I’m back in Shanghai (which at this point I’ve accepted is my temporary home) and I’ve just began working a new job at a British company based in China. I’m doing… well, I’m not quite sure what I’m doing yet. But I’m figuring it out. As a result of everything, I’ve been quiet. It’s been one of those times, where you stop something (like writing), and it becomes harder to pick back up, until one day you do, and it’s a habit again.
Actually, going back to work was kind of like that, because after a month of gainful unemployment and spending my days sleeping in (until 9:30am), working out, and stuffing my face with Korean food, you just get cabin fever. To be honest, I think I missed the work routine. Vacationing is great, I mean really great. And so is trying to pretend to be a trophy wife by sitting at home and cooking all day. But it’s also nice to finally stop wearing sweatpants and not be the cliché of an unemployed expat living abroad.
That first week back to work was frankly miserable. I’d never really recovered from the cold I picked up on our Hainan Airlines flight from Seattle, forcing me to start my first few days floating five feet above my desk in a DayQuiled haze. There also wasn’t that much work to be done, which meant I sat at my laptop all day and did the same things I had been doing the month before (in the feverish state, I wasn’t complaining). The second day of work, I forgot to charge my scooter overnight. This new office is about twice as far as my old one, on the furthest north corner of Jingan. My scooter sputtered out about a block into my commute home, leaving me to spend a hellish hour an a half navigating the rush-hour traffic.
But I’m back.
To summarize the past few weeks:
- I cut off a foot of my hair, without crying or making a scene. There’s been a reason I’ve kept my hair long the last six years. One too many traumatic haircut experiences in my childhood left me only cutting my hair out of necessity, meaning when the hairdresser basically strapped me to the chair and pulled out the scissors. But I went in last week and, largely on a whim, cut most of it off. My hair is now up to my shoulder and I feel so much lighter.
- D’s high school friends visited us in Shanghai. There’s always something wonderful in seeing people again whom you’ve met halfway around the world.
- I realized going to an American Football game in China is nothing like going to an American Football in the States. For one, it was played on a soccer field, and I had no idea who was keeping time (or score) until we all cheered at the end. Football games are one of those things that no one goes to to actually watch the sport (sorry, D). As much as I love football, football games are about beer, walking aimlessly around the bleachers, and pull-overs. I’m not sure I can get that in China
- We’re still in that time of the year where, being in Shanghai, you’re constantly just a little sweaty no matter what. Just woke up? There’s leg sweat. On my way to work? Definitely sweaty. I’m ready to move on.
- I paid 150 kuai to go to the rain room at the Yuz Museum and get rained on. Or not really rained on. The rain room was a huge deal at MOMA. Basically it’s a cool concept, if you like bright lights flashing in your face and the feeling of almost being rained on. It’s a dark chamber of pouring rain everywhere but on you, because 3D cameras tracking your every move. This of course only works if you don’t sprint through the room and walk slowly enough for the cameras to detect moment. Needless today, we didn’t listen and emerged from the room soaked.