In the past twenty-four hours, I have been chased by a pack of wild dogs, helped slaughter a cow, stood knee-deep in said cow’s intestines, peed in public (twice), and climbed over a ten-foot fence at 2 o’clock in the morning. Russia is wonderful. Trying […]
The hairstylist put down the bleach and took out a jar of brown dye. That’s when I realized something had gone awry. As part of my recent deep-dive into embracing China local life, I took the plunge and did something I had never done before – I let someone who […]
My scooter slips. I skid into a crack on the pavement and veer sharply to the left. The man on a motorbike to my left narrowly avoids me and squeezes past, unfazed. The car behind us screeches to a halt, the driver’s palm glued to his horn. He doesn’t stop honking as I readjust the pedals on my scooter. He continues honking as I get back into street formation. He doesn’t stop honking, through we’re at a red light and traffic has halted to a standstill.
My morning commute is twenty-five minutes on an electric razor scooter, disobeying traffic laws, dodging bicycles, pedestrians, and families of five perched precariously on a single moped. Shanghai is a city of almost 24 million people, yet China is a country where a red traffic light is merely a suggestion.
I’m on a Mobike, too low for my height and it feels like I am driving the bicycle equivalent of a clown car. The left brake tugs against me and gives out and I am flying forward, turning left down the wrong way of a street because there are no cars. It’s only ten minutes to get to work up Xiangyang road, until I cross the elevated roads and bike into a narrow alleyway. I walk my bike through the steam of 10am noodles and the workers who eat them, the middle-aged woman huffs at me, but I give her a sheepish grin. She understands that there is méiyoŭ bànfǎ.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the elevated highways light up a blinding blue-neon.
I had planned to write about how the miserable of the past week, but instead I’m writing about the beautiful. I’m writing about the beautiful, because life in Shanghai has reached peak levels of the exhausting and the absurd, and when things get tough, there’s really no […]
I feel like the word breathtaking is overrated. We use it so much that when something truly takes our breath away – and I mean with that sharp intake of breath and an utter loss for words, I completely lack the vocabulary to put my feelings into words. […]
I’ve done it. I’m self-hosting my blog! This feels like a big step, because Skipping Customs (first called Pasta Republic) is something I started over three years ago and over the three years it’s become a place where I’ve been able to openly (or sometimes not openly) document […]
I’ve been on a huge China kick the last couple of weeks – I’ve finally started getting groceries online from YiHaoDian (an online Wal-Mart/Amazon hybrid where I can buy puppy food, sparkling water, and a Kindle all in one go), ordering lunch through ele.me and meituan then giving virtual Red Packets of ele.me cash on WeChat (oh man, it does feel like I’m speaking a foreign language). I’ve been biking every day to work on a Mobike (well, that’s because of the scooter ban that just hit Shanghai, though I’m sure that’s temporary). I’m back in Chinese classes. I may even take the HSK 4 in June!
And so, I feel like I am steamrolling through being in China, but at the same time, asking myself why it took so long to get to this point. I feel like expats like me sometimes make life here so hard, by refusing to really acclimate to China. I still insist on bringing things like Ibuprofen or Cetaphil face wash from the States, but if I had bothered to look up the generic names, I’m sure I could find it all in China (after all, everything’s made in China, isn’t it?)
To be fair, I still don’t know how to use TaoBao or AliPay, but once I get those two accounts connected that’s where all of my money will go (instead of where it goes now – buying artisanal sparkling water on YHD).
So what am I doing in all of this? I don’t have a good answer, but this is making me feel better about being an expat here in Shanghai and for now that is enough.
Ahh! I’m throwing in an announcement here.. this is officially my 185th post and I’ve been on wordpress.com for over two years. Over the next month, i’ll be transitioning this website to wordpress.org – a self-hosted wordpress site. After all, I’m a web developer by day, and I feel like my street cred (is there such a thing as developer street cred? how do I get more) is way in the dumps because I’ve been to lazy to transfer this to my server.
I don’t think any of the subscription features will change and I’ll work really hard to make sure that this is as seamless of an experience for everyone who reads this as possible, though there may be a few hiccups along the way! Hope you guys will continue following me and supporting me through this new beginning!