The Rainbow Mountains of China in Zhangye, Gansu Province (and Xi’an)

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.

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Falling in Love with Shanghai

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.” 

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Wechat is Life and Other Essential Phone Apps

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.

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Make Green Tea

I was pondering about how to start this post last night while I was madly pedaling away at my spin class. This spin class was my first chinese exercise class where my instructor looked straight out of a lululemon catalog and had the overly peppy personality to match. Chinese techno and pop music was being blasted in the background while I tried not to fall off of my bike and heard the Chinese versions of “YMCA” and “Ice, Ice Baby.” At one point the instructor had us doing body rolls while pedaling. I was very confused. Story of my life right now. I am mostly confused.

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First Days in Shanghai

Hi friends!

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!

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Escaping

The concept of escaping, leaving, getting away has always interested me as travel is often another synonym that is associated with the word “escape.” What are we trying to leave behind? What are we looking for? Why do we have a desire to leave? For me, it’s a restlessness that I often find myself in; a desire to find something new and that often leaves me blending into the crowd and standing out at the same time. Escaping can often have a negative connotation, but I lately think its inherently a part of being human, the need to move and discover. Last year I took a fascinating class about drug policy from an anthropological perspective and studied the theory of a fourth drive, a human thirst to discover different forms of reality. I think escaping might be the fifth drive, and for some of us, it is more potent or has been exposed more at specific points of our lives.

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