2019 Shanghai Reunion - Kalamazoo
Another great reunion thanks to Carla & Tom Obringer.
Great weather, sites and Friends !
We had over 30 attendees this year. A few of the Highlights:
Radisson Hotel was the gathering place; perfect location and facilities
Fredrick Meijer Gardens tour was excellent; will add photos in next few days
Kellogg Manor Tour; Very interesting Place (did you know that Diane Grundy was a distance relative and lived just across the lake !!)
Gilmore Car museum; Wow, much larger than expected
Farewell Dinner at The Park Club; Great food, Great fun
Stay tuned in January,2020, for plans for next year
Boston, hosted by Scott & Rita Gudorf.
for 2021 The group selected Louisville, KY,
Who are Shanghai Expats…
We are a group of about "60 active adventurers" who decided (with the help of their companies) to move to the Shanghai area to establish their China businesses the 1990’s and early 2000s. We lived in different areas in and around Shanghai with tenures from 1 to 20+ years. We managed to get together occasionally on the weekends to get to know our new home and also each other better.
Many of us banded together thru the Shanghai Expat organization to take trips all over China and some neighboring countries. We have made long-lasting friendships that have continued until today.
Starting in 2001, we meet annually in different cities for about 3 days to regroup. Most times we meet in U.S. cities but have also gone to Montreal, Melbourne, Berlin, and Shanghai (of course).
It all started when…
Expats of Shanghai have witnessed many changes from the early 90’s to present-day Shanghai, with all of its glitz and glamour. Included in this website are some pictures from past and present. Plus, there are many pictures of us all celebrating in different cities since coming back to the world we’re used to.
The first Shanghai Expatriate Reunion was developed by Margo and Bob Wikman along with Gerri and Owen Amann. On the Wikman’s back deck in Riverview, Michigan a lot of “big” decisions were made. It was decided that anyone living in Shanghai had really special connections to each other and once repatriated to their home country, what was needed was a reunion to renew friendships and talk as much as we wanted about our experiences in Shanghai to people who actually knew and cared what we were talking about.
Margo set out to contact everyone she had ever known in Shanghai and asked them to do the same and have everyone contact her. From this, an extensive data base was developed as folks let her know of their “comings and goings”.
The first reunion was held in San Antonio, Texas, and the fifth, (WAY off in the future) would reunite us all back in Shanghai.
The “ground rules” were presented to the ‘Pioneers’...Owen and Gerri Amann, Helen and Wayne Brock, Christine and Dave Cullen, Linda and John Curry, Doug and Sandy Davis, Ken and Joyce Grassi, Ed and Sandra Hearnsberger, Jim and Marlene Hogan, Sue and Ray Jones (who brought along Ray’s brother for this first reunion), Thorpe and Mary Ellen McConville, Kathie and Dave Sherman, Dick and Mary Anne Wolthuis, and Bob and Margo Wikman.
Everyone would vote at each reunion to decide where the next one would be held. It was decided that the reunions would take place in September, after schools were back in session (better hotel rates and higher attendance because we were not interfering with summer vacations), but before the Canadian Thanksgiving in October (we wanted to be sure all of our Canadian Expats could come). At the initial planning stages, we also decided the reunions should travel around the country so that no matter where you lived, hopefully, at some point, the reunion would be held in your area. A lot of decisions were made in our initial discussion such as name tags that would show your name, years you lived in Shanghai and your hometown today. Other things we decided in our initial planning included a first night “meet and greet” so everyone could see who had shown up and informally plan their individual “reunion” time together with their best friends and a farewell dinner would be held. The rest of the time you would be on your own...this is definitely not a group who needs to have every minute planned for them, so it would give old friends plenty of time just to catch up. The rest is history as we have held pretty much to the plan set forth.
Almost twenty years & many reunions later, we’ve enjoyed many reunions in amazing places with many more people, as more Shanghai Expats have since joined our happy, little group!
Header painting is by member, Sibylla Grottke - - - Stay tuned for more of her artwork