Day 127: We’re Moving!!! 2/18/2016

Wally

To a new school that is. Ever since I got here I have been told that we’ll be moving to a new and updated school and the time has finally arrived. I was able to tour the facilities and I’m very impressed by it. I actually feel like I’m working for a big company and not some BS mom and pop run tutoring center. I’ll be sure to add pictures of the new place for reference in the coming posts.

Also we found out that we’ll be having a new teacher come in tomorrow. All I know is that her name is Cassandra Welch. I’m going to assume she’s white. Either way it’ll be nice to have someone new in the office.

Sydney

Today was pretty boring for me. I made more leis for work and ran out of yarn so I could not do as many as we needed. My classes were fine. The dumpling lady was still not back today and I am so sad. Never have I wanted something so badly (food wise) and not been able to satisfy a craving. I am so excited for her to come back. Fingers crossed tomorrow. Wally and I talked more about our trips and we will be finalizing Vietnam tomorrow. The weather was beautiful again and the air quality was amazing.

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Day 126: Nice Day to Walk 2/17/16

Wally

We spent the day just walking around the city and enjoying the weather. We did come across an area in which dragon dancers were getting set up. I asked around to see what time they’ll start and someone told me 3. So sweet we had a few hours to kill before it so we went and saw the Shanghai Exhibition Center. It is one of the final vestiges of the Russian influences in China. The architecture was amazing and it was just pretty cool to see. It got me thinking that it’s nice to live in a city with so much history and culture that spans thousands of years. We still had some time before the performance and wanted to check the prices of the tickets at the aquarium here, it’s supposed to be one of the best in the world. We went ahead and did that and went back to the performance spot. However, upon arrival it looked like they were packing up… I KNOW I DIDN’T MISPRONOUNCE MY SHIT! I KNOW THEY UNDERSTOOD WHAT I HAD TO SAY! I KNOW MY CHINESE IS FUCKING GOOD ENOUGH TO ASK FOR WHEN THE FUCKING DRAGONS ARE GOING TO DANCE WHY THE FUCK DID YOU TELL ME THE TIME IT ENDS!!!!

So we didn’t see the dragons dance…

Sydney

The Shanghai Exhibition Center was nice. Wally and I only took pics from the outside but it was beautiful and you can really see the Russian influence. We walked around a lot and Wally was really sad he missed the dragon dancers. We went to Charlie’s since it is a restaurant to try and I had a chili cheese dog, fries, and a chocolate shake. Wally had a burger, sichan fries and an cookies and cream shake. THe food was decent and we walked around then headed home.

I found out that my debit card had been compromised so I have to deal with that, which is a bitch. Luckily my mom will be out in a month and will be able to bring me my new cards. 🙂

Day 125: MOCA 2/16/2016

Wally

What a day…

We went and checked out the MOCA, Museum of Contemporary Art). They had a “floating heads” exhibit in which this artist painted hyper realistic portraits of the famous and the common. They were so realistic it wasn’t until about halfway through the exhibit that I realized that they were all paintings.

Following the exhibit we went to the cheap market to shop for a friends birthday present. I let Sydney work her magic early on and she got a killer deal with one of the stalls after that she had so much momentum on her side I couldn’t stop the deals even if I tried. I stopped and looked at a nice wind breaker because the one I currently have is not only old, but also way too big on me now. The woman wanted 680 RMB which is roughly 110 USD. I just kind of laughed and pointed to Syd. She’s the one you gotta get through if you want to make any money. I watch as they negotiate back and forth. The shopkeeper kept trying to reason with me, but everytime she did I simply pointed back at Syd. Paid about 20 USD for a North Face jacket. Thanks Syd!

