Laowai in Shanghai (VI): Waking up from the "中国梦想"

我以为回来上海我最后一个星期在中国会没有意思的。实际上,这个星期更忙,更没睡,更让交的。难以相信,但是今天是我最后一天在上海。拿这次在中国的经历和我上次在中国的经历相比,这次很现实,令我清楚地了解住在中国,生活会怎么样。 最终,我觉得我不能长时间留在中国。回来回去可以,每年一个月可以,但是这三个星期是一个不小的挑战。 在美国有乳糜泻和各种各样膳食限制让我的生活情况很复杂。 在中国呢?又复杂。但是我现在很有自信我可以在中国交朋友,那,不住在中国不是因为在中国没有好支持网络。
The past week, I’d expected I’d be so bored and lacking in plans after returning from Beijing that I’d be able to sit and write every day and actually get work done. Needless to say, since my last post was over a week ago, that’s not how things played out. If anything, I ended up covering more physical ground in Shanghai (with most of the French Concession map committed to memory now) and other than the few days right after Beijing during which I was still shattered from the trip, it’s been about meeting more people and trying to gain perspective from their experiences on the good, the bad, and the ugly about living in Shanghai and in China, more generally.
If nothing else, I realized I would not want to live in Beijing if I ever live in China. Being in Beijing for three-and-a-half days felt like the perfect visit—I was just ready to leave when I flew out on Wednesday afternoon. One evening in Wangfujing, another in Sanlidun, and the last in Houhai, along with some souvenir shopping at Nanluoguxiang (which, remaining more or less shielded from tourists, has happily retained its charm) was just enough time to relive my favorite parts of Beijing before getting fed up with the smog, the humidity, and the traffic. I feel like Beijing was trying really hard to make me like it better than Shanghai, because after the first day of torrential downpour, the rest of my days in Beijing were perfect, blue sky days. Either Friday or Saturday last weekend was my only blue sky day in Shanghai the entire trip. Still, Shanghai wins–I think most Americans who go to both cities would agree.
My final days in Shanghai, I finally went to Tianzifang, which is Shanghai’s cleaner, artsier answer to Beijing’s Nanluoguxiang, and A.P. Fashion and Goods Market in the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum subway station, which I recommend for its hilariously trashy t-shirts and knock-off handbags but also for its genuinely nice jewelry stands. Sunday, I met with a professor I often worked with at HBS who now works at Wharton and had a nice lunch with her on Nanjing Dong Lu. She was here on a two-month international tour for the Lauder Institute at Wharton (a MBA/MA in International relations program that requires fluency in 2+ languages to apply. Sounds like I should consider?) with 7 of her students, whom I met last night for one of my most enjoyable evenings in Shanghai. It’s a group I hope to reconnect with if I make my way down to Philadelphia for a visit this fall. If that’s what a MBA program cohort can be like, sign me up—these people were awesome.
Now it’s time to carpe my last diem here, pack, and pray that I’ll be able to live my last outstanding China dream (since I already saw the shark tank at M1NT) before go back to 美国, namely, KTV Karaoke.