New Year’s Eve

This morning, I laid in my bed when I realized that, it’s that time of year again! It’s time to set some new new year’s goals for myself. I’d say that I did pretty good with my goals of last year and I truly believe that it is because I stuck with my goals that allowed 2014 has exceeded all expectations and be as amazing as it was. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. 2014 was the best year of my life thus far and I hope 2015 will be able to top it, but it will definitely be hard to do so.

This year, I am going to change it up a bit. I have more concrete things I want to accomplish, although I do plan to continue with my intangible goals of last year. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Take care of my health again. Work out at least 3 times a week and cook most of my meals
  2. Take care of my financials. Get a job and keep track of my spending.
  3. Stay in touch with people better. Take more of the initiative to hit up other’s first.
  4. Keep up with the news. Read at least 2 news articles per day.
  5. Pick up new hobbies. Perhaps learn a few songs on my ukulele?
  6. Spend more money on experiences as oppose to material goods.
  7. Continue goals from last year. Keep reading, being open-minded, being patient, saying yes, enjoying life, and being happy.

I’m excited to see what 2015 has in store for me. I already have a few things that I am looking forward to. Leggo!

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#zerodays

I can’t believe the semester is already over. How did it pass me by so quickly? Where did the time go? I still remember my very first day.I remember distinctly, the moment when I was eating dinner with Amy and her uncles when I felt overwhelmed and asked myself “what the heck did you get yourself into. You are going to be in in CHINA for the next THREE months”. Today, I sit here on my last day in Shanghai in disbelief that it is already my last day, thinking about all the things I am going to miss.

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I’m going to miss the Tonghe International dorms. I’m going to miss how my toilet clogs every other week, how my living room has no windows, how my room feels like an iceberg and my heater doesn’t even work.

I’m going to miss my 2G network. I’m going to miss the dial up speed network that didn’t let me load maps or webpages when I really need them.

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I am going to miss biking through the crazy streets of Shanghai. I’m going to miss dodging cars in the rain with one hand on the handle bar, one hand holding my hood over my head because I didn’t anticipate Shanghai’s bipolar weather would act up again.

I’m going to miss Shanghai food, and asking the question “Am I going to get sick from this?” as I eat it anyways. I’m going to miss laughing instead of freaking out about the things we find in our food that should definitely not be in there.

I’m going to miss late nights at Family mart, being inappropriate on the metro, taxi conversations about poop, sex, and food.  I’m going to miss my the bonds I have created and the friends I have made here.

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I am going to miss the good and the bad of Shanghai because both the good and the bad have left me with unforgettable memories, new perspectives, and new learned lessons. Studying abroad in Shanghai was definitely one of the best decision I have ever made in my life.

I’m going to miss you Shanghai, but I’ll be back to visit sometime.

Same City, Different Experience

I visited a high school friend the other day who happens to be studying abroad in Shanghai as well. We decided to meet up near his “campus” / living area in Jing An Temple to grab a quick bite to eat. For those of you who don’t know, Jing An Temple is in downtown Shanghai and it is one of the more developed / expensive areas of Shanghai. It is basically at the heart of the city, very different from the Fudan area which is where I currently live.

After eating burgers and talking for a bit, we headed over to his “campus” for a quick tour. I put it in quotes because it was basically an extremely small complex located within a neighborhood of homes that house Shanghai locals and did not feel like a campus at all. It more so felt like a giant house with an abundance of rooms transformed into classrooms, study areas, and lounges.

At first, I was extremely in awe and slightly jealous. Everything they had was beautifully decorated, new, and top of the line. They had an eating area which he told me, is stocked full of food every morning. They even get food from various restaurants catered when they have group dinners, and even seem to heave people doing their dishes and keeping everything nice and clean. They also had a hang out lounge that was stocked with a plasma screen TV, comfortable couches, an Xbox, and more.

As I explored more and more of his “campus”, however, I began to be less in awe with all the luxuries they had and more appreciative for all the luxuries I didn’t have in my program. I complain all the time about how far Tonghe is from anything fun, how annoying it is for the metro to be a 25min walk, how frustrating it is when my Wifi gets fucked up, how dirty the bathrooms / everything else are… Tonghe is filled with problems, but I have come to have a love/hate relationship towards them because they have taught me a lot.

I came to Shanghai because I wanted the Shanghai experience. I wanted to experience the nitty gritty of it all, to live like a local, to be absorbed into it. Obviously, I still yearn for that “US experience” at times and I’m always excited when I come across a restaurant that reminds me of home or bar streets full of expats… but living in Tonghe has given me a taste of Shanghai through the lens of a middle to lower class local that I wanted. It has taught me to be tolerant of inefficiencies and less than ideal conditions. I have become more “go with the flow”. I have begun to understand that there are some things that you just can’t change, and it is best to just go with it than fight it.

At Tonghe, I am surrounded by street food, by mom n pop shops, by hole in the walls where people cook food in a place that barely has enough standing room for two people. I am surrounded by people who speak only Mandarin, who live off of the 8RMB bowl of wontons they both hand-make and cook for my consumption. In no way am I criticizing my friend’s experience, hell I would love to live that life of luxury later on in my life! But, I definitely prefer my study abroad experience over his and wouldn’t have had it any other way.

#feelinblessed