31° 13′ 47.2692″ N, 121° 24′ 8.1324″ E
The first day I arrived in China I was very scared! I missed my mom, my little sister Christine, my bed and the comfort of being somewhere I understand. I did not know how I was going to get around the city without knowing any Chinese! How was this going to be possible? However, my fear of living so far from home in a place I have never been before left me the very next day. All of my fear was replaced by pure excitement!
After one month in Shanghai, I can share with you that I am comfortable and happy! There are so many interesting things here in China. First of all the food is very good and inexpensive, two of my favorite things!
I have a “usual” breakfast that I pick up every morning before I get on the bus to go to school. Sometimes I will also get my favorite drink, but it has a lot of sugar so I probably should not drink it every day! It is just so yummy! There is something so special to me about having my “usual” breakfast routine. It sets the mood for my whole day. What about you? Do you have a certain meal that is most important to you?
My favorite “go-to” meal in Shanghai is an order of vegetable dumplings. I used to eat dumplings all the time in New York. Have you ever eaten steamed dumplings from a Chinese restaurant? They are usually served as appetizers and have pork, chicken or vegetables inside. The dumplings here are pretty much the same, except they are smaller! There are six dumplings in one order and they are super yummy! Sometimes, my friends and I get two orders because they really are not that big.
I go to a local bakery near where I live every day. I have to point to the menu and count to the number on the menu with my hands because the people working do not speak English. Sometimes, I try to order in Chinese but they usually do not understand my American accent. The people in the bakery giggle as I walk in. They are probably wondering, “Oh goodness, what is she going to order this time?” They all are very nice, but they are always laughing at me because I never pronounce any of the Chinese words correctly. It is my goal to order off of the menu properly, without any giggles, and without any difficulty by the time I leave China!
Another fun thing I did was dance in the middle of a big shopping area with some Chinese ladies. They were all dancing calmly to music together and my friends and I decided to join in. However, we did not know the dance moves, so we did not look as calm or as graceful as they did. They were also laughing quite hard at us. Eventually, they “shoo-ed” us away with their hands because I think we were messing up their serious dance!
One thing that I think is interesting is the importance of tradition in China. I went to the Shanghai Museum with my friend on the weekend, and it was really amazing to see all the history and how it is still very important today. Some of the items in the museum are as old as 3,000 years! Some of the characters they use to write (the Chinese language does not use letters) are older than 3,000 years! I think that is so cool. It was very beautiful to see how people today value their history and ancestors.
I also love how inexpensive everything can be! I am able to get breakfast for 1.2 yuan (roughly 20 US cents,) a great hazelnut latte for 8.5 yuan, awesome desserts for around 13-20 yuan ($2-3), a week’s worth of groceries for 80-100 yuan ($13-16), an order of dumplings for 4.5 yuan (75 cents), and a bottle of water for 2 yuan (around 30 cents). A night of karaoke in your own private room with a group of friends is around 50 yuan ($8-9) or often less! Museums are usually free, sightseeing is free, and eating out at a nice restaurant is around 30-50 yuan ($5-10).
I still have a lot to see in Shanghai, but I am also looking forward to visiting other places in China. My school will be taking many field trips starting in a couple weeks (when it is a bit warmer)! I cannot wait to share my trips with you!
Overall, I am so glad I am here. This is a once in a lifetime adventure and I will remember it forever. Sometimes I still cannot believe I am here in China!