For our one meal of the day yesterday we went to Ashley’s. It’s supposed to be a western style buffet, but it was mostly korean food and some western stuff. All in all it was great and we stuffed ourselves enough to satisfy our three meals of the day. We walked around to keep us out of a food coma and met up with Katie at the Beer Grdn. It was a nice enough place with moderately priced drinks, but they were on the weaker side and if I’m saying that then they were WEAK! Afterwards we went to a highly rated speakeasy called Light and Salt. It was definitely a swanky establishment and pricey even by western standards. The bartender was cool a guy from Toronto and we just chatted him up for a while. Fun anecdote he told us about his travels was about the time he and his buddy rode bikes to Angkor Wat and played chess with action figures on top of one of the temples as the sun set. It’s pretty cool meeting all these worldly people out here.

As if we hadn’t had a long enough day we went with Katie to a club called Fusion. It was a pretty nice club, but it just felt off. So clubbing in Shanghai is very different than back home.

  1. The promoters for the clubs here will get you in for free and get you free drinks as long as you’re a westerner. I believe this gives the clubs a certain amount of credibility if they’re able to fill it with white people. However, the drinks they give for free are extremely watered down and the quality is crap.
  2. Local Asians that go to the clubs just sit at their booths and drink. They’re not playing drinking games or having a rambunctious time. Instead they’re sitting there sipping on their cocktails, eating fruit off their platter and playing on their phones looking like they’re too good for this shit.
  3. The westerners they do get into the club are mostly college students on exchange programs. Now this is where I’m going to sound like an old man, but goddam have some amount of self respect when you go out.
    1. None of these teeny boppers are dressed up in proper club attire. Legitimately there are bars in DTF that wouldn’t allow some of these kids in.
    2. They’re pounding away the vodka water like there’s no tomorrow. Worst than Popva.
    3. Finally, the novelty of smoking pretty much everywhere was being abused worst than what Chris did to Rihanna.

Sydney

Time to start our Saturday! Wally slept in and I got ready for the day. I surprised him when he woke up and called my name and I turned around and was dressed and had my make-up on. He got ready, we grabbed a coffee and headed to the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art in People’s Square Park). The museum was pretty pricey and when we left it was a little disappointing since it was so small but we had a good time. The exhibit was a bunch of oil paintings. The pictures are below. Wally and I only have about 4 more items in my book to see and we would have officially seen everything in the Shanghai section of my book. We decided that when we get home we would like to get a California one and try and do stuff at home that we have never done. I have explored more of Shanghai then I have of LA. When we left I went to get our friend Katie’s birthday gift. I got an amazing deal and ended up getting myself a YvesSaintLaurent clutch.

Cheap market exchange:

Wally needs a new jacket since he has lost so much weight and his big orange jacket is 15 years old and he is now swimming in it. He sees a North Face wind breaker, black not orange like he has, and he likes it.

Wally – Babe I like this one. It fits really well.

Me – ya it is nice I am fine with it.

Clerk – ok, good quality I give you good deal. (looks at wally with the calculator) 680RMB

Wally – No, talk to her.

Clerk – ok boss lady 680.

Me – No way, 100

Clerk – I will make no money 650

Me – 100

*This goes on for 5 minutes and she says 400 about 3 times. I am done so Wally and I walk away.

Clerk – Boss lady, how much .Best price? 380

Me – 110

Clerk – Come on best price 200

Me – 130

Clerk – 150

Me – 140

Clerk – Fine.

*here is the thing, don’t be a dick and I won’t low ball the shit out of you so much. Be a dick and I will win this war. You want my money but your store is a dime a dozen and I can walk away. End of story Wally got a nice jacket and I was able to haggle like a fucking champ, like I do.

The walk was nice and we headed home to drop our stuff off. Oh, we also have been collecting Starbucks cups of the cities we are going to and we found a store that sells them for cheaper so we picked up Hong Kong and Beijing. Now all we need is Shanghai (of the style we are getting), Xi’an, and Nanjing. I bought a change purse since they always give 1 dollar coins back and the little bag is a piece of a dragon fruit! So cute.

