Thursday, September 23, 2010

Urban Life, Part One

-A Chinese proverb, "to feel at home anywhere within the four seas."

It's the oddest feeling, to be asked how long I've lived in Shanghai. Technically, about a month and a half. But when I say that, people comment on how new I am or how recently I have arrived. It doesn't feel at all like I'm new here though. I've been visiting regularly for so long that life here feels more normal than living in Quanzhou ever did. My days are full in the best possible way.

Weekdays I work from 8-4:30 with a 30 minute subway commute on either end (during which I sit and read a Chinese newspaper, attracting a fair amount of curious glances,) and after work I often attend dance classes at a local studio. On the weekends, I try to take advantage of the urban life.

I've always wanted to live in a big city, and Shanghai, with its approximately 13 million (and one!) inhabitants of the city proper, or about 20 million if you count the suburbs too, definitely fits the bill. There is so much to do and see! There are tons of great restaurants, art galleries, concerts, etc. It's really wonderful.

This week had an odd holiday in the middle of the week. It's hard to explain, but I have Wednesday-Friday off, and then work Saturday and Sunday to make up for it. It doesn't make much sense to a foreigner, but it's just the way holidays are scheduled here. Regardless, it's been a nice 3 day break. Yesterday, my flatmate and I went to Ikea to buy some things for our apartment. As we were thinking about decorating, we had the idea to make our own art to put on the walls.

So, we went to one of the art districts to check out some galleries and buy art supplies. Then we went home and had fun experimenting with acrylics outside on our balcony with its gorgeous view of downtown Shanghai - the picture at the beginning was taken from there. It was a pretty fantastic day.