I'm onto week three here in China! I really have no grasp of time anymore. On one hand it feels like I've just come into the city, since there is so much I need to learn and explore, and on the other hand I feel like my arrival into Shanghai was months ago.
I finally made it to IKEA to get some essential items, as well as things to personalize my apartment. Taking a taxi back to my apartment from IKEA was quite hilarious. My new friend, Sarah, came along on the adventure with me. We both had many large IKEA bags filled with goodies, and I had a giant canvas to carry. I'm sure it was humorous for locals to see two white girls riding the struggle bus.
Yesterday, I ventured out into the city more than I have since I've been here. I took the Metro all around Shanghai. Stopping by the fabric market was really exciting! There are rows of vendors asking to make things for you. I'm already planning on having a few dresses made at an incredibly reasonable price. Next, I stopped and got a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich and the most delicious cinnamon roll I've ever had in my life. Minutes after devouring my roll, I stumbled upon a mall with about a million levels. We definitely don't have malls in the States like they have here in Shanghai.
I am hoping that with a few more Metro trips, I'll feel more confident in traveling around the city. One of my favorite things about the city is how quickly people move. I tend to walk pretty swiftly, so I feel like I fit right in with the pacing here. Walking around the city by myself is something I'm still not comfortable with just yet. Google Maps isn't always that accurate, so you kind of just hope that you're going the right way.
Oh! I absolutely have to mention one of the best parts about living in Shanghai. You can have virtually anything you want delivered right to your door with a minimal fee. There's a website where you can order takeout online from various restaurants in the city, and then a delivery guy on a scooter picks up your food (and beer, or wine, or tequila) and brings it to your place. So. Freaking. Cool.
I also have gotten pretty overwhelmed in grocery stores here in the city. Luckily, I can have groceries delivered to my door, too! I just go online and add things to my virtual shopping cart, select a date and time that I want my groceries delivered to my apartment, and voila! I have groceries waiting for me when I get home from work. Pretty groovy, huh?
Ah, yes. I'm living on easy street. My apartment has some features that totally blow my mind as well. There's a heated toilet seat. There's also a heater on my bathroom ceiling that I can turn on, so when I get out of the shower, I'm not freezing. Genius! My washer and dryer are like a two-in-one kind of deal. I don't know exactly how it works with just one machine, but it does. When a delivery person comes to my building and they need to be let in, they use an electronic panel outside to ring my apartment. I can see a video of them on a little screen, and then I hit a button to unlock the building door for them.
Paying for things is kind of tricky here in Shanghai, and I'm still getting used to it. It seems you always have to be prepared with both cash and payment via apps. Using bank cards is not a big thing here. A lot of places don't even accept cards. Setting up an account on some phone apps is tricky, since some are almost entirely in Mandarin. However, once you have them set up, all you have to do is scan a QR code and put in your password (pin number) to pay. It's SO fast!
This weekend, I celebrated my 28th birthday! I was lucky enough to have an awesome dinner with Mexican food, tequila, and old and new friends on my birthday evening. The next night, I invited the cast over to my apartment for a chill night of Cards Against Humanity. I'm so thankful that I got to celebrate with new and old friends. I have social anxiety sometimes, so I'm encouraging myself to be a little more brave. I have faith that this year in Shanghai will do wonders for me.
I think I've pretty much covered the important and interesting things that I want to share with all of you. I can't divulge much about work, since the park isn't open yet, but I will say that I am very excited for the world to see what so many people have put their heart and soul into for many years now. Every single day, I'm more and more thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
Until next time...