Shanghai: Take 2

Last days in the USA and the first week back in Shanghai… read on.

An American luxury is a dryer- a timed dryer in which you can press an indicated time and right before you go to bed you can have awesomely comfy warm sheets.

An American luxury is also sitting at a small town bar, listening to country music, eating tacos and drinking super strong margaritas with your parents.

An American luxury is the bluest skies and greenest grass, and open skies speckled with fluffy white clouds and a running path with sunflowers.

An American luxury is also homemade cookies right out of the oven. Heavenly.

And one more thing…evening walks, game nights and coffee chats with friends are just the best. I am so blessed to have spent time with dear friends this summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

small Nebraska town cafe.
delicious caramel latte.

My friend wrote a book. You should buy it and read it. Your life will be changed. Being apart of the launch team and seeing the interworking of words coming together has been so inspiring! (I can’t wait to write mine now… #unfrozen) much love! So excited for you dear friend! Unfrozen by Andrea Joy Wenburg.

Basically I still have this goal that one day I will make the NYT Bestseller List. Actually I really hope one person would read my book. Making the list…now that would call for a step up for my $3.96 bottle of wine. though that wine is really good and I would pry drink that and the expensive stuff. because wine and books. done and done.

Did I tell you I graduated? Yes. Master’s program of International Studies with a concentration in International Education is complete. I made the deadline. to the day. YAY!

My cousin just had her second baby. In LOVE. She is precious and adorable and the sweetest thing you will ever see. Scarlett Kimberly, love you. And Life is good and timing is everything. My ticket out leaves the 5th and she arrived with time to spare. Like I get to meet this baby before she’s six months old.

Learning to chill is this year abroad life’s motto. Chill about people, circumstances, opportunities, timing. Zen out and just breath.

That moment you get the English version of your schedule (instead of the Chinese one that you google translated) to find out that you are not only teaching high school levels, but also primary and middle school as well…anyone? 

My best friend in Taiwan just had her baby girl. I’m going to call her Huan Huan (歡歡) which means cheerful and lots of joy in Taiwanese. PRECIOUS. I’m also obsessed. My friends make the most beautiful babies ever.. and I love being Aunt Megan. So many hearts. Ugh. Yay.

And just like that I was sitting at the airport in Chicago after a 4 am drop off by my brother and parents at good ole Epply Airport (it’s seriously the best airport ever, hello 5 minute lines and super happy people at the crack of dawn) and an hour and a half first flight. One last thing before leaving the USA, a pumpkin spice latte. I really could not have timed this any better. Now to brace myself after receiving not so nice emails from my director for not arriving until the 7th of September due to visa paperwork and flight prices.

magical sunrise.
got my PSL
it’s all about timing.
and FALL.

I arrived in Shanghai about 2 pm. Easy customs line. And I felt like a local when I could turn on my phone and use it without wifi to let people know I had landed. So weird. A whole lotta déjà vu going on…airport signs, directions, speaking Chinese to my taxi driver, and knowing the route he was driving to my friend’s house. Spent a few days at a friends before securing an apartment; she seriously is a huge life saver!!!

adult grilled cheeses are the best.
because it’s the first Friday.
so rare to see clouds.
thank you G20 summit aftermath
because bubble teas…mango smoothies…and whatever else.

Apartment

Before arriving back to Shanghai I was looking for places to potentially rent online. I had found some really cute places so I scheduled an appointment with a realtor. (The first appointment schedule she actually forgot, so we arranged to meet the day after). As I was heading out of school the second day of class I checked my wechat as a second realtor was always posting listings. I found one that caught my eye. So many windows, white and airy, kitchen space, and room to move. I had to take a look! I messaged her right away and it looked like this:

Yep. This is how I secured a viewing at this apartment.

The first viewing with the first realtor went well, but it wasn’t what I thought. The room was bright, but claustrophobic, a tiny space and one window, no kitchen space, and barely any room to breath. However, it wasn’t the room that was the deciding factor, the whole building reeked  of chemicals and smoke and by the time I left, my head was pounding and I felt ill. I couldn’t do it, no matter if the second place worked or not.

I walked into the second apartment and knew right away I had to have it. It’s simple, but clean and so many windows. It’s perfect for one person. It’s in a very “China” area of town and in perfect location. 10 minutes walk to the metro, 5 minutes walk to a gym, noodle and dumpling restaurant, and cafes. And it’s in walking distance to tutoring and yoga. My school is a bit of a metro ride away, but having only one easy transfer makes it totally doable and morning rush hour is really not that bad because I am going the opposite way of most.

I spent the weekend moving and unpacking and cleaning. I also killed a baby cockroach. I figured out how to turn the light of on my AC unit and how to turn on the hot water. Because everything is in Chinese and I use google translate and context clues.

The first meal I ate in my apartment was beef noodles and a vanilla cashew latte. Because there’s a cafe called Lizzy’s All Natural. A place where bulletproof coffee, almond milk, smoothies, and bowls exist. It’s the best.  It’s a good and bad thing that it’s so close.

peanut butter bowls.
cleaning supplies!
yay!
I’ve missed my chicken and rice.
first meal.
beef noodles and a cashew vanilla latte
moon cakes.
are not very good.
but it’s a mid-Autumn festival
tradition.
more Shanghai sky.
evening snack

School

Teaching is going well considering it’s my first week back. I didn’t have books the first couple days. Literally winged all my classes because I was in a meeting and getting a tour of the school right up until my first class started. There’s nothing like teaching not even 24 hours after landing after 19 hours of travel. By the time my 5th class had ended for the day, I had been in Shanghai for a full 24 hours and I was beat. But I made it. I did summer holiday and getting to know you activities, introduced myself, and had the students make name cards. I have 35 students in each class for 1st grade, 6th and 7th grade, about 25 for each class in 8th grade, and 20 students in my high school class. I do not have a curriculum to follow for any of my classes, but luckily I have a book for my high schoolers and first graders and sample lesson idea for my middle schoolers.

I made it my first week and now it’s Mid-Autumn Festival, which means eating mooncakes and watching a full moon tonight. A tradition for Chinese is to also eat duck soup. Mostly I’m just excited because we get Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off. However, because it’s China, we must make up one holiday day so I will be teaching on Sunday thru Friday next week.

blue sky before the downpour
gotta love an empty metro
at the end of line 12!
the best dumplings down the street
back to tutoring.
more delicious food from the Muslim restaurant around the corner
rainy day burgers and shakes
after the crazy plumbers fixed my toilet!
Buzzin’
jammin’ to Nicki Minaj and drinking my latte
afternoon Cajun food and wine
much needed conversation with a dear friend
typhoon clouds


Life

I am back to tutoring my business people and they were so excited about my return! Yay! Yoga is rough since I mostly did cardio activity over the summer, but it’ll get there. Church is amazing and I still get teary-eyed during worship. God is present and alive and real. It’s really the most incredible feeling I have ever experienced. I found a community group, and will hopefully be able to continue attending the weekly meetings. It will be fun to continue exploring my new area of town and meet new people from school (my colleagues seem nice) and church.

Here’s to another year in Shanghai! Stay tune for more adventures and happenings.

what an absolutely gorgeous Saturday!
palm trees.
now I just need a beach…
blue skies and sunshine mean laundry day
my neighborhood view
more typhoon clouds rolling in.
Teacher’s Day texts from last year’s students…so sweet! 🙂
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