I’ve only truly fallen in love once before. Love is the most inexplicable emotion that doesn’t quite make sense but is like nothing else and perhaps the purest of all the emotions. When it is real and lasting, there is nothing better. There are so many variations and types of love. I fell in love with school from a young age, have a true love for food and love traveling. I have also received the most pure and unwavering love from my family that as I get older continue to be so grateful for. I know how fortunate I have to have a lot of love in my life from my family and friends. There is a great quote from the movie The Fault in Our Stars that perfectly summarizes love for me.
“Falling in love is like falling asleep, it happens slowly then all at once.”
I’m falling in love with Shanghai more and more everyday in the small and big moments. Getting lost on roads, discovering bowls of salmon and rice, seeing the skylines, the kindness from people, my kombucha exploding on the Metro, finding boba tea on every corner and Yang’s dumplings that kept me alive the first two weeks here. I feel like I am supposed to be in this city right now in the moment in my life; it feels so right and despite the fears I have about the future and the little parts of life, I am so in love with Shanghai. It is a magical city like nothing else I have experienced.
I feel like it is a balance for what I call home in Colorado and my homeland of China. It is so far ahead technologically than the States, yet there are still signs of a country that is developing on every corner of the street. I love all the phone Apps that make life interesting, new and fun and the cheap street food that is bursting with flavor and oil. I love the moments of peace and the moments of confusion in this new city I am making my own.
I look back on the first week I was here and all the confusion I had and how far I have come since. It is a sharp and steep learning curve. The first time I took the metro, the first time I got lost on it, trying to use translation apps to get a new hotel key and when a waiter at my hotel told me on the translation app that my clothes were displaced (my shirt was inside out). Not understanding WeChat and how to connect to wifi and work my vpn. The confusion of how to order food at a new place and being so hot I felt like I was going to burst until air conditioning blasted my whole body and cooled it down. The times when old ladies approach me at the metro stations lost and confused and despite not being able to speak Mandarin, I still can help them find their way with hand motions and smiles. The relief I felt going to Starbucks. When my monthly data plan ended and I was lost in the middle of nowhere yet found the store China Mobile and updated my monthly plan. The hopeless feeling I felt when my VPN crashed and just wanted to google something.
Shanghai is so beautiful and pure. I’m sure it will break my heart and we will have hiccups in our relationship, but I am here for it. I feel stronger that I ever have and the past few years I have been broken and helpless and had to build myself back up to where I am today. I’m excited for my job, moving to a new apartment and for family and friends to visit so I can show them this magical place.
Falling in love with a place is so special and gives me so much joy and happiness.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead said that traveling makes the world a safer place and I couldn’t agree more.