Sheryl in Shanghai Part I

Well, this is one of the first few extended moments I’ve had to sit down and do some writing on what I’ve been up to since my mom arrived last week! It’s really been a whirlwind and I give her major props for keeping up the the crazy long days and excursions I’ve planned. I met my mom at the airport, shuttled her back to my apartment and told her to pack for the next day! What a trooper. I wonder where I get my go go go attitude and lifestyle…..for those of you that don’t know me that’s a joke. I got it from my mom, the original energizer bunny.

Bright and early the next morning, I whisked my mother away on a bullet train to Hangzhou which is less than an hour away from Shanghai. I book all the tickets on my WeChat! I can’t imagine traveling Shanghai and China without it if you didn’t have a tour guide.

We went to the National Tea Museum of China and sampled the tea, soaked in the beautiful tea fields and my mom took about 1000 photos of the foliage around the grounds. We also participated in a fun tea sampling and bought some tea. Hangzhou is famous for its “Dragon Well” tea which is a little bitter and not my favorite; I prefer the fruity tastes!

We went to the famous Heifeng Street which is lined with snacks of all sorts. We had onion pancakes and duck pancake wraps. Much to my mothers dismay, we went to a Thai restaurant for dinner. “I can all the way to China and am eating Thai.” Welcome to my life mom!

We took in beautiful West Lake. Last time I was in Hangzhou was fall golden week and it was MOBBED. Hangzhou is a very popular domestic travel place and it was so nice to be there with very few people. While there was drizzling weather, it was so peaceful to soak in the lake and walk around. Wear Lake is beautiful year round and all seasons!

My mother the tourist attraction….

After returning to Shanghai, I took my mom to one of my favorite places for roast chicken, veggies and mango sago pudding. The next morning, I took her to a long day of work! It’s the beginning of the spring semester and I didn’t want to miss the first few days. She got a nice taste of what my teaching life is like and how obscenely cute my students are.

After work we went to a fabulous Italian restaurant in Xintiandi which is a fun and trendy area with lots of international food and cute plazas. It was the best carbonara I have ever had!

I had another full day of work the next day. After work, we went to Chinese hot pot with two of my friends/coworkers. We went to a famous hot pot place called “Hai” that is known for its customer service. You can get a manicure when waiting for your table. Ha! China. While waiting you can also make paper cranes and each one is .5rmb off your food. You can make up to 120 cranes for 60rmb off which is $8 or so USD. We made 100 cranes! It really is quite a clever thing the restaurant does.

We had such amazing food. There were four tastes (mushroom, beef broth, tomato and spicy) to cook the veggies and meat in. I love food you can interact and play with! We also ordered noodles and they came to our table and stretched them and danced with them in a fun presentation.

Monday morning I took my mom to the hospital where I’ve been volunteering with orphans who come for medical treatment all over China. A lot of them have already been adopted and one family was even FaceTiming with a little girl as they arrive in a month to get her in China. There are babies who are blind, have tumors, major surgeries and they are so well cared for here. I do baby massage where we work on their little muscles with some massage oil.

This is one of my favorite parts of each week! It’s a contrast to working with my often very privileged students and babies are so cute!

I squeezed all of this into five days while also working. Talk about busy days.

Part II will include my favorite museum, visiting the Starbucks Reserve and our trip to the Yellow Mountains in Huangshan!

I’m back to reading my book and having my quiet time on the bullet train back to Shanghai. Let’s just say my mom has A LOT of questions and sometimes I just need to have quiet time.

Bye from the bullet train,

-Kaila

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