Latest Read: When Breath Becomes Air

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.” 

One of my goals post-college and moving to Shanghai is to read more books. I have always loved reading, but college took it’s toll on my personal reading given I had dozens of books and textbooks to read every semester (especially when I had an English class which was often). The first week I was in Shanghai, I found a great foreign book store near People’s Square and have frequented it numerous times since. Sometimes I just go and read a book in the store, however I have splurged on four books so far, one of which I have completely finished and ADORE. The latest book that I finished is “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanith which is about Paul’s journey as neurosurgeon who is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Paul wrote this book as he was dying and it is filled with such profound lessons about life, love and following your passions. I had not doubt in my mind that I would move to China and teach English. However, I would recently learn that this decision I made would come with unexpected heartbreaks.

Continue reading

Month One: Shanghai

A few days ago marked the completion of my first month in Shanghai. And what a month it has been! Shanghai still has an energy to it that I don’t forsee myself feeling like it’s become tarnished or old. We all get to choose our perspective and put in the daily work towards happiness and joy and I consciously make an effort to so. The overall happiness I feel is not because of one thing I did nor does it happen instantly; rather it’s a series of decisions and moments. This post is not themed, but just a fun update on life lately.

Continue reading

My Intuition Led to Teaching English in China

More than ever, I am a strong believer in intuition and female intuition is a VERY REAL thing. Sorry guys, our intuition is one of our many superpowers that you just don’t have. This is speaking in terms of the gender normative language. People always ask how I ended up in Shanghai teaching English and I usually give some simplified answer of wanting to move to another country because I love traveling and teaching seemed a good door into that. However, it really is a lot more that. Over five years ago when I was young and naive (more than I am now), I started reading blogs of people who moved abroad to teach English after college. People did it for various reasons with the most popular being: to travel and see the world, pay off students loans, see if they teaching, runaway from their unfulfilling jobs and because they had no clue what else they were going to do. I wouldn’t say that my reason is really any of them or a combination. Rather it was my intuition. I just knew that’s what I was going to do because it felt so right. And it does now that I am here!

Continue reading

Daily Shanghai Essentials to Take Everywhere

I decided to take a moment to do some yoga meditative poses on my nightly walk and reflect on the past few days and challenges that have come my way. I’m so proud of myself for how far I have come as a person and my growth in learning to truly feel my emotions and to do my best to lead with kindness, empathy and compassion for myself and others. The past few weeks I have learned what are essential things to always have with you to make life easier and for basic survival skills. I thought my backpack I got at REI and it has been the perfect bag. It’s canvas, light, durable, has lots of room and I’m so happy I brought it. The first thing I learned was to ALWAYS bring an umbrella with you because rain or shine, the umbrella is critical to surviving the weather extremes and changes of daily life in Shanghai

Continue reading

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.” 

Continue reading

What Happened to August?

During my commute on the metro back home this afternoon, it dawned on me that it is September. I arrived in Shanghai the evening of August 15th and the last few weeks have been somewhat of a blur between surviving the heat, welcoming afternoon rain showers, moving out of my hotel, training for work and exploring Shanghai. I recently received my schedule for work and was informed that I have the first week of October entirely off for the autumn festival. I can only imagine that this week is hectic with celebrations and busy assuming that most of the country has the week off.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Kids These Days

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.

Continue reading