Tag Archives: Shanghai

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.
IMG_1584a

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.
IMG_9539

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.

mcdonalds delivery

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.

IMG_9044

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!
IMG_9738

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Things I Love, Travel

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Things I Love, Travel

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

IMG_8230
Ladies in the park doing their thing
IMG_6906
The historical staircase at my work
IMG_9498
Old roof tops that give Shanghai its charm
IMG_8740
Exploring one of the many areas being torn down for new development
IMG_8916
An amazing participatory art project I organized for work
IMG_8919
Roof top view
IMG_9776
Last night celebrating before taking off to tour Asia

1 Comment

Filed under Travel

Travel: Beautiful Yangshuo China

One of the greatest highlights of China was our trip to Yangshuo. I heard it was beautiful from friends and I checked out pictures online, but being there in person was an amazing breath of fresh air and the views are spectacular.

IMG_8467
If you’re thinking about going to China, Yangshuo should definitely be on your list. It’s a 2 hour flight from Shanghai and you need 3 or 4 days, no less. Here’s a bit of advice on how to navigate the area:

Fly into Guilin and take the ferry to Yangshuo (down the Li River). It’s a key highlight and takes about 4 hours. If you fly in at night, stay the night in Guilin and take the ferry the next morning.  The ferry only goes from Guilin to Yangshuo (not the reverse) so don’t miss it!

The town center of Yangshuo is kind of ugly, so you should stay in the country side. Two good places to stay are The Giggling Tree and Secret Garden. Both are very charming.

IMG_8485
This trip is all about making the most of your day outdoors, so I would pack workout clothes and good trainers. Get a map in advance – try printing online. We had a hard time finding a map…our B&B only had one so they couldn’t give it to us and we got a little lost.

Rent bikes and ride around the country side. Your hotel will tell you the route and you’ll see a lot of people on bikes. Take a bamboo boat ride along Yulong river – you’ll come across this on your bike ride. Splendid!

IMG_8480

IMG_8488
The next day, take a local bus to Xingping (takes about 45 minutes). Walk around Old Street, hike up Laozhai hill, visit the fishing village (by boat or hike), or hike around the Li River. There’s a really good restaurant on Old Street called Warm Cafe – definitely worth it.

IMG_8462
Back in Yangshuo, if you’re into something different, there’s a live show called Impression SanjieLiu that takes place every night along the Li River. You have to buy tickets in advance and it’s great! It was kind of like watching an Olympic opening ceremonies.

Another friend suggested visiting the rice terraces in Longli but it’s 3 hours outside from Guilin (the other direction of Yangshuo), so you would need more time. It’s a day trip. We were there for 3 days and didn’t have time. This is where the fourth day would have been nice.

Overall the trip to Yangshuo gave me a whole new appreciation for China. I was so impressed with the vistas and the overall look and feel was unmatched by other experiences. Definitely worth the trek.

IMG_8455

IMG_8282

1 Comment

Filed under Places To Go, Travel

Health. It Really Matters

Does my title sound like a Public Service Announcement? Or better yet, the name of your grade 6 health class text book? I’ve been in hiding lately and that’s because I’ve been sick on and off since Christmas…and doing nothing fun. Not entirely true, I have done a few fun things, but my health was in the gutter so it’s been a rocky road.

It started with getting knocked out at Christmas after flying back to Toronto from Shanghai. It may have been a combination of jet lag and my body being out of sync with the environment – different food, water, climate, all that stuff. I spent two days in bed. I flew back to Shanghai and suffered from extreme jet lag again. A fourteen hour flight and thirteen hour time difference is no easy feat.
Then my stomach and chest and throat started turning on me and I ended up with a case of pneumonia, which was a result of the poor air conditions in Shanghai. I spent 12 days doing nothing but staring at my ceiling, coughing, playing candy crush, coughing, and spending hours on Pinterest. I couldn’t do anything productive, it made me so moosh and lazy.

More stuff happened, including a shoulder injury and being attacked by sand flies while on vacation (more on that later), and I was beginning to think someone cursed me with The Malocchia (Italian for the evil eye, full description here).

ImageA few things I learned through this dark zone:

1) Even if you do things right, sometimes things still go wrong. This is a sad but true statement. Before getting sick I was eating healthy, working out, getting lots of sleep, drinking lots of water, and stress was minimal. But I still got sick! I didn’t understand how all these things could go wrong, out of no where. But sometimes, they just do.

