Day 218: Last Thursday of work 5/19/2016

Wally

Syd was pmsing pretty damn hard this morning. We were watching the Goldbergs and a plate of pancakes was being served and she lost her shit. She started to cry and said she just wanted a real breakfast. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go get pancakes so instead I got her some noodles down the street. Close enough.

I went to work for what is my last Thursday. I’m so happy that everything is winding down now. I told my class that I’m leaving and it didn’t even phase them. Whatever. It’s cool. It’s not like I liked them anyways…. Actually that’s a lie I actually really liked this class, but they’re just too young and stupid to understand that I’M LEAVING!!!

I came home and surprised Syd with some sweets because she mentioned how she was craving some chocolate. The quickest way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach.

Sydney 

Woke up and talked to my mom for a minute. I was hoping she could buy the Blink-182 tickets I want but she will be in a meeting. Damn! Wally and I called Matt and chatted for a minute and he will be able to get them for us! Yay! This morning was pretty boring. I am having another rough morning, stupid PMS, and I started crying when I saw pancakes on The Goldbergs. Wally was not able to get pancakes so he got me DAN DAN MIEN!!! So good. We hung out for a little then Wally was off to work. Also, I was Skype chatting Bianca for a little and she will be out in a week from Sunday! SSSSSOOOO EXCITE!!!!!

My classes started and the first one I had her name was Edelweiss. She was so nice and she picked it because of the song. She started singing it to me in class. It was very beautiful.

There is a cockroach that I found and it ran into the bathroom. FUCK YOU CHINA!!!! I keep my house clean why are you here. Oh, thats right! Because of the holes in the wall in my cabinets how nothing is build right and this place is a shit hole. I could not kill it because it was so big and I got freaked out. Wally said he will take care of it when he gets home. I love him.

My classes were quick and I was able to get through them fast. I am ready to be in bed and fast forward until Saturday at 6:30 when I am done with work. I can barely think because of that dumb cockroach.

The rest of the day went by fast and Wally was so sweet to bring me home some Reese’s. Yum! He is the best!

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Day 217: Shanghai Disney…kinda 5/18/2016

Wally

Shanghai Disney

Got up early to head over to Shanghai Disney. Syd had saw some photos that people had published online in the park itself and we hoped to be able to get in. We rode all the way down there and were shocked by the amount of people present on a Wednesday morning. Don’t you people have to work?!?! We followed the signs to Disney Town, their Downtown Disney, and on our right we saw it… The world’s largest Disney castle and when they say it’s the world’s largest they’re not kidding. Last week when we were dropping Matt off to the airport we saw it over 15-20 miles away and today we saw it from the metro stop. It’s really cool that we are one of the first people to lay eyes on it, but we’re really sad that we won’t be able to attend the park itself on it’s opening day. We walked around Disney Town and took in the sights. We then headed into the Disney store where Sydney shamelessly tried to get us into the park by talking to as many employees as possible. Can’t blame her for trying. She ultimately had to settle on a pair of Asian style Minnie Ears.

Afternoon/night

We went to Dunkin Donuts for what will possibly be our last coffee date in Shanghai. We sat around and chatted for a while, but I was starting to fall asleep and pushed for us to get going. Which I do regret a bit seeing as how that’s probably our last coffee date here… Well I guess we’ll just have to go again. Afterwards, we hunted down this one restaurant we want to take Greg and Bianca to when they get here. A lot of the local teachers keep talking about the food there and how amazing it is, so we tracked it down so that it would be a smooth trip for them when they get here. We then went to pick up the clothes that Syd had made, but we had gotten there too early for both the clothes and the Muslim BBQ that we missed out on last week. We dicked around for an hour until the clothes was ready. They all looked absolutely amazing on her, but they needed to be tightened here and there, so we’ll be picking up the finished product later in the week. Unfortunately the Muslim BBQ guys weren’t there when we got out and I know Syd had been craving it for over a week, so we went ALL the way to my work where I knew that there would be some guys there for sure.

I ordered for us while Syd sat down to rest her feet after a long day of walking. It was at that moment that I realized that I have someone really special with me. Here is this born and raised California girl sitting on a random corner in Shanghai China waiting for her husband to bring her some meat on a stick and bread cooked by a couple of Chinese speaking Muslims. She’s absolutely out of her element, in a country where the language completely eludes her and she’s sitting there as happy as a clam just waiting for her food. I appreciate having such an amazing partner with me on this adventure.