After we dropped everything off we took a taxi and went to Ashley’s for the afternoon tea. We ended up getting the lunch instead since there was still time and we will do the tea for my birthday. The food was amazing and the view was incredible. It was a perfect lunch date. The air quality was great, the weather was nice, and it was just fabulous. We decided to walk around and walk off our lunch. The mall was pretty empty so we headed out and walked the Luijiazui roundabout.

After we headed to the beergrdn to meet Katie for her birthday and all of us had a 50RMB coupon. This place was so cute and the drinks were delicious. Katie loved her gift and we all sat and chatted for awhile. Katie had to leave for a dinner with work people and Wally and I were heading to another lounge.

We stopped in Dunkin Donuts so I could run to the bathroom and he got a coffee. The place we were going was on a list Ralphie sent me of places to check out in Shanghai. It is called Light & Salt. It is a speakeasy in a library. The place was so posh and classy. Ridiculously over priced!!! We did have a couple of drinks and Katie met back up with us and we bought her a birthday drink. I had a couple dirty shirleys, naturally. Wally had a mah jong and he could not finish it but I thought it was tasty. Katie told us that some of her friends were going to Fusion (nightclub), so she invited us and we headed out. We were not dressed at all for this place but we got invited last minute and Katie was in converse and a sweater so I did not feel to bad. This place felt like Vegas for beginners. It was cool on the outside but the people around us were so irritating. We danced for awhile had some free drinks and hung out. Wally and I are pretty sad that we missed Nicky Romero, R3hab, and Galantis so I signed up for the email and will hopefully come back to see a dj we like.

Also, before we went into the club we walked around the French Concession for a little bit and had some Godiva chocolates. We ended up leaving the club and Katie left about 10 minutes after us. It was a great night and such a fun day. Next Tuesday is Tiesto!!!!  EEEEE so excite. We came home and went straight to bed.

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Day 124: Monday’s…. 2/15/2016

Wally

Back at that grind again… Whatever…

Sydney

Wally and I grabbed some breakfast, relaxed and talked. When we got home we Skyped my dad and tried to formalize a plan to see him. We are hoping to meet in Paris or Monoco and I really hope it happens! That would be amazing. Wally and I made a more concrete plan for our travels. I am excited for next week to book everything and have exact dates. We chilled until Wally had to leave for work. I walked with him so I could get my daily walk in. it’s starting to get sunnier during the day but so windy!! The air is clear so I don;t care that it’s windy. I took a nap but the apartment was freezing so I did not sleep to long. I got scheduled for a class that I have not been trained on so I messaged my team lead and he took it off my schedule. My classes were pretty easy today and not to much to report there. Wally came home and we headed to bed. Also we did a new workout from our videos and my back and triceps are killing me. Damn it was a good workout.

Day 123: Valentine’s Day 2/14/2016

Wally

I had another full day of “work”. I finished Better Call Saul and I watched What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Yeah I had a cheery day… Ummm I died of boredom at one point. I’m sitting there and my head just slams onto the desk just so I could feel SOMETHING! Ugh!!!! This is the last weekend of absolutely nothing so I suppose I should have enjoyed it while it lasted.

I also made Syd a Valentine’s Day card. I’m sure she’ll add an image of it below.

情人节快乐 (Qíngrén jié kuàilè)

Sydney

Lazy day for me. I did the chores around the house since our ayi is still gone for CNY. I watched some shows and was just lazy until my classes started. Wally brought me home an adorable card!! He put the lyrics to “you and I” in it. Best husband. We worked out and had some dinner. It was snowing and sleeting today so I stayed bundled up at home.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone reading this! I love you all and hope you had a great day.

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Day 122: Valentine’s Date 2/13/2016

Wally

So I enjoyed a day at work doing absolutely nothing. Wait that’s a lie. I had a life club where another teacher and myself got to teach ONE student. Why did you assign two teachers to teach ONE student?!?!?! Whatever….

I watched “Dawn Patrol” because Sydney wanted me to watch to help clarify parts of it and have a discussion about it…. It stars Scott Eastwood and a cast of unknowns… Scott Eastwood owes me an hour and a half of my life back…. I downloaded the Super bowl and enjoyed that, commercials and all. I’ve also started to watch “Better Call Saul” and it’s just as captivating as “Breaking Bad”.

