Pollution Blues

Two days and it’s just the beginning.

Shanghai and its terrible weather.

Pollution an all time high.

Nothing to be seen day or night.

Nobody is winning. 

These are pollution blues, from me to you. 

LOL I don’t know, but the weather here sucks, and it’s supposed to be like this for the next 7-9 days. I’m starting to feel  the side effects of all of this bad air. We’re all starting to feel the side effects. Hopefully something gives, because it would be real nice to see some clear skies during my last 2 weeks here. 

A Happy Thanksgiving

This has been the first (and I wouldn’t mind if it were the last) Thanksgiving that I’ve been away from my family. It really hit me hard, especially since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I missed all the cooking, shared stories, and family faces this year, for the first time in my life.

I was actually interning Thanksgiving night, but I’m in China, and Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated really anyways, so it wasn’t too bad.

However, at the restaurant, Thanksgiving dinner was served for those who were looking for somewhere to eat on the holiday. Nearing the end of my shift, I went to get a tea for one of the guests, and I was greeted with a plate of Thanksgiving food by my manager. She told me forget the tea (she would handle it), eat, and that I should go home once I was finished eating. I was very surprised and thankful - I might have even teared up a bit lol

Anyways, it meant a lot to me that they thought of me on the holiday. I got to eat Thanksgiving dinner, a real fancy one may I add. I always wanted to eat a Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant, just to say I did so. Last night, I guess I did!

Yesterday, I went to Shanghai University’s Chrysanthemum Festival. I really debated whether or not I should go, being that it was an all day affair   (It started raining very heavy in the morning, and I still had to study for my unit test the next day). I was happy that I decided to go - I learned a lot about the history of this flower and the tea that it makes, I met Chinese students that attend Shanghai University, and I got to eat some good food. 

The photos above are just a few of the beautiful arrangements that were placed on the school’s campus. By the way, I have never seen a university so big in my life. I was talking to one of the students and she told  me that it takes her 20 minutes to bike to one of her classes from her dorm! Reminds me of that walk from Lafayette back in New York lol. 

Huí Jiā 回家 (to return home)

I went to  Beijing this weekend, and upon returning to Shanghai, I couldn’t help but think, “Damn, it feels good to be HOME.” (Not that my trip was bad or anything). But that’s the part that gets me, the fact that I’m calling Shanghai home. 

There’s something about coming home to your own bed  and your own shower. Where all of your things are just how you left them. Where you can sit and relax in your own space, and know that whatever you do there isn’t interrupting anyone. 

There’s something so familiar and identifiable about Shanghai now. I haven’t been here too long, but I guess I’ve been here long enough to be able to distinguish a Beijing accent from a Shanghainese one. I know where all the good and cheap food spots are. I know how to hail a cab no problem. I know how to get home without getting lost. I know my way around the subway system. I know how a good night should end, and what to do when the night is going nowhere. I know how to deal with people, and I know who to go to when I don’t feel like dealing with the first person. 

Shanghai is a constant challenge. Living here has not been easy, but I’m starting to get comfortable. As ready as I am to be back in New York, my time here is moving too quickly. There’s so much here left for me to experience. There’s so much here left for me to learn. 

I’m starting to realize that I’m not ready to leave. I’m getting used to things. I’m starting to fit in. I’m starting to feel at home. 

Things They Don’t Tell You…

So today, I got into a car (taxi) accident. I’m not really sure what happened, or who was at fault, but it happened, and it happened so fast. I remember the last time I got into a car accident. I was the one driving. The sound I heard today, as the two cars collided, is not a sound I’m all too familiar with. 

What do you do when you’re in Shanghai, speak very little Mandarin, and are riding in a cab who gets hit from behind? I had no clue. I still don’t. Not sure if what I did was sufficient enough or if I should have done more. But for sure, there was no “bu hao yisi” (sorry, as in it’s my fault sorry) or “duibuqi” (sorry) from “shifu” (taxi driver). But, I guess I didn’t ask him if he were ok either. 

Once we were hit, both taxis waited in the intersection for about 5 minutes, before deciding to move the cars. Neither seemed upset with the other. I assumed the police would come soon, but they didn’t. On two different occasions, police (jingcha in Mandarin, maybe?) cars passed, looked at the scene, and kept on driving.

Ironically enough, there was a Chinese woman who spoke fluent Spanish, who tried to help me. Telling me what I should do. Too bad the only other language I know is French. At least I understood “policia.” Maybe she didn’t know English, and thought I could speak Spanish. At least she tried.Anyways, that whole ordeal was really weird.  

Things I did: 

1. Took down the taxi license plate #

2. Took down the taxi driver’s id #

3. Argued for 20 minutes with shifu before he would give me the “fapiao” (receipt/invoice)

4. Left the scene 

I’m glad I’m ok, that both taxi drivers are ok, and that no one was really hurt. I just really hope my neck and back don’t pay for this in the morning. 

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NYU Junior in Shanghai for Fall 2013