This post is dedicated to Katelynn. Yes Katelynn, I have a maid, and she's marvelous. This does not mean I condone being negligent in one's chores. Unless of course you're planning on living in China forever. ;)
I would like to make an announcement: I speak Chinese. Now, everyone knows I've been studying Chinese for years now, but when asked if I spoke Chinese, I would always waffle around: "Well, kind of. A little. The basics. I can get around." And so on. This past weekend though, I decided I will stop hesitating and just say yes. Yes, I speak Chinese. Not fluently, but good enough that I don't worry that someone will respond in Chinese, and I'll be unable to respond, thereby horribly embarrassing myself. I feel pretty confident that I can handle a wide variety of basic situations now.
I'm also becoming versed in the various methods of greeting from around the world. Although, I'm not sure well-versed is the right word. "Prepared" maybe. When you say hello to someone, it might involve a wave and a greeting (Chinese and a variety of other,) a kiss on two cheeks (French, and a variety of others,) a kiss on one cheek (haven't pinned this one down yet,) a hug (Americans you know,) and of course the handshake (Americans you don't yet know, and other people of the non-kissing habit.) Of course, given the international nature of most people's social networks, people have adopted/lost cultural habits, so you just have to be prepared for anything.
Elsewise, Shanghai is still treating me well. There was an outdoor jazz festival a few weekends ago, and it was lovely. The weather was perfect, the bands were fun, and there was plenty of room to spread out a sheet and sprawl on the grass. I've included some photos that I took with my phone while we were there.