After work I realized that this is our first Valentine’s as a married couple. It’s also our first Valentine’s out of the country, but unfortunately because we’re saving up for traveling and experiences we decided not to hit up the town. But regardless of the money I still felt my wife deserved to have some semblance of a Valentine’s day. I stopped by the local flower shop and picked up some beautiful roses that were spray painted purple and covered with purple glitter. I came home to surprise Sydney with them and she was very taken aback. As for dinner we kept it classy and ordered Dominos.

I married a keeper.

Also side note, Valentine’s day in China is effing expensive because it’s a western holiday. The romantic restaurants are 300 USD and flowers that are normal 5 RMB get jacked up to 30 RMB. Another slightly random thing I want to bring up is the local flower shop. The woman that owns it not only runs a business out of her shop, but she also lives in it as well. The flower shop itself is very modest to say the least. It pretty much only allows for two people in there at a time and the room she does have is insignificant, image below. It’s just crazy to think that there are millions of people throughout China that live this lifestyle and even then the quality of life that these people experience is still far greater than the majority of this country. Like in “Better Call Saul” by American standards he’s seen as someone in a low point in their life because he’s living out of his office, but in China that’s the norm.

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Sydney

Wally and I got up and had breakfast together and headed into the office. I got to work and found out all my morning classes had been cancelled and I did not have class until 4pm and it was 9am. I am on a Broadway kick right now on Pandora and I spent almost an hour making a station of all my favorite musicals and soundtracks. It was fun. I could not go home because I would have had to come back for my meetings later in the afternoon. I Skyped my mom and she decided that she wanted to try all the weird chip flavors so I will be picking them up for her before she gets out here. Jennifer and I chatted at work and are trying to figure out a night to go out together because we get along and she likes to RAGE DRINK! Not just sip cocktails like girls in the office. I like her. We had some pretty boring meetings but it was fine. Steve got a little creepy today but nothing I can’t handle. (As I am reading this to Wally he is saying “Fuck Steve” in the background). Jen and I had some lunch and I got ready to teach my first class. Well it was a no show and she was done for the day but said she wanted to walk together so she waited until my 2nd class of the day was over. The temp dropped significantly today it was about 70 when I left this morning and when we were walking to the train station it was so windy and it was 39 and sprinkling when  I was heading home. I got home and cleaned up the apartment so Wally and I could do our workout. When he came home we decided to order food and Domino’s is cheap since my dumpling lady is not back yet and that is what I really want. Fingers crossed next week she will be back and I can have my peanut sauce dumplings. I was not a fan the first time I had them because they were from a shop by work that some coworkers took me. The dumplings from my lady are amazing and so much better. Wally brought me the most beautiful painted roses. I was so shocked and felt so loved. Also, my Snapchat started working and Astrill is working perfectly finally!!!!!!! Dinner was fun and our workout was great. All in all a great night. I have to work late tomorrow that is why we are celebrating tonight and next Tuesday.

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Day 121: Wally’s back to “work” 2/12/2016

Wally

Syd woke me up with breakfast in bed. It was very sweet of her and made me feel loved. I had to go into “work” today and I was dreading it up until I left.

This is what work was like today.

1:30-2:30 Download shows, movies and music

2:30-6:00 Watch netflix and youtube, play on my cellphone, read interesting articles and keep my sanity

Literally no one had classes. Guess what? I get to do a full 8 hours of the same thing tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

One cool thing about China is that I can use the work computer to download all my shows, movies and music. As I’m typing this I have Super Bowl 50 downloading, complete with commercials. At least I’ll have something to watch tomorrow.

