Monday, October 16, 2006


The good news is the weather is magnificent. Nothing lower than 65, nothing higher than 85. Isn't that ridiculous? More good news is that I had a friend to spend the morning with. It's always good to have those. And I had my first fresh-squeezed apple juice after a year of none.

It was also good that gramma answered the phone. Because the bad news is that my uncle passed away this weekend. I don't take deaths in the family all that well. There've been so many, it seems. I can't grasp how my friends feel who have never had a close one die. The first funeral I remember was great gramma Dathel, when I was six, maybe. I still remember how she would reach for my hand. Or at least, I have a memory of it, whether it really happened or is just one of those memories we think we have from childhood.

This distance thing, while I knew it would be hard, is harder than I thought, I think. Or perhaps it's just the actual feeling as opposed to the theoretical. Because now that I think of it, I really did think long about how hard it would be. It's really tough with my closest friends being virtually inaccessible. Tanzania-shmia. Out of minutes and 12 hours difference. 13 hours difference and the middle of the night.

I think I may need some different friends. It was really stupid to come to China without my address-book!

Friday, October 13, 2006


Today, I began to celebrate the weekend's arrival with coffee. Yes, delicious coffee. It's 'expensive' here, which means it's more than other drinks. But if you do the math and divide by 8, in USD it's not really all that bad.

Lunch was another scrumptius affair- I had spaghetti with mushrooms, sauce, and bacon bits and a side of Chai Latte. Oh international food!

It's crazy having it so readily available. This summer (which was excellent!) ice cream and water were the most familiar home things...and I think was a more authentic Chinese experience. But Shanghai- well now this is just a different place entirely. It's not your usual China big-city life, and even the locals go for foreign food all the time.

So really, I'm just embracing Shanghai culture when I go out for Hello Pizza or Taco Bell Grande...sure I am.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Roomies on the Bund

I forgot to mention these are my roommates: Kate, Noelle, and Jackie. We're posing on the Bund, part of the old French concession in Shanghai. Type in Bund Shanghai and you'll find plenty of better pictures of the JinMao tower and the Pearl TV Tower (the one that looks like a space-age structure)


Like a College Student

Just now, I'm in the middle of a sugar high from my roommate Jackie's carepackage from the states: Krackle, Reese's Cups, and Kisses, oh my.

Last week, Lance was here and we visited Zhouzhuang, the number 1 watertown. I hope he puts up the pictures soon. He's so good at getting shots. And even though he was a little cranky (it's a lot more expensive and a different world in Shanghai than Changsha or Loudi) I really enjoyed being a good hostess for him. Makes me wonder about doing something like that for a job someday...floor mom at an orphanage or something!

This week, it's chinese test #2. I have to have something like a 10 minute dialog with a classmate, talking about studies, why we're in China, and other creative things (more points for more creativity). I can hardly believe I'm supposed to know this much Chinese. Speaking, pinyin, characters, structure; there are so many parts to it! Even if I knew how to speak, I'd still be crippled because I can't even read a menu. It's quite a challenge.

In other news, my first piece of mail from the states came in! From Philadelphia, of all places. Thanks a zillion, Amber. A little letter packed with words of goodness for the soul of a friend.

I wish I could connect deeper. But then again, it's always like this. Being in a foreign country just magnifies some things. It takes time to solidly build a good friendship. I just hope that's what's happening here. There are a few I hope to hang on to when I leave this place in December. It sure would be nice to visit them in the states someday. Did I mention Erica is from Hawaii? ;-)

I'd like to figure out how to drop these walls. To really risk vulnerability. Not just my own walls, but share and be shared with. And really appreciate what I'm hearing. I'm reading a book right now, Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Goldman Gelman, and she mentions how she shares tough, real things about herself to get through the chitchat that happens early in normal relationships, since time is limited to really get to know people. I definitely agree with that part. I wish I did it more- it's what is at the heart of who I am, that tough stuff- that's what makes people, the things they live through. It's awesome.

Well, I'm going to try and get come pictures up...check 'em out!