The excitement of seeing something shocking everyday is slowly dwindling. I can remember the first time, I saw at a distance of a woman vendor wearing yellow gloves cutting something crunchy into a dark bag using a large pair of metal scissors. As I got closer to her, I had to flinch away. She was cutting a frog’s leg while the frog was still alive, and the crunching noise is one that I will never forget. I remember thinking how inhumane it was. The frog was being slaughtered in broad daylight. There were two other netted bags in with about 20 frogs in each that would undoubtedly share the same fate. I pass by the vendor everyday, and I admit I am becoming desensitized to the frogs. I guess people have to eat too right?
This might sound kind of silly but when I first arrived in Shanghai, I was confused on how to cross the street. In China, there is an unspoken rule, generally, drivers have the right of the way. So a lot of times, drivers are free to drive through an intersection even if the pedestrians are crossing. I am amazed at how many people have not gotten hit by a car. Everyone here (drivers, moped drivers and pedestrians) have the intuition of when to go and when to stop,… except for me. I remember my first time crossing at an intersection in front of my hotel. I saw the light that flashed green with an image signaling that it is the pedestrian’s turn. I started walking, and cars were driving towards me as if I was not there. They were beeping at me as if I was a problem. I was halfway in the intersection when I ran back to the curb. I proceeded to wait for some other Chinese locals that were crossing the street. I sandwiched myself between them and walked closely with the crowd until I reached to the other side. Nowadays, I am jaywalking, and I have pretty much lost all my pedestrian etiquette that I have learned back from the states.
I live a very routine life these days. My weekdays consist of waking up early, do a daily devotion, take my dog on a walk, make breakfast (the usual, fruit and yogurt parfait alongside a glass of dripped coffee). While I am eating breakfast, I am actually trying to multitask as I am usually planning my day in my beloved turquoise planner. This is usually the time when I get the chance to talk to my family and boyfriend over voice or video calls. Afterwards, I will start doing my never-ending pile of grad homework. My favorite part is lunchtime. Usually when I make lunch, I also make a big heaping portions so I can ration it up for dinner and maybe one of the meals for the next day. Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of owning a dish washer, so my logic is build up a bunch of dishes first and then just clean it up all at once. it works for me.
Usually, the lunch process takes me about an hour to an hour half. It depends on if I am concentrated. If I am playing with my phone and doing other chores, I will most likely take longer. Once my counters are spiffy clean, then I sit back on my couch and type away my assignments. About 3 or 4, I have to start heading to work to teach into the night. Once I get off of work, I rush to the gym, to get a 30-45 minute workout, and then I rush home and pick up a few groceries on my way home, usually fruits, and usually a pomelo, which is a huge grapefruit in China. Fruit stalls are generally open really late. I get home and immediately feed the dog and take him on a night walk. Afterwards, my favorite thing is taking a nice hot shower, and eating a bowl of fresh cut fruit. Once I get back to my abode, I will most likley do a little bit more homework and go to sleep. Sometimes, I splurge and watch movies through my Amazon Prime account.
On Wednesday, I will go to my community group that I found through SCF, Shanghai Fellowship Church. It’s a dinner followed by a study afterwards. I’ve met a lot of other expats through the group. Last week I made a taco bar for my group. It was fun but it’ll be a while before I cook for that many people again in my small little kitchen. Part of the challenge was collecting Hispanic ingredients in Shanghai. I made refried beans using Chinese beans. It tasted good but they were definitely not pinto beans. I couldn’t manage to get a cab that night and I end up carrying my the food into the subway.
This morning, I had two of my friends Cecilia and Nicole come over my place for brunch/bible study. Cecilia, who has been my best friend here in Shanghai has helped me tremendously since I got here. She is also my co-worker, and is just about finishing the grad program that I am currently in now. Nicole the sweetest and brutally honest type of girl which I find quite refreshing. She had us rolling in laughter. Also, she brought over a bag of fresh bagels and cream cheese. The kicker was the walnut maple cream cheese, one that was worth salivating over. I haven’t had a bagel in ages, more like half a year. They came over early so all I had to do was roll out of bed and scramble the eggs and make coffee. I think that was a good trade-off.
Besides hanging out with some of the community group, sometimes I’ll meet up with my other classmates from my grad program. I try not to stay out too long because of my metro line closes at 10:20 and I try to avoid paying for cabs. Plus, I usually like to come home early to cuddle with my dog before I sleep.
My Saturday and Sundays are no longer associated as free days, as both of those days are the busiest. I work from 9am-6pm both days. Let me just state that I have a new respect for all teachers. It can be exhausting to talk all day, and manage a classroom. Luckily, most of my kids want to learn which makes my life a lot easier. My job seems to be less demanding than some of my other friends who are also teaching English. Plus, it pays the bills.
Thanks for reading all the way till the end of this post! This wasn’t an exciting one, but a post I have been wanting to write. When I am often asked what are you up too, I never know where to start, so here is a laundry list of my routines. It’s not that fascinating, just real life.
Thinking of you all,