China, China, Wo Ai Ni // Shanghai and Nanjing Highlights

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Travel posts are my favorite to write, because they allow me to re-live my adventures all over again. Popular opinion however, I know to be somewhat against vacation recaps. Like, it is Monday, I hate everything, please let everyone be as miserable as I am right now. (Pre-coffee thoughts, I get it.)

So I condensed my week-long trip to China as much as possible. Hope it's relatively pain-free.

Well, also, I hope it helps when I say that this trip was much less of a vacation, and more like putting in the effort to spend some time with our family in China. We make this trip so often now that it's all become a bit of a routine and that landing in Shanghai becomes more like the pressing of a 'play' button to my alternate life.

China, I think, can be described in three words. (Lots of) people, pollution, and phood. And phun. Chow phun. And phamily. Because phamily comes phirst, phorever and ever. Phistbump.

Okay, I'll stop. It's 1 AM, I'm not making sense, and I have a ton of suitcases and boxes to move tomorrow as I begin my senior year. 

(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

PS. One HUGE highlight that didn't make it into the recap was our flight from Shanghai to Tokyo (for our transfer). It was an ANA flight, a Boeing 787 if I'm not mistaken. BUT THE WINDOWS. There is no slide cover thingy. Instead, there's a little button under the window and you press it up or down to tint the windows aqua, teal, or dark dark dark dark blue. Or clear. I took a 27-second video of it to show you guys, but alas the file got corrupted (literally this is my phone rolling its eyes and being like, you are so so stupid). But I just had to put this in here.

Power Reset

dumpling madness with the parentals

Do you guys ever turn your computers off? Because, confession, I rarely, rarely hit the power off button on my Macbook. Hardly ever. Unless some sneaky software update forces me to, or a program mysteriously won't close no matter what curse words I hurl at it. 

But it's kind of funny. I have my laptop on for weeks at a time, and simply close the monitor when I'm going to bed or leaving the house or something of the like. And, over time, the darn thing gets progressively slower. The Internet. Photoshop. Word. Applications hesitate before opening up, words hiccup a little, Google Chrome takes a second to freak out before it decides to do its job.

On the odd chance I power down my computer, I find that it works ten times faster when I turn it back on. Double-clicking, right-clicking, everything works like a dream. It's back to the honeymoon period for Macky and me for a day.

So why don't I do it more often? Why don't I click the button that says 'Shut Down' at the end of the day? Do the two minutes that it takes for the computer to power back on, really inconvenience me that much? Do I really need something from the Internet right this second? (No, because hello, phone.)

It's kind of the same thing when it comes to me. To say I am exhausted right now is the understatement of the century. I am so tired. 

My sister and I returned stateside yesterday around noon, and my day consisted of a three-hour nap, waking up for a small snack, passing out again for another three hours, eating dinner with my eyes half closed, and then wiping out once more.

This year has been a year of dreams coming true. Oxford. Italy, England, France, Spain, Ireland, Scotland. Another wonderful quarter at Stanford. Los Angeles. New York. San Francisco. Washington DC. Houston. China. Planes and trains and buses and cars. An actual job. School. Getting ready to start the job hunt for real. Preparing for the GMAT. Thinking about future plans. Just. Everything.

So I'm hitting the power off button. Letting myself breathe for the rest of the week before it's 'power on' once again come Monday.

The rest of this week is going to consist of sleeping, with some breaks in between the naps for some major GSD (getting shit done) sessions before school starts. You know, finalizing class selections, turning in some last minute paperwork, finishing all 30 Rock episodes, ordering the foamiest mattress toppers of all mattress toppers, updating the resume, stuff like that. 

Here's to the lofty goals, and the resting period we all need to get ourselves back on the goal-achieving path. Happy Hump Day!

My Manhattan, An Overview

I thought living in NYC for a brief period of time would simply be scratching an itch. But stubborn, persistent NYC... it's really more like a mosquito bite. The more you scratch at it, the itchier it gets. Full blown bout of chicken pox for me, at this rate.

A few things I picked up on during my summer in the city –
New Yorkers are opportunistic. They don't wait around for things to happen. They make things happen. Oh, the subway car can't possibly fit another person? Says who? Oh, the pedestrian light is red? Nope, there's still half a second before a car could possibly crash into me - let's go. Do people flock to New York because of all the opportunities, or is New York a place of opportunities because opportunistic people flock here? Forever a chicken-and-egg question.

New Yorkers are unapologetic. My way or the highway, b*tches. And I ain't sorry about it.

New York is expensive. Who knew, right? SO expensive. I had sticker shock simply by buying drugstore shampoo. Let's not even get started on rent.

But it can be cheap too. $1 pizza. Make that HUGE $1 slices of pizza. $1 street vendor hot dogs. Lots of free concerts and festivals and picnicking in parks. Transportation overall is probably a lot cheaper, too, if you factor in gas prices and maintenance and parking. So on and so forth.

This place is so effing convenient. On my block there's a wash-n-fold laundry where you drop off your dirty clothes, and they'll literally wash, dry, fold, and deliver it right back to your doorstep. There's a deli, a grocery store, bars, restaurants, dry cleaners, tailors, what have you. SEAMLESS. Order dinner on your phone and the delivery man will walk up all three flights and hand it to you while you're still in pajamas.
hallelujah

New York is a walking city like no other walking city. I'm a walker at heart. Always have been, always will. The highlight of my day every day was walking from work (51st and 5th Ave) to home (8th and the equivalent of negative 2 Ave). So many things to see, so many different routes to take. 
my adorable East Village block
Surely, it's a glamorous city. To say that there are no Carrie Bradshaw moments would be a total lie. You will find yourself stumbling upon intricate movie sets, sometimes right at your front doorstep. You'll see girls in six inch heels flagging down yellow taxis, and fancy schmancy restaurants galore. It's glittering skyscrapers and bars that don't close till 4am. It's the latest and greatest, the hustle and the bustle, the nonstop energy, the beautiful people and places.
But it's also really not. Subway rats the size of kittens, the putrid garbage smell that lingers all summer long, the blast of air from the grates that send your skirts a'flying, the homeless who shout colorful obscenities, rush hour in the metro, ugh. After about 1 minute of living here, you too will want to shove the tourists out of the way (no way in hell you go near Times Square never ever ever) (and also, if you visit NYC, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOSSIP GIRL JUST DON'T EVER STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK WITH NO WARNING), and avoid eye contact with anything that breathes and walks on two legs, eliminate a great majority of colors in your wardrobe, and buy a pair of dorky but comfortable 'walking shoes' that will be dusty and disgusting in 0 seconds flat. 

But it's all a part of that Big Apple charm, amirite?


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