Life Lately

怎么样 – how are you? It’s been over three weeks now since our first update; we’re bad bloggers, I know. But your favorite laowais are back with an update on what’s been going on lately.

Andrew and I have finally had a little more time to explore more of Shanghai and we continue to find more and more spots in the city we love. Right now, the French Concession would have to be our fave (partially because I think Andrew and I were both French in our past lives). No pictures of this area, but imagine beautiful tree-lined streets with hints of French architecture. We’ve been to many great restaurants and bars in this area.
Last weekend we got to explore The Bund which is a very touristy waterfront area in Shanghai. It looks onto Pudong, the financial area of Shanghai, and the recognizable landmark of the Pearl Tower.

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When in China do as the Chinese do. 
We also made it to the Tim Burton exhibit which was fantastic! The exhibit left town October 10th so we made it just in time. 90’s Chelsea was freaking out getting to see Tim Burton’s drawings done over his entire life.

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Thanks to China’a lax copyright laws everyone disregarded the no pictures policy. 

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A couple of weeks ago my Shanghainese friend, Irene, took me to see Yu Gardens which is very touristy but the architecture was beautiful. Since we’ve arrived in China I’ve been dying to see more ancient architecture since a lot of buildings here are relatively new, so it was great to see the gardens which some parts of the gardens date back to the 1500’s.

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Irene and me. I’m holding candied dates – a Shanghai treat. 

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Next to the gardens are a lot of shops filled with trinkets that no one needs. Except for those gold cats that wave their paws (money cat), I need one of those. 

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Laundry day near our neighborhood. 

School Life

Guys, look! I got interviewed for That’s Shanghai magazine!

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University continues to be a good challenge for me. I know this is naïve of me to say, but I didn’t realize how big of an impact the US had on other countries until moving and studying business in a different country. Almost every day an American case study, business theory, law, China vs. USA model, etc is brought up in class and with me being the only American in the class I get to do a lot of explaining on the country’s behalf.

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Andrew got to meet some of my classmates at a class outing. 

Outside of the business world, I get questions or comments almost daily from my classmates about the upcoming election. At first when the questions started rolling in I was genuinely surprised with how knowledgeable they were with US politics, because when have I ever cared about politics in another country (guys, did I mention how naïve I am). But when a country like the US plays a huge role in another country’s way of doing business, of course they’re going to be as interested as I am.

(Today someone also asked me if you can buy a gun at a Walmart in America. There are Walmarts here in China that obvi don’t sell guns so it was hard for them to imagine you could buy a gun from a grocery store. This of course led into a conversation about gun sales in America, but hey that’s a conversation for a different time and a different type of blog)

In other school news, I’ve started Chinese lessons which are provided for free by my university. To say learning Chinese is hard is an understatement, it has me wanting to go back to learning French which seems like a cakewalk in comparison. We’ve started studying the language by learning Pinyin (which literally means spelled sounds). Pinyin was developed in the 1950s and is essentially the Chinese character spelled out using the English alphabet. This makes it easier, for example, to tell which road you’re on because you can see the “English” name along with the Chinese characters and also makes it quite a bit easier to learn the language. We won’t start learning Chinese characters until next semester. The thing that makes Chinese such a hard language for me isn’t the grammar, which is much simpler than English grammar (they don’t have verb conjugations!), but it’s the fact that Chinese is a tonal language. There are four main tones used in Chinese and each tone can indicate a different meaning. Let’s take the word mao (the ao is pronounced like ow). This word can either mean: cat, Mao as in Chairman Mao, a rivet or a hat depending on which tone you use! For a better explanation of what I’m trying to say, I really encourage you to listen to the video here. To my native-English ears I can barely hear a difference. Not to mention the letters are pronounced very differently than in English. Go to this site here which lists out the Chinese initials (consonants) and try to mimic these sounds. Specifically try the letters Z, C, S, R, Q, X. If you’re looking for more fun click on the “finals” link, which are like the Chinese vowels and give those a try as I find them a bit easier.
Despite all this I’ve managed to learn maybe 100 words over the past three weeks and can count to one hundred, granted I never know if I’m saying the words correctly. Today I told my Chinese friend how proud I was that over the weekend I asked the waiter at the restaurant for three to go containers – wo yao san da bao (unfortunately I am unable to show the tone markers for these words). But my friend immediately started laughing because little did I know the way I had pronounced it I had really asked the waiter for three hand creams -_-
Food

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Dumpling making at Yu Gardens. 

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Your dumpling dreams come true when they are big enough to drink. 

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Did I mention we love dumplings? The bowl in the back contains noodles and the dark squares are congealed duck blood. 

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Black sesame dumplings – very sweet. 

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A traditional Shanghai breakfast. Hot soybean milk with fried dough, greens of some sort and chili oil. 

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Quail egg and duck gizzard soup. 

They sell chicken feet like its candy. 

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Pucker up. 

Andrew’s Two Jiao (Cents)
I am proud to introduce this new section of the blog, Andrew’s Two Jiao! While all credit for the bulk of the writing and ideas has to go to Chelsea (thank you!) in this little section I will begin to contribute a condensed version of my random thoughts and observations.

Over the last three months of living in China I have gone out to eat more than I should admit but I have never had or even seen one fortune cookie. Where do fortune cookies come from? Why are they in America? Do other countries around the world have them too? Do Americans even like fortune cookies? I only ate mine so the fortune would come true. Until next time…

Oh, if you’ve ever wondered what the true meaning of teammates is we’ve found it:

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-Chelsea + Andrew

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