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秋春粉墨

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Shanghai, my Wonderland  

2011-12-28 00:42:37|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Shanghai, my Wonderland - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨

View from the Hilton at JingAn Temple.  A head on collision of new and old Shanghai...
 

Shanghai, my Wonderland - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨
 The bund looms in the back...

Shanghai, my Wonderland - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨
 
This city seems to sprawl on and on... by the way, this is the direction of my house! Along the freeway...

Shanghai, my Wonderland - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨

Once overtaken by Europeans with settlements...

Shanghai, my Wonderland - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨
 
Shanghai is now one of the most international cities I've ever been in.

I've been to many places in my life, especially here in Asia.  More than anywhere else (even Tokyo), I consider Shanghai to be the most international of all my destinations in Asia.  I hear that Singapore can probably top Shanghai in term of its ethnic diversity, but Shanghai doesn't do such a shabby job either for being in the PRC.  Almost all of the young people in Shanghai speak pretty decent English, and to top it off there are thousands of foreign families just living here for the sake of, well, living here. I've seen an Indian and Italian couple, French family of four, international Chinese and Western marriage... you name it, and Shanghai probably has the weird combination, making it one of the most diverse places in Asia to be.

But at the same time, it is so Chinese at its roots.  Shanghai, to me, feels split in two sometimes: The one being overtaken by foreigners, and the one held down by Chinese tradition.  I don't know where I fit in, but all I know is that moving here has changed me.

And that is why Shanghai is, really, a wonderland to foreigners.  Shanghai is an international hub that is fun, fast paced and exciting; yet still not lacking in the elements that make it exotic and entrancing.

I came to Shanghai, not really sure what I was searching for.  I came here because my friend said it would be good for me, and my life felt so crumbled at that moment that, really, I felt I had nothing to lose by taking a gamble to hop on the plane.  Here I am six months later, surrounded by Chinese people and strolling the streets like a local.  I live in an old Shanghainese neighborhood with Shanghainese family as my friendly neighbors, and I've come to learn and love this city as my new beginning.

It's been one year and I'm finally starting to understand Chinese people.  Much like I did with Japan after my two years in the countryside, I'm starting to comprehend the mindset and traditions of the locals.  After almost one year in China, I feel the bond between myself and the Chinese becoming stronger and tighter; much more firm and steadfast than the relatoinships I held in Japan.

Sometimes, I can't quite believe it. I never thought I'd be speaking Chinese.  I thought my life ended with Japanese and there would be nothing to follow, but somehow I ended up learning how to speak Mandarin, become entranced with this country we call China, and, well, find this good looking guy.
 
Shanghai, my Wonderland - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨
 
 Christmas in Asia usually sucks, but my Shanghai boyfriend flew back home to keep me company.  His birthday also happens to fall on the following day...

Shanghai, my Wonderland - maryhalloran - 秋春粉墨

ta-da!  local Shanghai cake...

Another year is coming to a close, and with it I always seem to reflect on the following while looking to the future.  It has truly been a tough year; If I may say so, 2011 has to be the worst year of my life (family trouble along with the loss of scholarship and overall mid-mid life crisis..), but with it has come my irreplaceable Chinese friends, the strength to overcome even more hardships, a new home in Shanghai and my perfect boyfriend.

So 2012, give me your best shot.
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