Goodbye Shanghai!

After living for six weeks in one of the biggest cities in the world, I was ready to leave and move onto the next adventure (which for clarification was a trip to the Philippines, my homeland and a country I recommend to everyone to visit). From my trip to China, I was blessed with a good chunk of time without any major hitches such that I was able to begin to understand a country I never knew about, a country constantly placed against stereotypes and put under criticism.

In this fast-paced city, I’ve had to learn to do everything for myself. It’s not entirely independent living, but to live in an apartment, travel back and forth from an internship, and take care of all my daily needs all in a country where I’m nowhere near a fluent speaker, I’m quite proud of how I’ve handled it all. The independence I had here only fueled and increased my absorption and observations of China’s culture and history, an experience I wouldn’t have if I had been traveling with my family.

I’ve learned and observed a lot of the stark differences there are to living in an Asian metropolitan city compared to my American suburb. I’ll never forget the vastness of this city and how its able to accommodate and I would say mask the 25+ million people that live in it. The times  I became aware of the massive amount of people was when I’d ride the subway at rush hour or visit the Bund at night, it was those times that amazed me at just how big our world really is. By the end of my time here, I saw a lot of Shanghai, but there was a lot I didn’t get to see.

My trip to China reminded me just how much I love Asia and how much I love being Asian. I absolutely loved the food culture that was here. It was amazing how I was able to order so many dishes and share all of it with my friends, how easy it was to find a street food stall and order something tasty to satisfy my cravings, and how many options there were.

There are also so many small details and characteristics that I loved seeing in the people of China (but to be fair there are many things that I found a dislike to). I loved those times I would see people practice Buddhism on the subway, silently praying with their beads as the subway brought them to their stop. I loved going to Fuxing Park and seeing the number of quirky activities going on, especially the portion of the park where groups of elderly would come together to have debates and arguments. I loved the quality of service I got from so many workers and employees, there were so many times that the language barrier made things difficult and yet the Chinese didn’t get angry or upset with us, but instead found humor in it and gave patience to it.

China, just like any other country outside of the U.S, requires an open mind and a full presence to really grasp what life is like there. I valued every moment and every experience. I have to go back and I’ll have to keep going back to China and elsewhere too!

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