Sydney

We got up and ready to start our very busy day. I was a hot mess for some reason this morning but whatever we finally made it out the door. We got some amazing as always Chinese breakfast burritos then started to make the journey to Shanghai Disneyland to check it all out. This journey consisted of 3 metro exchanges, me almost falling about 3 times, hurting my wrist and ankle again and getting more stares than normal. It was a rough morning.

I did try shamelessly to get us into the park but I settled for just walking around Downtown Disney and my ears are so cute. I am so happy. I was sad that they did not have any Cruella De Ville merch. I love her! They did have Ursula my second favorite but nothing to write home about. After being there for awhile we just stood and stared at the castle knowing that we will be back one day soon. I love this city and see a vacation here again soon. We headed back and made our way to Dunkin.

The ride back went pretty quick since we knew where we were going. Sitting at Dunkin’ was niece because as Wally stated this might be our last one just the 2 of us before we leave Shanghai. We sat and chatted but Wally rushed us out because he was tired. I was sad and upset but it is fine. Next stop my clothes!!!!

I  was so excited to get my tailor made clothes but they need a little cinching here and there. They were too big on me! Yay! We will be picking them up on Sunday before my hair appointment. I am also going to have my lady fix my black dress just a little so it is a little tighter. The meat guys were not out yet. I just want meat on a stick!!! So we made our way to Wally’s work.

My feet were killing me! I should have not worn sandals but I did not think we would be walking this much today and I wanted to look cute. Beauty is pain! I sat while Wally ordered and it was delicious. Meat on a stick and the amazing pizza bread tasting thing! Yum. BBBBUUUUTTTTTTTT on the way home I started to feel sick ssssoooo I am never eating again. My body hates me anything I eat is making me sick. When we are traveling especially in southeast Asia I will not be trying foods unless we are close to where we are staying.

The rest of the night went and we headed to bed. Only 3 more days of work then 1 week until Greg and Bianca get here!!!!! Vacation all I ever wanted, vacation had to get away 🙂

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Day 216: Work/Weekend 5/17/2016

Wally

Morning

Syd had to work today which blew chunks, but it’s ok I suppose. I made myself useful by taking care of some things for our trip and just adult things. I usually bitch and moan about having to do this type of work, but it was nice to feel useful and to be apart of the planning aspect of the trip. I also emailed our wedding photographer in order to get an update on our wedding trailer and video. Did you know that Syd and I have been married for over 8 months now??? Crazy right?!?! Also did you know that we don’t have our FUCKING VIDEOS YET?!?! Dude is lucky that we’re all the way in China or we’d be at his door raising hell.

Afternoon

Syd had a bit of a break and promised Allie we’d pick up some things for her at the cheap market. I accompanied her and acted as her hired goon, scaring off any panhandlers and potential scammers. Honestly Syd can handle herself, but having an asian male present usually deters a lot of people from trying to harass her. She works her magic and we make our way back home in time for her last class.

Side notes. The cheap market we went to is right above a metro stop. When we got there I saw a little girl in the distance with her pants down just pissing next to a column. Her grandmother was refilling her metro card no more than a few yards away from her. When granny had finished she turned around and just motioned for the kids to follow her. The child pulled her pants on and scurried over. THIS IS FUCKING SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR IN CHINA!

Night

Once Syd finished with her classes we wanted to take advantage of what a beautiful night out it was. We walked down East Nanjing in order to get a nice clear view of the Shanghai skyline. I have to admit that in our entire time here I didn’t appreciate the skyline and where we were until today. It might be a combination of the pristine weather or the fact that I know that we’ll be out of this city in the following weeks. Either way I had my whoa moment tonight and I’m definitely going to miss this city after we’re gone.

Sydney 

I had to work all day to make up for the day I was sick but it was fine because Wally got some stuff done for us. I ended up having a break in the middle and Wally and I headed to the chepa market to do some shopping. I got 1 LV purse, 1 Spider-Man external charger, 2 wireless beats, 1 beats pill for 160 USD. It was for Allie and I will send it to here when I am back in the states. i picked up a cute small Jimmy Choo bag for myself for $11.48. Not bad at all. Wally and I got home and we realized one of the external batteries we got did not work so we went back after my classes.

