Spring in Shanghai

It’s been so long since my last post that I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

Let’s see…shortly after my last post, my project manager left the company, leaving me in charge of a big account. So, needless to say, the past month has been a busy one.

On top of that, our office moved from Puxi to Pudong. Which means I no longer have the luxury of waking up 20 minutes before needing to be at work. Now, I wake up almost two hours earlier every day because my commute is close to an hour each way. I do love the new office though.  It’s in a great location – right across from Times Square – so there are plenty of shops and restaurants (and foreigners!).

ImageImageThe first week has been hard to adjust, but it is working out lovely because now, my roommate and I practice our English/Chinese – her English, my Chinese 😉 – to and from work each day.  I think I learned more in this past week than in 9 lessons of Pimsleur.

Anyway….The weekend following my last post, I went to the fabric market, again. This time, I was having a dress tailor-made for the black-tie event, Brawl on the Bund – more on that later.  I spent almost two hours in a corner stall, with no air conditioning, trying to decide what style I liked.  The one I wanted, conveniently, couldn’t be made.  So, I ended up mixing three different style dresses into one.  I had no idea on color, I just knew I didn’t want to stand out too much, so I decided on black with sexy red silk as lining. The following few days I was beyond nervous for how it would turn out.  Reason being, if I didn’t like it, I would be left running around searching the malls for a dress to fit me – something I had no time for.  Thankfully, my first fitting ended up being the only fitting – it was perfect. Well, almost perfect. The slit on the side was originally 3 inches higher, but I showed her, by breaking out into dance, that it was in no way suitable, unless I wanted to give everyone a show! She laughed and sowed it in 10 minutes and I was out the door!

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That same evening my co-worker/roommate, Tracy, and I met up with some of my friends for Ladies Night.  A few bars near our house offer free cocktails to Ladies from 9-11pm on Thursdays – free Mojitos and champagne are hard to pass up, especially after a long day(s) in the office.  On our way home, we stopped for a bite to eat at a shop near our apartment.  The shop owner had the cutest puppy tied up outside & in our state, we thought – more like thought – buying this puppy would be the best idea ever. Image

We talked for almost an hour & got him to agree on 200rmb ($35) to cover his cost, or else I could have had the puppy for free.  Good thing I had trusty Tracy with me, who talked me out of buying the pup that night because, clearly, we do not have the time to take care of a pet.  I was initially upset, but very grateful the next morning 🙂

Friday, a group of co-workers organized dinner and KTV (Karaoke) after work.  Image

Karaoke was definitely an experience.  First of all, my co-workers are all Chinese, so every song they sang was in Chinese.  Except for Yimo, who performed a few Eminem songs – hilarious! Image

What I liked the most was that every party is given their own room. I have never been to a Karaoke place like this before. So, for someone like me, who does not like to sing in front of a crowd – unless I have had a few to drink – it’s perfect because you’re just with friends. After KTV, Tracy and I met her friends at a club & ended the night soon after her friend’s phone was stolen.

Saturday! The big event – Brawl on the Bund.  It is an annual event, this being it’s 6th year, where about 1,200 people gather to watch white collar boxing and raise money for a charity. ImageI knew a few of the guys fighting & I am so happy I was able to attend, because this event was just plain awesome.  Everyone is all decked out in their best black-tie wear, receiving free flow of drinks, enjoying a four course meal, all while watching our peers fight in the ring. Image

The boxing event lasted close to four hours. Afterwards, shuttles drove everyone to a bar on the Bund for the after party. Of course there’s an after party for the after party, so I ended up at another bar with some friends until 5am. What an enjoyable night.

So enjoyable, that a bunch of us had to reconvene for brunch and more drinking the next day!  Image

It was a perfect Sunday.  Unfortunately, I had to call it an early night, not because it was Sunday, but because I hadn’t packed yet, and my flight to Macau was at 7am the next morning!

I slept a total of 3 hours before heading to the airport at 4:30am.  The flight was a quick two hours, which put me in Macau by 9:30am.  Check-in wasn’t until 2pm though, so to kill time, Chris and I decided to take a tour of the city via rickshaw. Best idea ever.  Our guide was too funny, posing us in front of the landmarks as if he were a professional photographer.  It was only an hour long, so afterwards we walked around to other sites, got our pictures, and went back to the hotel to relax by the pool.  

I should have prefaced, this trip was arranged by our boss, because our visas needed renewed, so it was a short stay. Since I had 48 hours away from the office, I just wanted to relax and not do anything that required great effort. Once I saw what I came to see, I rested by our resort’s pool until there was no more sun to soak up. That evening we went back into the city for a big dinner and to check out the casinos. Macau is a neat place to visit, but you only need a day or two there.  It’s very small, so you can literally see everything in that amount of time.  It reminded me of Portugal, which makes sense, since it is a former Portuguese colony. It’s not nearly as beautiful, but it does have some areas that resemble the streets of Lagos.  

The return flight landed us back in Shanghai yesterday afternoon.  Literally, as soon as I turned my phone on I was bombarded with work.  There was no way in hell I was going to the office at 5pm after a flight – you gave me 2 days, so I will take 2 days!  I really think these people don’t know how to have a life outside of work. It is really starting to wear on me – if you couldn’t tell!

Apologies for the mini-rant – it’s the stress talking. I love Shanghai, the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made, and I would still stay here if that option were available to me.

xx

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