Sydney

Wally was being a sleepy head so I surprised him with breakfast in bed. Now this is not like home where you can have pancakes, bacon, etc; he got oatmeal, eggs, and fruit. It was still pretty tasty. Today was pretty lazy until Wally had to leave for work. I kept watching Scooby Doo on Netflix and chilled until I had my 4 classes of the day. I managed to finish the yarn leis that I have to make for work to earn my “extra hours”. SO LAME!! The leis are pretty cute though and a fun project. Did some chores and will have to go back into the office tomorrow which I am not too happy about but I have not been in for about 2 weeks so it is time to show my face haha. I had the delicious cumin lamb flavored chips for dinner since I was not that hungry. I do have to say that I will miss the dumpling lady and these chips when we leave. 1 month and 6 days until my mom comes out and we have another vacation! So excite!! Also, Wally is getting skinnier by the day, every time I wake up I feel like he has lost more weight! It is so crazy.

Some things about China that we have not mentioned:

-Our apartment always has condensation on the walls since even the walls are tile. Everything is always kind of wet.

-For some reason, different times during the day the apartment will smell like rotten eggs or dead fish. I will go around and spray my perfume to try and get rid of the smell. It never seems to work. We will leave in the morning and the place will smell fine then come home and it stinks. We first thought it was the trash but nope!!! All the trashes were empty and nothing was in the sink. People at work have told me that it is just China and it happens.

-One of our burners constantly goes out for no reason. You will be cooking and the flame will disappear.

PS I want to give a shout out to Princess Kylina! I hope you are feeling better and Wally and I are sending lots of love and get well wishes.

Day 120: Back to work for Syd 2/11/2016

Wally

Syd had work and I didn’t, but everything is still pretty much closed so I didn’t bother to venture into Shanghai by myself. All in all it was an easy going day. We watched a lot of netflix and I laid around a lot. It’s been a nice little break from work.

Sydney

Another pretty lazy day but I did have to go back to work. I worked from home though so it was fine. Skyped my mom and bought our train tickets to come home from Beijing. We will be taking the train at 2pm so we can see the Forbidden City. We were able to cancel our plane tickets even though CTrip only refunds about 20%. Whatever now we will be able to see more on Monday in Beijing. Unfortunately we are still having internet problems.it just cuts in and out but at least we have something. My classes were pretty boring. I did have one student named Gleam and he was pretty funny. We also skyped with Bianca and it was great to say hey! I do not envy her work schedule 55 hours this week. Tax season is upon her. Sending her lots of love. When I had a break from my classes Wally and I walked back to the Super Brand Mall to try and find him some pants that fit but he is in the awkward in between sizes. At least now he has 1 shirt that fits him nicely and we will slowly buy new clothes. The dumpling house is still closed and only a handful of places are open. It is still pretty dead. Snapchat still isn’t working on my phone which sucks but whatever. Oh, the weather today was rainy and humid and I felt like I was in Hawaii it was so weird. It was a drastic change from what it has been but it really made me miss Hawaii. We pretty much chilled the rest of the night.

Side note – Has anyone ever seen the MAC store empty at the Brea Mall when the mall is packed? Well when we were at Super Brand and the entire mall was packed with people MAC and Sephora was completely empty but the workers. It was so strange because usually they are packed back home. Also, Wally and I went into Sephora to try perfumes and colognes and this worker was standing about 2 feet from us the whole time and followed us around the store! I tried to take a picture of the perfume so I would remember the name and he yelled no pictures. We are just walking up and down the aisles and he is right behind us.

Day 119: Dim Sum! 2/10/2016

Wally

We tried out this dim sum place near the subway. Ever since we got here we’d walk by it and wonder if it was any good. Funny enough the dim sum back home is better than the stuff we got today. I wouldn’t say that it was bad or anything, but it just wasn’t the same. Overall I’d say it was just meh…

We were determined not to let ourselves fall into the dim sum food coma, so we went for a walk. We walked down to Lujia Zui and visited the Disney Store and the Super Brand Mall. With all these out of towners this place was PACKED! There was even a line just to get into the Disney Store. What was cool though was when we got out they had built this massive clock tower. It was top of the hour and a little Disney Magic occurred. They had a fun assortment of Disney Characters from the classic to the new come out of the clock tower and dance to music. It’s pretty amazing that Disney is able to make you feel like a kid again even if it is for a moment. It made Syd and I more excited to go to Hong Kong Disney in April.