Since it is supposed to be our Saturday we still wanted to go and do something. After my last class we headed to the cheap market to exchange the battery and it was no problem. We decided we wanted to walk the bund and just enjoy the city at night. I cannot believe how many people were out on a Tuesday evening! It was crazy! Seriously I would never want to be out on the weekend. I love that our weekend is on Tuesday and Wednesday. I got some xiao long bao and burnt the shit out of my mouth but it was delicious. We took some pics and just tried to enjoy the night.

We finally headed home and got ready for bed, showered and went off to sleep. We are getting up bright and early.

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Day 215: Lovely morning 5/16/2016

Wally

I’ll let Syd talk about this morning.

Work

I get into work today and as I’m getting set up this guy named Rob, Rick, Chad? I don’t know whatever some stuck up Brit whose in some way higher up in the corporate ladder walks up to me and says I really need to turn in my passport to get my Visa changed from a work permit to a visitors. So here’s the whole situation. While we were on vacation with Matt, Syd and I were sent an email to our work address telling us that we need to turn in our passport and some other documents by May 4th. Problem is we were on vacation and weren’t even in Shanghai when that email was sent. The whole process of getting our visas converted can be as short as 10 days or up to 1 month, BUT the problem is we just don’t have enough time to get all that sorted out. Syd and I are talking back and forth about what our options were. I didn’t want to risk us getting flagged in the airport and not being able to catch our flight and she brought up the good point that we can’t even get on a flight without our passports. We debated back and forth on what we should ultimately do and we resigned to just get our stuff together and get it done. That is until..

I got the number to the visa officer that works for EF and had Syd call her to get things straightened out. Syd asked her what we needed to do and you know hypothetically what if we don’t turn in our passports? The visa officer said well EF is just on the line if you get another job in China and if the new place you work at gives you another work permit it’ll send up some red flags with the government. WELL WE AINT GUNNA BE IN CHINA ANY MORE IN THE NEXT 2 WEEKS!!!! So suck it EF! Fuck you for wanting to cover your ass and making me pay for it.

Teaching

I had a parent teacher meeting with my Small Star Blues, they’re the kids I’ve posted videos about. They’re only 3 years old tops and their parents are concerned about what they’re learning in class and of their subpar motor skills. THEY BARELY SPEAK CHINESE!!! WHAT DO YOU EXPECT OUT OF THEM!!!!

I taught one class with Laylay, new teacher taking over my classes, observing and had her take the last one. I’m glad she’s shadowing me because I’m just having her do most of the work while I “observe” her. I watch her for the first 10-15 min and then play on my phone, but she has improved from when I first saw her in action.

Sydney

Woke up this morning and worked out. Wally went to get us some Chinese breakfast burritos and we Skyped Andi, Jan and Siena for a little bit but the connection was horrible!!! I hope we can Skype them another day and it will be better. Happy Birthday Andi!!! Hope it was a great day technically yesterday for us but today for you ;).

**Andi the picture below is for you to prove what mom was saying.

When we finished it was still early so Wally and I went to Coco’s and he got a boba and I tried this new drink they have, basically a melted strawberry shake with real chunks of strawberries. It was really good. We walked to the bund and enjoyed the beautiful weather we are having today. Yesterday crazy storms, pouring cats and dogs and today clear blue skies and a slight breeze. We walked back home and packed up to head to work.

We had to handle some bs passport stuff but we got it all situated. The rest of the day went by. i showered and worked from bed my last couple of hours. We watched tv and went to sleep. Unfortunately even though tomorrow is our normal weekend I have to work 9-6 but Wally and I might do something after work. We will see.

**Because the picture is a little blurry it says “Please avoid bringing children without diapers in the store.” #justchinathings

Side note – I had a student whose first name is Law and order. Yes, I had to call him Law and order the whole class. I asked why he picked that and he said he liked the show and wanted to be called the whole title. #fuckingchinesepeople

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Day 214: Crazy weather 5/15/2016

Wally

School

My classes were just bleh. I’m so glad we’re almost done with this place. I had another open door today with my High Flyers, beginners. They literally only know greetings, classroom supplies and commands and parts of the face. I had to come up with an activity that will last 30 min. It’s literally a dog and pony show. I fucking hate this place. Then according to my schedule, my last class was a graduation. I went through all this trouble of getting their shit together and planning activities and when I approach the PA to talk about it she informs me that the graduation had occurred last week and it was supposed to be a normal class. Great… Whatever fuck this place.

Before I left for work it started POURING rain and I didn’t bring an umbrella today… Luckily the school let me borrow one of their promotional umbrellas with their logo on it.