2) If you feel like things are at their worst – things could always be worse. I was complaining about being dumped on, but then I would think of a situation that could be worse, and that put things into perspective for me. Saying “things could be worse” has become a good tactic.

3) If you find yourself worrying and getting paranoid, just stop. I really worked myself up at times, but I had to stop and remember that there are low times and there are good times. Always think about the light at the end of the tunnel.

4) Friends and family are my saviours. I spent hours texting, emailing, and on the phone with family and friends who gave me words of encouragement, advice, and checked in on me daily to see how I was doing. These notes meant so much and I was extremely thankful for everyone’s care….especially my man for taking care of me and putting up with my grumpiness.

The good news is I’m starting to feel like a human being again. It’s true that your health is the most important thing before anything else. It doesn’t mean I’m in the clear (see point #1), but I do know that I have never appreciated feeling healthy more than I do now.

20140219-000318.jpg

3 Comments

Filed under Random

Life In Shanghai

Well hello there. I’ve been in Shanghai for just over a month now and I can tell you that time is flying. It took a couple of weeks to ease into the culture shock, and day by day I’ve been adjusting and discovering new things. 

I absolutely love our neighbourhood. The French Concession is an amazing part of town with so many cool places to discover. I can keep myself busy just within a four block radius.

The city is always and forever buzzing, literally. Cars honk their horns non-stop from 6:30 am till about 9 pm, and even through the night you hear the odd beep. I can’t count to three without hearing a beeeeeeeep. They really lay it on with their beeps.

Something I didn’t know and have had a hard time adjusting to – the internet is junk. Hence my delay in posting. There are a lot of blocked sites, delays, and technical issues. I have to say it’s my number one frustration, because how can you function without fast internet in 2013? Patience is the name of the game.

Before my screen freezes, here are a few pics to share:

View from our apartment on a sunny day

ImageMy New Bike
ImageOld vs. New

ImageGreen space does exist!

ImageA little bit of home on my head before hitting the streets

Image

1 Comment

Filed under Style

From One Adventure To The Next

I had a busy and exciting year that went by in a blink. Hence my absence from the blog world. I was busy working on the PR team for Holt Renfrew. I worked on a lot of amazing projects and met a lot of awesome people…from stylish and sassy co-workers to world-class designers and even a few celebs. Being in the presence of Elton John, Domenico Dolce, and Christian Louboutin were cool experiences, but I especially loved meeting Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere, Oscar PR girl, the Dannijo girls, and the guys of Rag & Bone. All of them are incredible examples of success with a genuine, funny, and down to earth vibe. I quite admire that.

A few pics…
HR CollageStella McCartneyStella McCartney dress I swooned over all spring season

So, the year has come to an end, and I’m embarking on my next adventure – which involves a BIG move to Asia! In just a few days, I’ll be moving to Shanghai for the year. Even after all the mental preparing and goodbye parties, it still doesn’t seem real.  I suppose once I’m actually there, it will hit me. The look on my face will be “what just happened / why am I here?” But in this moment, I’m pretty darn excited. I’ll be meeting my bf who has been living there for the past 2 months. I’ll be blogging about my adventures, doing a bit of travelling, and I’ll be on the job hunt. I also plan on taking Mandarin classes. That will be a crazy challenge, but I’m going to try.

IMG_2257I was fortunate to visit Shanghai for a few days (yes, we went all the way there for a few days) in June to check it out before making a decision about the move. I must say I was quite impressed. It wasn’t like anything I pictured. My favourite neighbourhood is the French Concession, which is where we’ll be living. It has a European vibe with beautiful tree-lined streets, and countless exquisite boutiques from local fashion designers. There are a ton of chic restaurants and cocktail bars, and it’s not crowded like other areas. My first impression of Shanghai was that it’s a ‘cool city,’ and bf has reported that it is indeed. Here are a few shots…

IMG_2266Pretty buildings reminded me of Europe

IMG_2264Delicious lunch at Crystal Jade
Shanghai shopsA couple of awesome boutiques
IMG_2265Cocktails at Lost Heaven in The Bund
IMG_2272Designer Nicole Zhang’s FW13 fashion presentation

IMG_2273Commenting on the collection. I loved it!
IMG_2236Playing dress up at Nicole’s studio. Wanted everything.
IMG_2275In deep thought along The Bund

32 Comments

Filed under Places To Go, Style