The mall wasn’t that bad today. We walked up and down the place and just kind of poked around stores. Everything here is designer. Dior, Prada, Chanel, D&G, LV, BVLGARI, Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Armani….. and that’s just all on one floor… People ask us what it’s like to live in communist China. I honestly don’t know. The consumerism here is so crazy that you really do forget you’re living in a communist society.

We walked back home and we walked past the base of the bottle opener and decided to stop there for a cup of coffee. I just thought it would be cool to say that we had coffee at such an iconic building. Sydney really is rubbing off on me cause she’s always pointing out to me these iconic locations/buildings in movies and said I was there.

Also here is the video from the neighborhood on CNY that I forgot to post a couple of days ago.

Sydney

Dim Sum for breakfast!!!! I think I liked it more then Wally. The only thing I was sad about is they were out of mango so I was not able to get my mango kiwi smoothie but all in all it was not bad. I do not have any complaints.

After we decided to go on a walk. I wanted to try and find the easiest way to get to the Pudong side of the bund and we did!! Thank goodness. We walked around and like Wally said there were so many people in that area of town. Luckily, most will be gone for Chinese New Year but we realized that a lot of people’s trips fall on weekends and we have never been out on a weekend. I am curious to see how busy the tourist spots are on a Saturday or Sunday. Explored the mall and we realized we could live here for years and still not know everything about the IFC or Super Brand Mall because of the shear size of them. The Brea Mall you are in an out in a heartbeat.  In either of these malls it takes 20-25 minutes just to walk end to end. It was fun and we checked out the newest addition to the Disney Store. The lines for the Peal Tower and the Observatory were insane! Some wrapped around and went outside. Just insane hoards of people.

The walk back was nice and we stopped to have a coffee at Starbucks at the base of the bottle opener. I said Happy New Year in Chinese to the barista and she smiled said it back and wrote Happy New Year Miss 🙂 on my cup. It was so cute!!! The walk back was nice. The weather was amazing today!! Perfectly blue sky, no smog, and 70. Not a bad day to be in Shanghai. We came back home and relaxed.

We hit the grocery store a little later and I got my favorite Cumin Lamb Flavored Lays for dinner. A very satisfying dinner of chips and a coke. I totally forgot I had my pineapple beer, whatever I will drink it tomorrow.

Also, when we were walking home I said Happy New Year to this old man and he was so shocked and taken aback because of how perfect I said it. he laughed and said it back to me.

Today is the last day for me for vacation. I am a little sad but Wally and I had a great Spring Festival.

Xīnnián kuàilè – Happy New Year

 

Day 118: LAAAAAAAZY DAY 2/9/2016

Wally

So we’ve got a VPN going on my laptop. One of the teachers suggested we install another one that has a 30 day money back guarantee till ours is up and running again. So I spent most of the day in bed binge watching Rules of Engagement with Sydney. Sydney spent most of her time planning our trips.

I’m a lazy sack of shit…

Sydney

So lazy today just watching shows. I also talked to my dad, mom, and Kylie. It was so nice to catch up and chat with everyone. I have not talked to Ky in a few weeks so it was good to talk to her. Miss that little lady. We are still having internet and VPN problems, fingers crossed it starts to get better.

I worked on the Thailand trip and booked the Great Wall adventure for the 4 of us and it should be finished soon. My mom also learned that the Forbidden City is closed on Monday’s and that started on January 25th. We have already booked all our flights so we are having to change a lot and try and figure out when to come home so they are able to see it on Wednesday. Such a headache but it will get changed. Now we are able to see the Olympic Stadium on Monday when we get in which was not the case before.

Another beautiful weather day in China, with the cleanest air!!!