Home

I came home and Syd had made some mac and cheese that Matt had brought for us! OMFG mac and mother fucking CHEESE!!!! It was so nice to have a taste of home.

Sydney 

Woke up to Wally getting ready to leave and I just chilled for awhile. I talked to Erin for a few minutes and said hey. She was on her way out so maybe we can have another chat soon. I talked to Allie for about 2 hours and her and Matt want to come out to Shanghai the next time we go. Hopefully it works out. They want some stuff from the cheap markets so I will pick it up and send it to them when I get home. We chatted for some time then I spoke with Ashley for awhile and now she is re-watching Charmed. HAHA awesome.

This morning when I looked outside it was a beautiful clear sunny day and about an hour ago it turned dark as night and started pouring has just now it started letting up. It was crazy and continued to come down so hard this whole time. My classes were ok and all of my students spoke decent enough which makes my day faster. I made dinner and had 3 cheese mac and cheese, which Matt brought for us. MMMM I miss mac and cheese. I wanted to surprise Wally since he did not have the best of days and it is always nice to come home and dinner and is made.

I worked out and did yoga then cleaned up and worked the rest of the day from bed. HHMM so comfy. We watched some tv then fell asleep.

Day 213: Found 100RMB 5/14/2016

Wally

Morning

BREAKFAST MOTHER FUCKING BURRITOS!!! Syd and I have been getting them every Saturday morning for the last few months so we kept the tradition alive. I’m going to miss them after we leave.

School

My first class were my Front Runners and they had an open door, that I didn’t know about until 10 min prior. I had them make PPT on a national holiday around the world and present it. Most of them had some made in a previous class while the new students didn’t have one. I had them make one and the others just watched Independence Day. When the parents did arrive to see what their kids had worked on most of them just read off the slide and when I asked them to put it into their own words many of them just stood up there frozen and unable to do so. GOOD JOB CHINA YOU’VE TURNED YOUR KIDS INTO FUCKING MACHINES THAT CAN RECITE SHIT, BUT HAVE NO ABILITY TO CRITICALLY THINK FOR THEMSELVES! Whatever, after that class I covered for a class that I absolutely hate cause there’s this one kids that I swear has some sort of disability and he’s bouncing off the walls. I think his parents send him there so they have a couple of hours of peace and quiet.

Night

Syd found 100 RMB on the floor!!!! So we did what any responsible adult would do and went to Carl’s Jr. It’s nice to know that no matter where you are in the world Car’s is Carl’s. Unfortunately, the food didn’t really sit well with Syd, but we did make it home in time for her to relieve herself.

Sydney 

Wally and I got ready and headed to work. We stopped for our Saturday tradition of getting our breakfast burritos then we walked to the metro. Wally left and I continued to my walk to work. I do love being there early and no one is around. My classes went by fast and during my breaks I watched Eastbound and Down on my breaks. I hope to finish that show within the week. Jenn brought some pineapple beers and snacks for us to enjoy and we chatted and caught up. We are going to order lunch next week together since it is my last day. I skyped Kylie for awhile and it was great to hear about everything and I cannot believe I am going to see her in less then a month. Plus we named her cute little stuffed animal ruffles. Miss that girl so much. I also spoke with Allie for a few but we are supposed to Skype more tomorrow.

The rest of the day went by and I walked home. I found 100 RMB walking home so Wally and I are going out to dinner. He called me and I was close to where he was so I met up with him and we walked home together. We decided to go to the Carl’s on West Nanjing and walk around. Dinner was fun and it was a perfect Saturdate. We walked to People’s Square and headed home. We walked from Dongchang and dinner was not agreeing with me. I am lucky I made it home, so to add to the foods I cannot eat – Dominos, Carl’s, Buffalo Wild Wings (I will sacrifice since I love it), and dumplings with peanut sauce (the only time I can eat them is if I know we will be home). I made it home and we hung out the rest of the night. The internet was being weird so we just talked until we fell asleep. A lovely night. 6 days of work left.

 

Day 212: Dumb Students 5/13/2016

Wally

Another pointless day at work.I’m so over this place right now especially since Matt has left. The mundane is now extra mundane and doesn’t feel like it’s worthy of a post.

Syd did surprise me with breakfast in bed and it made me feel very loved. I spent the morning applying to more jobs… I’ve yet to hear a response from anyone… Oh well… Only 1 week of till we’re done with EF.

