Monday, June 3, 2013


What?!  It's already June.
I can't believe how quickly my time in Shanghai has gone by.  After breaking my bank in Thailand (even despite the exchange rate), I really dug in here these last few weekends. I can truly say that when I leave this city, there isn't anything I didn't go out of my way to find, see, or do.  I've gone back to The Bund on the Huangpu River a few times, admiring the spectacular neo-classical architecture, and also dressing up with my friends and having classy rooftops for dinner.  I have to say that this semester overall, although shorter than France, was more fun.  This could probably be a few things: Shanghai is a nuts-o city where you can have world-class experiences for under 25 U.S. dollars; this program isn't directed by St. Lawrence so I had the opportunity to meet 60 other students from around the country (and world); my host family is just incredibly generous and made my introduction to Chinese culture enjoyable; I've struck a nice balance of travelling in the city and out; and I believe that my Chinese has improved!
Oh, and even though it's only been a year and a half, I've grown up a lot.  I haven't been timid to take the chance and just go out and discover things, even if it means going alone.  Fatter and wiser and happier, for sure.

Lookin' fine on The Bund with some of my favorite CIEE friends.
 [photos courtesy of Matt's amazing Canon DSLR]
 Views from the rooftop of my 26-story apartment.  I haven't told anyone I can go up there because I'm not sure if it would be an issue or not... but on a non-polluted day (HA!), I can see all he way to Pudong!
 Shanghai has such a towering skyline that sometimes it's difficult to feel the full scope of the city.. but it sure is unbelievable.  

 Before Thailand we ascended the World Financial Center, which is in Pudong but with awesome views of the Oriental Pearl Tower ( the 3rd tallest TV tower in the world) and The Bund.
 We also had a dozen of us ladies take over the Shanghai Brewery to celebrate Mary's birthday!  That's her with the head scarf, along with some of the Chinese roommates.
 And we hit up a concert at a small venue called 390 Panyu, where a indie folk-rock duo called Wye Oak came from Baltimore to Shanghai!  I'm always a sucker for live music, although I didn't have enough money to go see the Backstreet Boys last week..

So this last bit of news has been confirmed for a while, but with a few loose ends I am still thrilled to announce that I'm staying in China for the rest of the summer!  Yup, rather than fly back to the U.S. on Sunday, June 9th, I'll be taking the 5-hour bullet train north for a big move to Beijing.  I have an internship in at The China Foundation Center, which is unpaid aside from a food stipend and will literally leave me broke by the end of the summer, but it's all worth it!  Without a doubt, life in China can be difficult at times but I wouldn't work this hard to stay if I didn't like it.  I've had to deal with visa procedures, finding a place to live, figuring out transportation.. gah, one week and I'll be there!
I definitely miss the United States and I have pangs when I think of home in the summer, going to festivals, hanging out in the woods, farmer's markets and barbeques with family and friends-- but it's time for me to shake it up a bit.  I've been pining for a professional experience, just to dabble and maybe inspire a future career track, and this internship couldn't have worked out better, unlike my applications in the U.S. that have gone unreplied.  I'm also enthralled by the idea of doing things on my own, because I have to figure it out eventually (chill out, Mom and Dad).  So, if anyone is free and feeling like travelling a bit this summer, you'll know where to find me (sort of)!

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