Originally from Australia, Mark and Natalie Foxwell moved to Tokyo over 11 years ago for Mark’s position at Park Hyatt Tokyo. After being 'Lost in Translation' for many years, they had their daughter Darcy in 2009 and continued on their expat journey to Osaka, Hangzhou and now Shanghai. Still with Hyatt, Mark is the General Manager of Hyatt on the Bund, and Natalie is now the Digital Editor for Urban Family Shanghai. Over a tea latte and flat white at Starbucks, they tell me what they are enjoying about their move to the bustling Shanghai Bund, after four years by the beautiful West Lake in Hangzhou.
Places to dine
We have really enjoyed exploring Found 158, in particular El Santo (Mexican) and Pera (Turkish). The great thing about the Found 158 environment is by day Darcy can take her scooter and have fun while we are eating, and by night we can enjoy date night with jazz music and cocktails at JZ Club. We also really enjoy a Spanish dinner at elEFANTE followed by Shake for jazz. In general, I think the whole area around Julu Lu is great to walk around on a weekend afternoon.
As a family of Australians, the active outdoors life is part of who we are. We both exercise regularly; if we are not using the ‘Results’ App for a workout plan, it’s a ‘Runtastic’ run along the Bund that we enjoy most. Our week days are taken up with work, school and Darcy’s activities, so we try to declare the weekends as family days. Saturday mornings are a ritual of chocolate pancakes, usually followed by a bike ride to lunch and of course, a stop at Starbucks along the way home!
Child's favorite venue
Darcy is a lover of all things aquatic. If she is not swimming herself, then her favorite place to visit is the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, followed by lunch at Din Tai Fung (Super Brand Mall). Her Grade 4 class at Dulwich Pudong recently had an overnight trip to the aquarium, where they chose to sleep in the stingray room. This was something childhood memories are made of; it was filled with special after dark activities, teachers telling bedtime stories and experiences with friends that she will never forget.
While out and about we might head to an Ole to pick up a few goodies. I also do a big Sam's Club shop every few months for some bulk purchases. To be honest the ease of using Epermarket makes our life simple, especially for a drop of wine! And then we have City Super in the ifc Mall for my daughter's favorite Japanese snacks.
Memory in Shanghai
In May of this year, we had just moved to Shanghai and were so excited about all the opportunities for entertainment. For our daughter’s eighth birthday, we took her to the musical Wicked and it was amazing; from the production, to the singing and story interpretation, we thoroughly enjoyed it all. Since then, as a family, we have been to watch Thurston Moore at the Concrete Grass music festival, and most recently, we ran the 5k Color Run. Even in the rain it was the happiest run in the world, and thankfully Darcy was content to keep running and see all the colors! Next up we have tickets to Kooza…I cannot wait to see the acrobatics and introduce Darcy to Cirque du Soleil.
Travel experience in China
Last year, with two other families, we traveled to Lijiang for a four-night adventure. This was a true highlight in our China experience. We stayed at the Bivou Lijiang, a guesthouse in the middle of the old town, with fluent English speaking hosts who helped us arrange everything. From visiting the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the magnificent Blue Moon Valley, it was such a wonderful place to visit. Topped off with a visit to Baisha Village, horse riding and shopping around both old towns (Lijiang and Shuhu), I would definitely go back again. Next time I would extend the trip and make our way to the original Shangri-La as I’ve heard it’s as beautiful as the utopia it’s based on.
Enjoyment of living in China
China is such a dynamic country, offering unique contrasts of a culture steeped in history and tradition, and the fast evolving drivers of technology and innovation. China is a place so rich in possibility; reflected in the openness, generosity and determination of the personalities you meet, the booming entrepreneurial spirit, and the connection to anything and everything by mobile. This is simply the most exciting place in the world to have the privilege to live in.