Sydney 

Surprised Wally with breakfast in bed; oatmeal and eggs. Exciting stuff in China. I did the chores while Wally applied to more jobs. We worked out together and finished watching Hot Fuzz then he was off to work. I worked from home again and my classes were so rough. UGH! Bianca is the best and is letting us use here Hulu since Wally cannot download at work anymore and we will be able to catch up on our shows, thank goodness. I applied to some more jobs as well, keep your fingers crossed. The rest of the day flew and I had a break so I showered and worked from bed which was nice and my last 2 classes did not show up! Sweet!!!

Day 211: First day back to work 5/12/2016

Wally

I’m so glad I’m getting out of this job soon… Today just felt like a massive waste.

The only thing that was nice about today was that after work Syd and I got some ice cream and walked around the block just talking. I am going to miss our private time together, it really allows us to appreciate each other and the journey that we’re on.

Only 7 more days of work.

Sydney

Woke up to do laundry and get ready for the day. I am working from home because I am washing sheets and everything needs to dry so I can make the bed. Wally finished his blogs and we talked to my dad for awhile about his trip. He was having trouble with the google doc but it is working now and we are in business with everything that we want to do in Paris. I am really excited. We also Skyped my mom last night for awhile and told her about the trip. Wally had to get ready and leave so we could send money home. I set-up my work area and watched Grace and Frankie until work. This show is pretty funny. Work was pretty slow and I had a few no after shows.

I did have one student who asked what the best thing about China is and I said that my Mandarin has improved. She said she did not know what Mandarin was. It was very confusing and finally I gave up after a while and moved on. I ate some cumin lamb flavored chips for dinner since I was not hungry. I am so sad when we leave and they do not have these back home they are my favorite chips now. The rest of my day was alright and one positive is that my last student did not show up. YAY! Wally came home and we went for a walk and got some ice cream and just stared at the bund. I am going to miss the city, not the people though.

We did some intense yoga when we got home and cleaned up and headed to bed. 8 days of work left. YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

Day 210: Vacation blues 5/11/2016

Wally

…… Woke up today and thought to myself what should we do with Matt today. Oh wait…

Morning

Skyped with Neal and Dianne for a bit and caught up on their lives and with ours. It’s always great chatting with them because it reaffirms that what we’re doing is the right thing. Their eyes always light up whenever we tell them about our adventures or our plans for future ones. They make it so that we don’t feel like we’re wasting our lives away by not having a strong foothold within a career. Instead they praise us in our dedication to each other and to seeing the world. Syd and I will truly only have each other for the next few years, after that comes kids in which we’ll be obligated to raise for AT LEAST 18 years. I’m sorry, but I’m going to be selfish with the one on one time I have with my wife till our kids get here.

Heading out

We went to the shoe store to check on a pair of blue Manolos, from Sex and the City, that Syd had ordered, but the lady wasn’t open…. We got there an hour and a half after the sign said they’d be open, but she wasn’t there… Now this isn’t just a minor inconvenience like back home where you just hop back into your car and drive off to your next destination. Here it’s a 20 min walk back to the metro and doing 2-3 line changes to get to the next place…. Whatever, we head to the Friends cafe to enjoy some time together. We drank some good coffee and pizza. We sat around and watched a few episodes before getting up to leave…. BUUUUUUUUT as we were halfway to the metro;

Syd: Did you pay?

Me: No you have all the money…

Syd: O_o…… Should we go back?

Me: Well no one’s chasing after us

Both of us have a internal struggle at this point

Me: We should go back I don’t want any bad juju on us.

Syd: Yeah and they’re always really good whenever we go

You’ll be happy to know that in the end we did the right thing. Afterwards, we did go back to the shoe lady and she was open this time, but the shoes didn’t fit Syd. Oh well I guess we’ll have to wait a week to pick up her CUSTOM MADE Manolos! Sorry if that sounded a bit pretentious. We then headed over to the fabric market to pick up Syds dress and to get a couple of other items made for her. I’ll let her go into details about all that.

Evening

We had originally wanted to get some Muslim meat sticks near the fabric market and they were there before we went in, but when we came out no more than 30 min later they were gone…. It was my bad because I told Syd that we’d get it afterwards. So instead we took a nice long walk towards Syd’s work in search of something we’d might like. We snacked on a few things here and there, but didn’t get anything worthy of a meal. We ultimately got noodles near our house and enjoyed that with each other.

