Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Tease of Spring

Spring in Shanghai is mighty capricious.  In fact, the locals don't even like it because it's cold and wet.  We went from mid-80 degree glory on Sunday to low 50 degrees on Sunday, and now a bone-chilling low 40s.  I will lay it out here though: I refuse to wear long sleeves or even think of a coat when it hits 75 degrees.  Honestly, Friday and Saturday there were people strolling about in fur coats, boots, and jeans, I'm sweating in a sun dress and they're looking at me like I'm the alien?!  At least there were at least 20 other girls in CIEE in skirts and dresses, yet I was so bothered by the stares that I spoke to one of my program directors about it.  It wasn't that I was dressing immodestly, more so that the Asian women value pale skin-- the complete opposite of Western societies, especially the U.S.!  We see a healthy, outdoorsy flush whereas they might see tan skin as a lower class laborer.  Fashion faux pas aside, the warmth facilitated a marvelous weekend!  I invited over a friend I met at ultimate frisbee, Megan, and we had dinner with my host mom, and her friend, her daughter Stella and Waipo.  We had a fantastic feast and then went to see this R&B-techno-one man-singer-mixer (what?) called How to Dress Well.  In theory the show could have been awesome because the venue was small, but in between every song the audience talking was too long, and the performer could not stop complaining about the sound system (the flaws were indiscernible to us).  So after a few songs, we gave up and went home.  However, I bought a ticket for a concert next week; guaranteed a killer show.

I really wanted to get to know Stella (second from the left), who is the same year as I and is studying at the other ECNU campus to be a Chinese translator!  She studied for a semester studying at Michigan U. and is super friendly and funny-- in English and Chinese.  We skipped around Shanghai: Changfeng Park next to the university, Doulon Road (Dongbaoxing Lu) -- the cultural road in Hongkou District because many great Chinese writers lived there in the 20th century, People's Square (Rénmín Guǎngchǎng) which is comparable to Time's Square, then home and out to meet more friends for the night.


Lunch with Stella at a Korean restaurant.
 People's Square!  This photo hardly captures the madness.

The weather is back down to 40s and 50s... not fun!  I just would love for the sun to stick around.  Class is still kicking my butt, but I'm heading off to the mountains in Anhui province for the weekend!  The pictures and adventure are sure to be amazing.

Listening: "Clint Eastwood" by the Gorillaz

1 comment:

Allison said...

Amazing music choice, first off :)
I remember when I was in China, I was like you - totally soaking up the sun, and all of my students and friends were carrying umbrellas. It's so strange how cultural differences can make people seem or feel alien - but think of it this way - you're breaking societal norms! Look at you pioneering the way ;)
These pictures are amazing - you look SO happy, and you're making me miss China terribly (except not the freezing cold or enormously uncomfortable crowds). I'm so happy to be sharing in your trip, love! xox