Hello! I have missed the blog world so much! I'm now back from my [whoop whoop cheesy cliche alert] life-changing trip and have settled comfortably into a routine of drinking my Chinese tea while wearing my new silk makes-me-feel-like-a-rich-person bathrobe and scrolling through my trip photos with a nostalgic and depressed air [be honest, guys: this counts as effective studying for finals, right?]. I miss my boy, and Shanghai, and being in Shanghai with my boy [and having a normal sleep schedule!], so much! But nevertheless I have looooaaads to show you over the next few posts about what we did, ate, saw, smelled, listened to, drank, bought, and ate. Yes, eating deserves two mentions, as you will soon see... Consult Photo 1 below for a pictorial representation of my impressions of China.
I went souvenir-crazy on this trip, which is so unlike me normally, but I couldn't help myself, and everything was so inexpensive!! I'm sure I still got ripped off but that's the way it goes...
Some gorgeous freshwater pearls [you'll be seeing more of these soon], handmade Batik-style traditional wax fabric, little silk make-up bags for friends, lots of postcards, ticket-stubs, and a bag of Milk Peanuts [ie the most delicious snack food on the planet and why oh why did I only bring back one bag??]
Handmade tea bowls and saucers, some silk scarves for friends, the previously-mentioned peacock bathrobe [the kind Schmidt wears in New Girl but less douchey], little notebooks, and some Dragon Well green tea and White Chrysanthemum herbal flower tea. We biked to this tea village and saw the rolling fields and bought tea from this adorable sweet family who probably also ripped us off but the experience was worth it, and that was also the day we almost died of sweat by eating spicy boiling-hot noodles under the sun and I sunburned but now I have a tan so it's all OK! Though in China, the whiter you are, the more beautiful you're considered to be. It was crazy; whereas we buy tinted moisturizer, Chinese girls buy whitening cream with pearl extracts to keep the skin nice and pale, they hardly show any skin when it's hot, and they use umbrellas to shade themselves from sunlight! Just one of the many moments that made me reflect on how cultural customs come about, and where ideals of beauty, politeness, and 'normalness' come from. It's really an eye-opening experience, seeing people react to what you consider totally mundane and usual, with such interest and obvious fascination, while in reverse their 'normal' is so foreign to you. I have a lot of thoughts on this, so I'll come back to it later.
Old Shanghai meets new: a traditional qipao ["chee-pow"] that I had custom-made at the Fabric Market [more on that heavenly place later!] next to my lens-less Hello Kitty glasses which are all the rage in Shanghai as a hilarious fashion item I have adopted for myself, and I fully intend to be the trailblazing genius that brings these to the streets of Britain.
I'm a ticket-stub freak. Also business cards, receipts, menus, postcards, currency notes, and any other paper pieces that will allow me to be nostalgic basically...
Yes, it's safe to say I left Pieces of pieces of my Heart in Shanghai.
I've just shown you these photos because this is what I have strewn around my room right now, but I have so much more coming so stay tuned if you're interested in hearing about my travels! :) If you're not, it might be a bit boring around here for you, you have been warned...