A little bit on toasting marshmellows, motorbike rides, sunsets, and fall weather

I read a “meme” the other day from a friend that showed a character sitting at a table with a cup of coffee while the room is ablaze around him. Basically how I feel with grad school, lesson planning and adjusting right now…may as well break out the marshmellows to toast and chocolate and graham crackers for s’mores… Ohh life!

Saturday 7pm. My day is done. It started around 5am. I picked up extra classes that my University offered to me. I teach non-English majors all day on Saturday. It’s a different atmosphere than my Wednesday/Thursday English major classes. But all in all they seem to enjoy the class.

Week rewind. On Monday, I studied and made lesson plans most of the day and went to yoga at night. I accidentally took the right bus going the wrong way, but a kind stranger directed me to go across the street after I had realized an hour had passed and I wasn’t anywhere near my stop. Silly me. The bus driver home was also so very patient and deciphered my awful Chinese to drop me off at the right stop. What a way to end that relaxing after yoga night!
Tuesday was more lesson prep and such. I went to yoga in the morning and ran errands too. Wednesday I had class again, this was the second day for me. I really enjoy these two classes! I also am beginning to like the 2 hour lunch break when I can go to the library cafe in the absolute peace and quiet and read books (on my Nook!). This is a great way to relax and not focus on schoolwork. Perhaps I should coordinate my study time for this, but I like a break in my day to chill out. Tonight I went to yoga and my friend Ann helped out as a teacher during this time. It’s wonderful to have her as my yoga teacher and friend. During class, I couldn’t help but glance at the city lights out the window and smell the hinted fall air…country music was the background music tonight. So yay Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band, Brooks and Dunn…etc! Seriously, I fall into this city more each day. We ate traditional wontons in peanut sauce after class. Delicious!
Thursday was my first time having these students. What a long day! Boarded the bus at 6:45 am. and didn’t arrive back to Xuhui until 6:45p.m. Phew! The students are good though…I have 2 sections of Oral English and Public Speaking (once the freshman start class, I will also teach pronunciation). In my public speaking class many students left at the break, and a few others wrote in their Learning Journals that A. they didn’t know they would be speaking in front of their classmates B. writing speeches, C. the class would be too difficult for them. I left class disheartened and a bit frustrated. I’m not sure what to make of this, but after speaking with my advisor and a few students who stayed, it is an elective course and the students who stayed are willing to put forth the effort into the class and are motivated to improve their public speaking skills. I think the smaller class will be a better learning environment for everyone. I started with a class of almost 50 and now it’s between 25 and 30.
Met up with friends this night in Xintiandi. Ate at a great soup and sandwich place and after sat on a patio and shared a bottle of wine. These two people make my day, they are so funny and supportive. I am so thankful we are in Shanghai together! A wonderful end to a busy day.
Friday morning yoga, I teared up when my instructor gave me pointers. Sometimes it’s all the strength I have to drag my butt through that door. 1. because I am so sore. 2. because I’m tired. 3. the commute takes an hour. 4. I can be lazy and 5. the list goes on and on. really I am full of excuses except when class is over and I’ve sweated out all my anger and frustrations and stress I know why I come day in and day out. Yoga is for me. It’s my practice and no one else, so what effort I put forth in each day, that’s the amount of return I get. After class I met with an administrator of the school. She is the sweetest and showed me a couple big department Costco like stores in the area where I could buy necessities or sporting goods. Met a friend to study that afternoon at Cafe Bene- one of the cafes in South Korea…ahh the nostalgia~ yummy waffles! Bed early tonight because of Saturday class.
And now it’s Saturday! Yay! I ordered in Taiwanese food. I really miss Taiwanese food. Taiwan pancake with green onion and egg, dumplings galore, sweet potato fries…all the street food really!!!
This week I also discovered my favorite mode of transportation in this city. Yes, I feel very sophisticated taking the metro…even if I’m breezing through the interchanges in my yoga clothes and taking all.those.stairs. Hello, glute workout. BUT. Taking motorbikes. is. absolutely. the. BEST. mode. First of all, they are super NICE and polite and Understand my Chinese (unlike the taxi drivers who play dumb. because I KNOW I’m saying it right, ok!?!?!) They also ask me questions that I can understand too so I can kinda have mini Chinese conversation with them which is fabulous. Second, they just LOVE having a foreigner on the back of their bike so they drive super carefully. It’s actually kind of humorous watching them show the other drivers that they have a foreigner. Third, I am putting all my corners, streets, intersections, and whatnot in order by being on the street. It’s very comforting putting two and two together of where everything is in relation to my campus. …I also may have forgotten I was wearing a skirt before I bargained, so in that instance I just rode side-saddle. Funstuff.

So let me just say that I have been living in tropical to semi-tropical weather for about a year and a half. Needless to say…I haven’t spent much time in Fall weather, minus September and part of October in 2014. Until today. This morning felt a bit warm, but then I went outside at lunch. BRRR. Ok. I’m being dramatic, but the sky was gray and it was breezy and drizzling! and the temperature was 22C…which is 71F. I’m sorry. My Nebraska blood has all thinned out living in such warm climates. It probably didn’t help that I was wearing an airy dress I had bought in Indonesia…remember Megan, that one time you lived at the equator on an island…Shanghai, is not the same. It’s going to get cold..and colder. 

Sunday morning brought Skype with Grandma, noon led Ashtanga yoga, and afternoon church. Church was amazing. An incredible international worship experience. The church is homey, hosts people from over 100 countries, and has amazing music. My heart is so full. My friend Kassi also attended the service with me and I’m so thankful for her friendship!

Photos of the week…

complimentary truffles
Abby! You didn’t tell me you were driving..
View from Yoga!
sprouts as hair decorations…it’s a thing!
the reminder…to enjoy life!
50 students..ready go!
love the sunset
South Korea nostalgia…waffles
Fall weather perfection
hard to believe this is a Shanghai sunset…gorgeous, right?
and I adore them just as much!!!
I just became that teacher…
and fully know I’m right where I’m supposed to me
bring it. I’ve so got this! Thank you LORI!!!!

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