Regina with the red hair

Almost 20 years ago, one of Regina's daughters said one day she would live in China and adopt a Chinese baby... Now, they are living in Shanghai, but there is no baby, yet...

Holin’s words:

“I’m the one with red hair, you won’t miss me,” Regina consoled me via WeChat as we were about ten minutes’ late and rushing to find her in a big shopping mall which we were not familiar with.

I finally met fashionable Regina. Not only did she sport long, straight, fire-red hair, but her purple eyeshadow  and pink lipstick made her shine brightly across the huge space, even though she was just recovering from a cold. 

“I have three children; my son just graduated from high school and my daughters are 23.” Wow, this fashionable mom looks much younger than she is. Changing cities, starting to learn a new language and having a charity to devote herself to — I guess I understand why Regina looks so energetic and youthful.

“Do you need me to hold this?” Regina pointed to a copy of Shanghai Daily on the desk when I was ready to take photos of her.

“It’s up to you,” I smiled.

I saw all of Regina clearly this time. Wearing a form-fitting black dress with some golden decorations, Regina looked graceful in her pair of beautiful gladiator shoes.

When I counted down and was ready to snap, Regina gave me a big smile with Shanghai Daily tucked glamorously in one hand, almost like a fashion accessory.

Holin Wang / SHINE

With one hand on her waist, Regina smiles confidently to the camera with a copy of Shanghai Daily in her other hand.

Name: Regina Meachem

Nationality: American

Job: Jewelry designer

Years in Shanghai: 4

Holin: Would you please share with me the reason you came to Shanghai, and why you've chosen to live here for so long?

Regina: For my husband's job. He works for an international company, and they started in America. Actually, I have three children; two stay with us, and one is in America. My son just graduated from high school here last week. Another two are twin girls; one is in America, one is here. My daughters are 23 years old, and they graduated from college. One went to Jiao Tong University studying Mandarin.

Holin: Wow, your daughter must speak very good Chinese. Do you have any interesting or impressive story in Shanghai?

Regina: Yes, I volunteer at More Than Aware (a non-profit organization to help breast cancer sufferers in Shanghai) and I take some photos and videos. I find it is interesting the race they do in the spring – the family fun run.

Suzanne organized More Than Aware to support local women with breast cancer, so that is a really impressive story for me.

Holin: How many years have you been a volunteer there?

Regina: Not long, almost 3 years.

Holin: How do you know Suzanne, the founder of the charity?

Regina: Well, that’s because of my husband's sister. She passed away four years ago because of breast cancer. So I heard about this (charity organization) and I wanted to do something to help. So I went on the 2 kilometer run and the 5 kilometer running race (they organized). And then I think maybe the next week, when I was talking to someone, Suzanne was there. I didn't know her before, and we were talking about the race. She was really excited, so that was how I met her...

Holin: Where you talking about the race in regards to More Than Aware?

Regina: Right. I did know that she was a part of More Than Aware, we were just talking about that... I think that is an exciting story for Shanghai — people together and supporting women — that is very nice. Shanghai has so many international people, and they come together and help others no matter what nationalities they are.

Ti Gong

Regina's twin girls Rachel (from left) & Raquel, her Son Benjamin, her husband Ben Meachem and her niece Whitney, whose mom passed away with breast cancer.

Holin: How do you spend your weekends in Shanghai?

Regina: On weekends, I enjoy going to different restaurants. There are so many different restaurants, so many different types of restaurants. No matter what you want to eat — Mexican food, Chinese food or American food — you have so many choices.

Holin: Do you cook at home?

Regina: Just a little bit. Shanghai is very convenient you know.

Holin: How do you get the information about the newly-opened restaurants or high quality restaurants?

Regina: Usually my friends will recommend some good restaurants to me, and then you feel more comfortable going to those restaurants.

One of my favorite restaurants is Morton's. You can get beef, shrimp and other varieties of food there. We have our Surprising and Perfect party there.

There are also a lot of places you can go to like theaters, parks. For example, Century Park is very nice. They have pedal boats, you can sit in and go across the water, that is a lot of fun. Go to the Pearl Tower, that is so beautiful when you go to the top.

And also Renmin Guangchang (People’s Square) where is very crowded, but at night, the lights are beautiful. So I tell everyone “you come to Shanghai, you have to see it at night.”

Holin: Which part do you think is most beautiful at night?

Regina: Near Nanjing Road E. is very good. And Xintiandi also has many restaurants and lounges to go to. There’s so much to do in Shanghai. My family came to visit, and there were so many places to take them to.

Holin: You have mentioned many places you like, but if you just had to choose one favorite, what would it be?

Regina: I didn't go inside Disneyland, but I went to Disney Town. They have shops there and there is a cheese cake factory restaurant which is very nice. The point is you don't have to pay to go into Disneyland; you can just go straight to Disney Town, and just visit the restaurants and shops. There is also a theater and you can see the Lion King show

And I also like the area near the Yu Garden, there are many little shops — like many souvenir things to buy and that area is traditional Chinese style.

Last week I took my family there, and we took a lot of photos. They were excited because there were many cute souvenirs they can take back to America.

Holin: Which road do you like best?

Regina: Nanjing Road W. There are many people walking there and there are many different stores. It's a nice area you can take your family or friends to. When you walk there, you will feel excited and you can enjoy the nightlife.

Holin Wang / SHINE

Regina poses for photo in a black dress and black gladiator shoes.

Holin: Are there some elements that make Shanghai special to you?

Regina: You can meet a lot of people from all over world here. For example, in my class, there are 15 people in the class; everyone is from a different country, and we became friends. You will meet a lot of people in Shanghai. Some of them will be your friends for a long time even after you leave here.

Holin: And anything you dislike in Shanghai? 

Regina: Traffic. The traffic is really bad. Sometimes, you will get stuck on the road and wait for a long time especially in rush hour.

Holin: Do you have any suggestions?

Regina: Maybe you can have something that runs alongside the highway, which can move people, like people can stand on, almost like a metro. You can just get in like no traffic, and get to Puxi, people get off; then it comes back to Pudong. That would be very nice.

Holin: Compared to your country, are there any shortages in Shanghai? 

Regina: It is hard to find the food I eat in America. Of course Shanghai has many foreign restaurants, I mean like little grocery stores to buy the food. But things seem good because more and more stores are building up.

Holin: Is there some specific thing you can't buy here?

Regina: There is a breakfast food called grits. You can boil it in water — it's almost like rice — but I can't find it here. Maybe I will try to find it on Taobao. 

Ti Gong

Regina with her family

Holin: Any impressed memory during your life?

Regina: I have twin daughters, like I said. And one of them was little, like 7 or 8 years old, when we lived in America. She always said: "One day I will live in China; one day I will adopt a Chinese baby, and I will name him Paul." Now she is living in China, but no baby yet! She always said she would live in China, and we didn't know we would end up here. I don't know, but she just said that. I don't know why. Maybe when she was a little girl, she saw something on TV or...

Holin: So she was not one of the reasons for your family to come here?

Regina: No, my husband worked here and we came here first. And she was in her college in America (at that time). But she was happy when we moved to China. So after she graduated, she came here to study. That was interesting.

What does Regina want to say to her future self? Have a look! Regina is sending a message to her future self to watch ten years from now!

Filmed by Holin Wang and Joan Zheng. Edited by Zhong Youyang. Special thanks to Andy Boreham.

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