Sidenote

I’m really grateful that Syd and I stop each other to take mental snapshots of our lives. At times things get chaotic, but when we stop and look around we appreciate where we’re at it brings things into perspective. Today she stopped us on our way back to look up at the towers, we had a great angle of the Bottle Opener, Shangahi Tower and Jinmao Tower. While we stood there holding each other there were swarms of people working out at night and by working out I mean dancing. It was a perfect microcosm of what it’s like to live in Shanghai and I’ll always cherish this memory thanks to my wife.

Sydney 

Woke up and thought oh, I better go wake up Matt. Oh wait… :(. Wally and I got up and Skyped my aunt and uncle for a little and scheduled another date hopefully when there is better reception on both of our sides. It was nice to talk for a little. We got ready and packed up our stuff for the day. The ayi came and cleaned and again no matter what she just uses and rag and nothing is ever really clean. Whatever. Wally and I headed out to get my shoes that I ordered (Manolos from the wedding scene in Sex and the City when Carrie marries Big). We got there and she was closed.

We headed to the Friends cafe for a little date day and a nice cup of coffee. After we were sitting someone walked in and started speaking in English “they took our spot” I turned around a little and they realized I was white and apologized. Wally and I assumed that they saw him and did not think he spoke English. We sat for awhile watched some episodes and hung out until the shoe lady messaged us that she was open. We headed back and saw a little old lady sitting in a wheelchair in the sun eating a stick of cream cheese. The wrapping was Philadelphia cream cheese. I joked with Wally that what if he had done that with Popo, here you go grandma sit in the sun and enjoy your cream cheese on a hot muggy day. Fucking Chinese people man. Also, we were walking back to the metro and half way there I realized we never paid, whoops! We turned around and paid up and apologized. We had been there for so long we just forgot but the girl was understanding and thanked us for coming back. I do not want any of that bad Chinese karma.

We went to the shoe lady and unfortunately the size was a little small so she said next week they should be ready and I can pick them up. Continuing on with our day we made our way to the fabric market to pick up the custom made dress I got that was not fixed earlier. Wally said I looked beautiful and that is good enough for me. We found another stall that was a little cheaper and I got another dress made, along with a flowy shirt and short matching set, and a peacoat with my Versace buttons. I will be able to pick it all up next Wednesday along with my shoes. Everything together was only $160 USD. The last thing we got was my new pair of glasses. This is the last one with new lenses I am getting. I also picked up a pair of Chanel frames.Wally and I have matching glasses. They are both Tom Ford with a gold line, we just have different versions. So dumb!! It will be nice that when I need to get glasses in the future I do not have to pay for the frames and just get the lenses. On the way out I picked up a couple of gifts for people and they started at 120RMB and I got them to 10RMb. HEHEHE haggling is the shit.

Originally we were going to have meat sticks for dinner and we saw the people ( I wanted to eat first but Wally said wait) well when we finished up and went across the street they were gone!! I was so sad. I guess we will have it next week since we will be back to pick up my stuff.

We headed home and tried to decide what we wanted for dinner. We thought about going to Wally’s street but it was so far so we ended up walking to my work and going up one street to find food and just walking home since nothing really peaked our interest and getting dan dan mien from our noodle lady. We did find a little fruit vendor and took a gamble and it was pretty good, not great but it was more variety then we have had since we got to China so that was nice. We stopped into a bakery and picked up a couple of things; one of the bread things was actually just soft bread and the inside was filled with whipped cream. It was delicious. We stopped on our walk home to look at the bund and again take in exactly where we are and what are life is at this moment. It is crazy to think that this time next month we will be in ending our Thailand trip, Bianca and Greg will be flying home and we’ll be heading to Cambodia. Insane!

Wally ordered us some food and I came up to the apartment to message the tailor that I wanted pockets in my shorts. We  had delicious noodles for dinner and finished watching Hot Fuzz. Tomorrow we head back to work, 9 days left for me.

Matt messaged us that we got home safely and we are so glad. Sad but glad he got there safe and sound.

Some things that were forgotten in the blog for his trip:

  1. When we flew home from Xi’an my suitcase got flagged and I was told my hairspray bottle was too big and not allowed in China. Which is weird since the ounces are the same as bottles here in China, the shape of the bottle is just different. #justchinathings
  2. Wally, Matt and I could not think of the name Hugh Grant for hours!!! Finally we remember and now every time Wally and I cannot remember something we say Hugh Grant to each other and it makes us laugh. We will never forget his name because of it.
  3. The tailor that I am getting my lemon dress from is also the tailor for Susan Sarandon, per pictures of them together in her shop. AWESOME!!
  4. One of my toenails fell completely off, it is awful and it hurts.

