Monthly Archives: December 2014

Things I Miss About Shanghai

I haven’t been away from Shanghai for that long but it feels as though I didn’t live there for a year. Kind of like when you return from a trip and the next day it feels like a dream. As I reflect on the fastest year of my life, these are the things I’ll miss the most.

Cheap Taxis
I would take a taxi to work for no joke $2.85. I lived in the French Concession and worked in The Bund area, all the way across town, usually sitting in traffic, and it never failed – it was only a few dollars. Talk about great value!

The Fabric Market
Since I was little, I always wanted my clothes made. I would imagine bringing a picture of a designer coat to someone who would measure me and make it happen for a fraction of the cost. My dream came true at the South Bund Fabric Market. I benefited from living in Shanghai and having access to it year round, because it’s actually hit or miss. Sometimes they make it bang on, and other times your item has to be re-worked. Sometimes you can barter a good price and other times they won’t budge. It takes practice. I got practice and great clothes.
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Real Chinese Food
We all know that the Chinese takeout we get in Canada is NOT real Chinese food. I don’t get it! Why don’t they stay true to their food? It was a learning curve discovering the different types of Chinese food. The variety is huge and I will miss the dumplings the most – more specifically xiaolongbao. The most delicious little soup filled dumplings. I’m on a mission to find good ones in Toronto, although I’ve been told I have to go to Markham for the good stuff.
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Door-to-Door Delivery
You can get anything delivered to your door in Shanghai – groceries were a big one for me…and McDonald’s blizzards! They would actually deliver one blizzard. The sites were user friendly, affordable, and offered free delivery. I will miss it dearly because grocery shopping is one of my least favourite chores.

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Seniors in the Park
I loved seeing old people dancing in the park and doing all sorts of activities like singing, playing checkers, tai chi, basketball, walking their dressed up dogs, eating, everything happens in the park. It was a spectacle every morning and evening, and especially on weekends.

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KTV
You’ll see KTV signs everywhere in Asia and that means karaoke! It’s not like the karaoke we’re used to in the Western world where you sing in front of the whole bar. No. Not this. KTV takes place in a building with hundreds of private rooms. You need to make a reservation and when you show up, it’s like checking into the front desk at a hotel. They bring you to your room where you can sing your heart out until 7 am. They serve drinks and food and there’s a disco ball. So much fun!
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Shanghai Moments

Some great moments to share….

IMG_7991I walked into a convenience store and saw a baby in a box. Need I say more? I love Asian babies so much. They are so cute with the chubbiest cheeks. And usually well behaved.
IMG_4705The mall that looked like a spaceship right near my apartment. Best mall ever. I’m not a mall person but in Shanghai I loved everything about this mall. The best restaurants, roof top terraces, beautiful design, clean air, gorgeous stores. IAPM mall is something to remember.
IMG_8188Becoming friends with local fashion designer Nicole Zhang and going to her amazing shows. She’s super talented has the coolest style. She’s been featured in Vogue China.

IMG_8187Getting snapped by street style photographer Roy on the Street with my British friend Selena who was an editor for Time Out Shanghai.
Screen shot 2014-12-18 at 4.49.24 PMNo joke, you see people on bicycles carrying EVERYTHING and ANYTHING, like foam boxes, cardboard boxes, random metal equipment. I once saw a giant dead pig on the back of a motorbike, but I wasn’t fast enough with my camera.IMG_9197Delicious street food, especially this one – a type of bread served piping hot.

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Back in Canada

I left wild China and I’m back in glorious Canada. As an open minded, curious, and travel savvy person, living in Shanghai was nothing short of adventurous with ups and downs. It opened my eyes to a world I really didn’t know much about. I learned so much about different cultures, expat life, the working world in China, the digital world, the shopping world, and a lot more that I could tell you about over tea one day.

China is a hard place to adapt to, but my experiences will stay with me forever. I gained true life and work experience and I learned to tap into patience in times of chaos. The best part was that I got to see a lot of Asia including Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines. I look back on my pictures and I still can’t believe I saw all of that.

It’s difficult to describe everyday life to friends and family. I’ve shared some stories, but nothing could truly capture the daily things I saw, unless I had a video camera glued to my forehead. I should have tried that.

Seeing a family of three zip by on a motorbike is a daily sight I’ll definitely miss. Not to mention indulging in the local food stalls. Chinese food will never be the same.

Even though you were crazy Shanghai, I’ll always hold a special place for you in my heart.

IMG_9365Quite possibly the hottest day of my life. There are no words.IMG_9554The side car tour of Shanghai is an interesting and really fun way to see the city

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Ladies in the park doing their thing
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The historical staircase at my work
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Old roof tops that give Shanghai its charm
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Exploring one of the many areas being torn down for new development
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An amazing participatory art project I organized for work
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Roof top view
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Last night celebrating before taking off to tour Asia

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