3 Months in China: An Update (or expect the unexpected like food poisoning and getting robbed)

Well. The last 3 months in China have been an absolute roller coaster. Here is a nice photo of Shanghai from 3 years ago just because.


The thing with living in China is that you must expect the unexpected. And I do. I really do. However, it is still shocking when the nature of the unexpected is revealed. I am never prepared. But I am always ready to laugh it off and hopefully learn from whatever bizarre experience is thrown my way.

So let’s see. We went to New Zealand at the end of August till the beginning of September and I had one of the best travel experiences of my life. I am still hording all the amazing photos but they will have to wait till I am back in the states… You will understand why in a bit.

After New Zealand I was just really sad. Post- travel depression is real and it sucks. So I threw myself into new activities, joined two expat choirs, took up boxing lessons, and started hanging out with some friends who were finally back in town. And life was good.

Then we went on a cruise to Korea and Japan which was fantastic and a lot of fun. After Japan, Peter had a few days off of work so we hung out at home for a few days, readjusting to the craziness of Shanghai. Well I didn’t adjust as well as I had hoped and had a ugly tear-soaked breakdown on my way to choir rehearsal. It was not pretty. It was the typical “I can’t handle all these people”, “I am so overwhelmed”, “can I just live my life and not be ogled like a freak and not worry constantly about how to call a taxi or buy groceries because I can’t communicate with anybody”. A normal China freak out. I am surprised it took this long.

Breakdowns are good because once you release those emotions you can finally MOVE ON. Boxing lessons seemed to help as I learned how to punch and kick like a bad-ass with my trainer Hope. He only speaks Chinese and I only speak English so we communicate with elaborate gestures and Google Translate. It is frustrating and challenging and I look like a heaving red-faced mess but OMG it is FUN. The Chinese staff love me and mostly I make them laugh while jumping around acting like a lunatic. I think they appreciate my tendency to bust out random dance moves and curse words when I spectacularly mess up combinations or accidentally hit Hope in the face. I enjoy the challenge and my right hook is showing a lot of improvement!

Besides boxing, some other some fun things happened like a cool concert with my friend Lisa, an amazing karaoke birthday night with our friends and finally seeing Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters. Life was good.

Until last Monday.

Peter woke up for work at 6:30am and asked me if I knew where his work laptop was. It had been sitting in his backpack next to the front door since the night before. Well his backpack was there but his laptop was not. As we started searching our apartment with mounting anxiety, I suddenly realized that my own laptop which I had left on the coffee table after a late night of online reading was also gone.


I am not even kidding.

Sometime between 1-6am, somebody walked into our apartment, WHILE WE WERE SLEEPING, grabbed our laptops and left. Our door lock had actually jammed a couple days before and could only be locked from the inside with a key. Well that was the ONE NIGHT we forgot to lock our door. Of course we felt like total and complete idiots. But seriously, WTF.

Thankfully I had most of my files backed up and had actually planned on getting a new laptop in a few months anyway. It was however a big scramble to change all my passwords to make sure nobody could access my bank accounts or work email. After filing a report with the police we learned that several other apartments in our complex were robbed of their electronics as well. Hopefully they were stolen just for parts and not for actual personal data. OH, they also stole Peter’s sunglasses and 120rmb in cash from my wallet but they left about 700rmb in cash sitting on the table. Um. I don’t get it?

So now I am doing all my work on Peter’s enormous gamer laptop but I no longer have Photoshop for my blog :-(. The only files I did not back up were all my edited photos from France and New Zealand, literally hours and hours of work which really sucks. I will not be able to blog about those trips until after Thanksgiving once I get a new laptop. So while this situation absolutely sucks, I feel so grateful that we are safe and privileged enough to afford new laptops. It honestly could have been much worse.

One more thing.

After this whole ordeal we went back to our normal lives, this time with locked doors. This Saturday a friend took us to a church on a mountain near our apartment and we had a lovely time walking through the forest and watching random couples get married. That night we ate a northern Chinese restaurant which was delicious but made my stomach a little queasy. NBD. Sunday we spent the day relaxing and picked up some KFC for dinner.

Well turns out I got a nasty case of food poisoning and spend all night hunched over the toilet puking my guts out. Oh my god it was absolutely terrible. I was finally able to fall asleep at 1o:00am and basically slept all day Monday, feeling like absolute crap. It is now Wednesday and I am finally starting to feel human again with some semblance of an appetite. Meh. Not really.

Damn you KFC. I will never eat your chicken crunch wraps again. NEVER. Ugh I feel nauseous just thinking about it. UGHHHH.

And that just about sums up the last few months in China. Unexpected and never boring with a major bout of food poisoning. Haha.

But in 3 weeks I’M GOING HOME!!! Then it will be an action-packed couple of weeks of wedding stuff, a One Direction concert (OMG YES), our friend’s wedding in Pennsylvania, Thanksgiving and possibly a best friend trip to NYC. IT’S GOING TO BE GREAT. Till then I will be training like Rocky and taking long strolls in the cool and hazy autumn air of Shanghai.

Just another day in the life of an expat.

4 thoughts on “3 Months in China: An Update (or expect the unexpected like food poisoning and getting robbed)

  1. Kirsten, I don’t even know what to say. Well, I am glad you are feeling a bit better and we look forward to seeing you in a few short weeks. Tell Peter hello, and remember to lock those doors. Love you and miss you. G

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