I’m Learning Chinese and Other Tidbits From Shanghai

(Very cool art exhibit from Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama)

The day has finally come! I have a mandarin tutor and am studying the language. Some may ask why it took the long; I’ve been living in Shanghai for 7 months. It is easy to get by in Shanghai with little knowledge of the language given the international and global culture of the city. HOWEVER, I did not want to be one of those foreigners who moved here and never took the time to learn the language beyond little phrases. There are plenty of those types of expats.

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Sheryl in Shanghai Part II

Shanghai is the ultimate metropolitan city and no visit is complete without checking out the Starbucks Reserve which is an incredible space of design and delicious treats! It’s filled with both food and beverages you can’t get in regular stores and you can watch them roast the beans right their. It’s a symphony of excellent customer service and beautiful execution. Of course I had to take my mom! It’s also located on West Nanjing street which is a happening and trendy place to check out.

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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.

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The Calm Before the Mom

(Excerpts from an essay I wrote in 2010. While I’ve changed a lot, it shows I’m still fundamentally the same person).

“Life is the greatest gift and the only one who can change and live it is you. This has always been a philosophy of mine and I truly believe it. Life is a journey that throws many adventures, challenges and lessons and other emotions and events at you. It is how you react, adapt and move forward that determines the person you are. The smallest moments in my life have often made the largest impacts on my philosophy and who I am…I also believe and know that my actions each day define who I am, the person I am the next day and forever on. Life is going to get rocky and tough, but if you sail through it win a fearless attitude and supportive people, the water will eventually calm and become clear.

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Beijing Part III

So much happened on our second day that I didn’t include so this is filling in the blanks and summing up the trip! We were at a mall doing as the Chinese do, which is shopping when we heard the sounds of the dragon dance! I have grown up listening to this tune and it somewhat is a traumatic sound given that I was scared of them when I was little. This dance was the best one I’ve ever seen and so intricate!

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Beautiful Beijing Part II

This was by far my favorite part of the trip and an experience I will treasure for some time to come! It was so special! I’ve been to other parts of the Great Wall and this one was the most special. Not to mention that it was lightly snowing with ominous clouds that added to the beautiful morning. You take the cable car up the wall and can walk the section before either taking a chairlift down or as we opted, a toboggan! I really enjoyed this day so much and it’s part of what makes Beijing and China so special.

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Twas’ The Night Before Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year in Shanghai feels like Christmas back in the States. The spirit is in the air with decorations everywhere, little pig souvenirs and gold charms being sold in all the little shops. Chinese New Year is THE holiday of the year in China where almost the entire country has time off and goes back to their hometowns to visit family and celebrate. Shanghai is about to be a ghost town and the kids are officially all on their holidays either traveling outside of China or within. I officially kicked off the holidays by going to the famous Yuyuan Gardens with two friends to look at the beautiful lights, eat some yummy food and soak in the holiday spirit.

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End of Semester and Welcoming Chinese New Year!

(Gave all my students red packets full of chocolate)

The semester is drawing to an end before we welcome and the whole country goes on holiday for Chinese New Year. There is something so special about “firsts” and my first semester of teaching in China is something I foresee as always being incredibly meaningful in my life. My students, ages 4-11, have put in so much hard work this semester between the rolling of the eyes and “teacher no homework” complaints. My littles have learned to write the alphabet, blend sounds and read while my older students have learned to crank out five page essays like it’s nothing. I have been told dolphins look like me, pictures have been drawn of me dying by shark attack or explosion and I have gotten all the little squishy hugs. I have learned the art of bribing by stickers, taught them various high-five games to keep them focused and can shut their “bad behavior” with my famous glare. I have assured all the parents that their kids are wonderful and making progress (except that one kid who never does his homework….just kidding. He’s a doll). And most of all I have absolutely LOVED this first semester. I decided to write reflect and write a note to all my students.

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The New and Latest from Shanghai

Life lately has been a lot of the same with teaching and my daily routines here. There is something so lovely about a routine! My semester is wrapping up before Chinese New Year. I will have two intensive sessions in February before the new semester starts in March. I am so proud of all my students and every single one of them has made so much progress in English and coming into their adorable personalities. Last week I was told that I am now a real chinese person because my hair is black. They are the funniest little humans. So here’s to the old, new and exciting plans for the future!

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