Greetings from Florida! Yes, it is winter I swear…
Well it has certainly been awhile since I last blogged! And wow, I have missed writing so much. But more than anything I have missed taking and editing photos! This last month and a half I have felt… incomplete. It is interesting to go without something you take for granted in order to rediscover what exactly makes it so important and how it fits in your life. That is basically what living in China does. You go without so many things that you become immensely grateful for the littlest things.
Having my laptop stolen was a wakeup call in so many ways. First of all, it was a reminder to LOCK YOUR DOORS. HIDE YOUR KIDS HIDE YOUR WIFE. But mostly it was a reminder that material possessions are replaceable. At the end of the day what matters most is the fact that you are safe, healthy and surrounded by the people you love the most.
For the last couple of weeks I have been back in the States attending weddings, stuffing myself with pie on Thanksgiving and visiting friends and family. Peter has already returned to Shanghai to work until Christmas while I am still in Florida, working in the office and setting up meetings for wedding planning stuff. So far so good! I miss Peter so much but it is nice to be home.
Let’s catch up with photos from my last few months in China shall we? I think last time I posted about our cruise to Japan and Korea in late September. God and don’t even get me started on France and New Zealand. Those photos are burning a hole in my brain and I am just happy to work on them again in Photoshop. So expect a travel photo dump soon. NOT ENOUGH TIME, TOO MANY PHOTOS. SORRY I’M NOT SORRY. And sorry for these all caps sentences. I’m just super enthused about photos YAY. Ok back to China!!
In Shanghai we live in Jiuting which is a bit far away from the center of the city. However our neighborhood is still developed, crowded and very Chinese. One weekend Peter’s friend from work invited us to visit a church in the Songjiang District. Turns out we live just one subway stop away from Sheshan National Forest Park, a beautiful forested area with several churches, temples and trails! Like what??? We were SHOCKED. A mountain in Shanghai? Let’s go!
For two weekends in a row we met up with friends on the mountain to just walk around and enjoy the scenery. However, this is still Shanghai so we had to look our very best among the crowds of people walking about in their designer jeans and high heels. You can never really avoid people in China, you learn this quickly. Peter wore his very “urban Chinese” best (which I love).
We climbed to top of the mountain to Sheshan Basilica where we witnessed a massive group wedding. I mean like we actually sat down in the pews and watched 6 couples get married at the same time. It was bizarre! The ladies all wore these elaborate gowns with enormous tulle skirts and sequined bodices. It was fabulous. And weird. Definitely not like my wedding will be.
Our favorite area on the mountain is a hidden gem, the Bamboo Forest. Below the Basilica and off the main path is an unusually quiet section of the forest filled with enormous bamboos (that sounds so silly). The trees are huge and you can actually hear the quiet enveloping you. It is a magical sensation in one of the loudest cities in the world. We love it! The bamboo is also fun to climb. Although I wouldn’t recommend it. I ruined my shirt when I ascended bamboo marked up with ink. Sweet.
Let’s see what else? Oh we had an awesome karaoke night for our friend’s birthday. We started with a huge Japanese hibachi dinner and followed with hours of fun in a private karaoke room. My friend Lisa and I killed it on countless songs by Adele and One Direction while the boys tried to keep up. It was a blast as always! I love our American and Scottish friends.
For Halloween we dressed up and went to a club hosting a weird Circus-themed Halloween party. I went as Rosie the Riveter and Peter as Jackie Chan which was all in vain since nobody in China dresses up. There were some people in costume at the club but other than that… nope. I was stuck in the rain trying to catch a cab for half and hour and people were staring at me like I was some weirdo. I mean doesn’t everybody wear jean on jean? The club was actually really fun and they played some great music from the 80s! The only good picture is this half-assed selfie from earlier in the day. YOU CAN DO IT.
And finally, if you recall I was taking boxing lessons at my local gym. In the middle of my sessions I switched trainers and was coached by Ares, a sweet 19 year-old kid who laughed at me more times than not. He made me run laps and sprint and kick him for hours on end. It was so much fun! I learned so much and laughed a lot. I taught Ares some English words (including most curse words lol) and he taught me how to count in Chinese! This is just proof that language doesn’t have to be a barrier to friendship. I really am going to miss boxing and all my trainer friends at the gym…
And that’s all folks! Soon there will be an update on our time here in Florida. But for now I will be outside enjoying the sunshine!