I took an incredible three day trip to see the Rainbow Mountains which are a geological phenomenon! I planned this trip Sunday night and left Tuesday morning. I’ve had this past week off post-summer camp and pre-school year. My passport is currently at the bureau to transfer my work visas which means I can only travel within China! If I had my passport I would’ve left the country, but I’m so glad I had this opportunity to visit another corner of China! I stayed in a yurt for two nights, gazed at stars and decompressed from the insanity of city life in Shanghai. Currently I am in Xi’an for the day before I head back to Shanghai.
(Very cool art exhibit from Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama)
The day has finally come! I have a mandarin tutor and am studying the language. Some may ask why it took the long; I’ve been living in Shanghai for 7 months. It is easy to get by in Shanghai with little knowledge of the language given the international and global culture of the city. HOWEVER, I did not want to be one of those foreigners who moved here and never took the time to learn the language beyond little phrases. There are plenty of those types of expats.
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.”
This post is all about apps for my phone that I have found CRITICAL and mostly about WeChat…how China functions. WeChat is an app where you can message people, pay for almost anything and make posts like on Facebook. You will not find a person who doesn’t have Wechat. The messaging side is similar to WhatsApp where you can make free phone calls, however WhatsApp is blocked in China (without a VPN). In order to use the wallet feature, you really need a Chinese bank account which can be challenging to get in China for a foreigner without a work visa. You also need a local number, local address (not a hotels), your passport and sometimes your work contract. I use the back ICBC because it is internationally recognized and you can wire money to accounts back home. Also, there are branches everywhere and most have at least one person that speaks English. The wallet side of WeChat I assimilate with the popular app Venmo where you send money back and forth to people. China, especially major cities are moving away from cash.
The other day I taught two impromptu classes to a student one-on-one to catch him up from prior missed classes. I had met him as he was in one of the classes that I observed and knew that he was an energetic and smart little boy! I taught him one block of reading and another of writing with a 10 minute break in-between. He already understood the words and phonetic sounds from the chapter, so we played a lot of games to review including word tic-tac-toe, hangman and some games I easily made with blank paper and markers.
Well, it is now day four in Shanghai and what a few days it has been! I landed after the easiest flight ever where I had a whole row to myself from LAX to Shanghai Pudong Airport. My driver picked me up and deposited me at my hotel where I settled in. The next morning I immediately started exploring the city, using the metro system which is very intuitive, easy and reliable (so far). It really puts American transportation to shame!