happy poddie. Hahaha. But I totally get the mood when it comes to the subway, especially Line 1 and 2 in rush hour, better to take a taxi. And when it comes to the heated summer days, taxis are definitely the only option, albeit a bit more expensive. Good idea with the carpooling though, never thought of that before.

  11. I reduced my commute to a 5 minute walk, and now I miss reading the newspaper each day.

  12. Hi John, ltns!

    I’ve been lurking on and off over the years reading your blog… things change, but it seems sinosplice remains constant.

    Congratulations on the move! What’s strange is as I read this, I was moving to an apartment one block from my work. Its really nice to have a change like this; as someone noted above it’s good to change pace and get a fresh perspective. You’re lucky enough (assuming you like where you live) to actually have your office move to you! Un-be-lievable!
    I can empathise with your frustration at your previous commute. Things like that can really grind on you. And it is often time worth the money it costs to “simplify” these situations as you did by riding the cabs.
    Keep in touch, don’t wanna hog your comment space, but glad to see everything’s going well.
    Congratulations on your marriage and I hope all the family’s doing well.
    – Jason G. [8i3]

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