Analysis Paralysis


Can’t vouch for the eels or frogs (yet) but the ‘tea eggs’ (chaye dan) flavoured with black tea and star anise are delicious.

Give me a menu in a restaurant and I’ll spend hours deciding what to order.  If ever my husband should choose the same dish, the process has to start all over again (because it’s positively unthinkable to order the same thing!) Show me 30 housing options and I’m struck by a very serious case of analysis paralysis.

Actually I’ve been suffering a lot be analysis paralysis recently.  There appear to be far too many options out there – more than usual!

I really like what Gretchen Rubin (of ‘Happiness Project’) has to say about this subject: ‘Most decisions don’t require extensive research’ She also goes on to describe  two types of decision makers. ‘Satisficers’  who make a decision once their criteria are met; when they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. And then ‘Maximizers who want to make the best possible decision; even if they see a bicycle that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option.  Studies suggest that satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choices.

I’m afraid I’m a ‘maximizer’ and I’m not sure how many apartments I am going to have to look at before making a decision…….Shanghai is rather big after all.   I don’t really like the idea of living in a high-rise serviced apartment – but it has it’s perks.  The cute little Lane Houses 8x4meter rooms on 3 levels are charming but potentially impractical, the Garden Houses are often beyond our budget and so that leaves some old apartments that are, well….. old and I’ve already been warned about the bitterly cold winters here.

When I’m faced with too many choices ‘outside’  Its been my challenge  to go ‘inside’ and follow my ‘gut feeling’………….’hello, hello, what are you saying now gut ?’  I just want to find some housing and get on with exploring this city.

Shanghighs‘: Driving through the streets of Shanghai at night, play-date with Kim (American) and kids, lunch with my Chinese tutor from Santa Barbara who was visiting family in Shanghai, brunch with Katherine (Canadian/Belgian) and family – she is yet another fabulous student of the course I’m doing, eating crispy duck pancakes (Beijing Kaoya), our ayi/baby sitter who has been fabulous and whom the children adore.

Shanglows‘: Visa Interview whereby we travelled right across town to be told by the official that the copies of our documents were insufficiently clear  (before she dramatically ripped up the applications in front of us) only to return 2 days later (with the originals on-hand) and have the very same copies accepted without asking to see the originals!!!!  It’s still a mystery why we even needed to present.


bai yei bao – thin sheets of tofu wrapped around pork and vegetables before being cooked in soup (made by my tutor’s mother) plus chinese sausage and rice.


Now this is what I call a Public Newspaper!


Many local apartment blocks and parks have outside gym equipment – that the kids love to use.


Still climbing!


Mobile flower vendor


3 comments on “Analysis Paralysis

  1. Rebecca says:

    Jen, wow! What an adventure! I love hearing all about it! Makes my life seem very mundane and easy! take care, miss you all, love bec xx

  2. Rachael says:

    Well, I was waiting for the email to advise of new additions to the blog and – der – I now see that the box I clicked must only be for advice of new comments made on my comments, not new entries in the blog. So, when I finally ventured over here for a random peek, I got to read 3 in a row. And now, I feel like someone who has discovered their new favourite author, scouring bookshops for all they have written, only to find I have to wait for a new release! I know you’re a little bit busy and all, but are daily entries really too much to ask for?

    It’s wonderful to share a touch of the adventure and the kids look gorgeous! I hope we can arrange a chat soon xx

  3. Great article, thanks a lot !!

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