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Day 209: Matt is leaving :'( 5/10/2016

Wally

It’s nuts that it’s been 11 days since Matt’s been here, it flew by so quickly…

Yuyuan Gardens

We had stayed up to the wee hours of the morning just chatting away until I called it a night for everyone. We wanted to squeeze in something stereotypically Chinese for Matt before he left and what better place than Yuyuan Gardens! Syd and I have talked about this place before it’s the area with the super Chinese style architecture and the beautiful garden. The problem is because it’s such a caricature of China it’s massive tourist trap. Either way we strolled around for a bit and tried out this cafeteria style restaurant where you put your food on your trays and pay at the end.

Back home

We had Matt work on the rest of the blogs so that we can get everything posted in a timely manner. While he did that Syd and I helped him pack. I called for a cab to come get us to the airport and we just lounged around till it was time for Matt to leave….

Airport

The ride to the airport was a completely different route that we’ve taken before and the whole ride there we were bitching about how this dude is taking us for a ride, but in the end it was 30 RMB cheaper than normal… I don’t get this country… When Matt got his bags checked it was flagged for something, so we went to go see what was the matter. In his first bag the security pulled out his camera battery and just handed it to him and in the second one two zippo lighters, which he couldn’t take with him. What I don’t understand is why was the camera battery handed back to Matt if there was an “issue” with it being in the check in… Wouldn’t it potentially pose a greater threat if he had it on him? Also the lighters were in his check in AND they didn’t have any lighter fluid AND THEY WERE BOUGHT IN YOUR COUNTRY! ONE OF THEM EVEN HAD MAO ON IT FOR CHRIST SAKE! I don’t understand this country… We said our goodbyes and sent Matt on his way. It was awesome seeing him again, at least this time it won’t be another 7 months till we see each other. This trip has reaffirmed that Matt and I are brothers. We’ve known each other since we were 9 years old and when I was single I saw him everyday for 3 years and that’s not an exaggeration. From school, work and hanging out there was no escaping me. I’m so glad he made the effort to come out and see how Syd and I have been living. Hopefully we get the same opportunity at some point in the future to visit Matt somewhere around the world.

Matt

I’m leaving today. They asked me to reflect on my time here and therefore I shall. This trip can be summed up in one word: Family. Wally has been and will always be a brother to me and Sydney has made me feel so loved and cared for. She’s a sister but not in the way that Wally and Sydney are siblings but that she’s my sibling. And they’re married– but Wally is my brother. Makes sense? Fuck. Anyway…

We went to Yuyuan Gardens today to check out an older Shanghai. After we got off the metro stop we found a cool little lunch spot where they serve dim sum, cafeteria style. We got some steamed buns, and stinky tofu– regular. But they had these weird looking prawns and a whole baby crab which peaked my adventurous side and I grabbed those as well. The prawns looks like something you can find at a bait shop. They deep fried them to hell and it was underwhelming. It tasted alright but it was difficult to eat because there was very little meat and all exoskeleton. Same applies to the crab but with a little more meat. YuYuan Gardens is a very pretty place and the architecture is distinctly Chinese but because of that, it’s a huge tourist trap. Plenty of beggars, sellers, and people populating the area. It was a cute little spot but we only needed an hour until we decided to head back home.

FAMILY. Being able to come here and just start off where left off is an awesome feeling. Not a lot of people can say they started their Shanghai trip by raging in a club and listening to Yellow Claw. Then we spent the rest of my time exploring Shanghai at a comfortable pace. They showed me how Shanghai can make you feel like a king or a peasant in the luxury side of the city. Posh malls, expensive cars– there was an all chromed out Porche just cruising down the road, like, wtf. It was a mirror on wheels. Then the Cheap Market where you can get any brand name goodies for dirt cheap prices. Being in Shanghai made me realize and appreciate a lot of things I take for granted back home. reflection time…

First off, fresh fruits and vegetables are harder to come by out here and cost more to obtain. Services that are normal in the states are rare here. Rudeness is common and people have high disregard to their surroundings. I miss responsible drivers– I have witnessed a woman get hit by a taxi cab. Then we were in a van in Xi An where it hit a scooter with a baby-child-toddler in it. What else… The all too common piss and shit in the middle of the streets get me, the diaperless babies, the aggressive homeless people and scam artists, the constant vigilance needed to protect my wallet and phone, and the censored internet. No dryers.

On the flipside, beer is hella cheap– delicious and plentiful. You can smoke just about anywhere, food is cheap and delicious, you can buy knock-offs and dress fresh. Tailored outfits to complete your wardrobe. Beautiful architecture, living in a promising metropolis full of opportunity and 24 million people you can sell to. Taxis are affordable, you can live off a modest wage and live comfortable. Always something to do in Shanghai. Buildings to visit, continuously being awestruck at the vast size of this city and the little districts to visit. Tianzifang is a hub for young Chinese and expats to explore, French concession if you want to escape from China just for a bit and get your slice of home, etc. There’s a slow growing subculture of artists, entrepreneurs, and restaurateurs in Shanghai. It’s a place for the ambitious to really flourish, unlike back home where competition is saturated. Western influence is a huge advantage in Shanghai and being bilingual here can take you REALLY far. Because of how ‘lax certain laws and social norms are here, you can get away with more things that you can back home.

I couldn’t have these moments, these experiences, and these realization without spending it with my family. It was an amazing experience and they sold me on living overseas. I’m really sad heading back home but I’ll be back. Who knows, maybe they’ll come out to visit me when I’m out here. 🙂

Sydney 

The end of vacation!!! WTF?!?! How the hell did 11 days go by? I feel like we just picked him up. This was by far one of the most relaxing vacations I have ever had. It was also so memorable, fun, full of hilarious stories, and annoying dutch songs (when I was 7 years old 😉 ). It was great having Matt and being able to talk and hang out and it was like we saw him yesterday as opposed to 7 months ago.

We started the day at Yuyuan and found a cafeteria style dim sum place. It was fun and tasty. The food was not classy but it did the job and we were able to have one last meal together. While we were eating a few beggars and homeless people came up asking for our leftover food and for money. NO!!!!!!!! GTFO, I am eating do not come up to me when I am in a restaurant and ask for food or money. Fuck, I am tired of shit like that. Chinese people can be so rude. We finished up and walked him around. We did not go in the garden this time but showed him the area. Yuyuan is basically Chinatown in China. We headed back to the apartment so Matt could finish his blogs and pack up. While he packed I offered to pack for him. he is carrying so much stuff home for us it was the least we could do. Once we finished we did not have a lot of time left but we talked a little longer until the taxi called to say he was here. The drive to the airport was quiet and a little sad. The guys waited in line to check the bags while I tried to get the boarding pass from the kiosk. One lady told me that I was unable to do so because we were checking in bags. Ok, no worries I will just wait in line with Matt and Wally. About 5 minutes later another woman comes up and asks if we have our boarding pass and I explained what happened and she said no I still need to print it out. OMG, figure your shit out people! Finally we got to the counter and started checking the luggage and when we thought we were done we had to go to this security place and they wanted to check Matt’s 2 bags.

Well:

  1. The guy working the security speaks very little English.
  2. He rifles through Matt’s bag and finds his camera bag, takes out the battery and hands it to Matt who has to carry it on the plane. Ya, China cause that makes sense, this little battery cannot go in my check-in? It has to go in my carry-on. Matt and I are just rolling our eyes.
  3. They rifle through more and take out the 2 zippo lighters that made got as a gift for someone and said you cannot fly with them. How? Every other flight we have taken we have checked lighters but now we cannot have them in our check-ins? We are not carrying them on the plane! We are checking them in and they are in containers. We bought them in your country, they have Mao’s face on them and now you are being a dick about it. (Matt gave them to us and we are going to check them in on our flights.)

Once that debacle was done we rechecked the bags and got him to the customs line. We hugged goodbyes said our I love yous and he was off to the land of the free. Bastard! 😉

Wally and I walked in silence back to the metro and teared up a little that he was gone and we were on our way home without him. Vacation blues was hitting hard but at least we still have tomorrow off. We stopped at Shanghai Tech so Wally could get his glasses tightened and tried to buy some more external chargers but with no luck. We headed home, had some leftovers and watched Hot Fuzz in Matt’s honor.

It was so sad and it is weird that the other room is emtpy. On the positive side, I only have 9 days left of work and there is only 18 days until Greg and Bianca get here!!! EEEEEEEE so excite.

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