“Your wife lost a lot of weight.”

One afternoon in August my husband arrived at the gym after me (he had to drop his clothes at the dry cleaners first), the woman at the front desk said to him, “I’m always seeing your wife working out. She has lost a lot of weight.”

I’ve been going to the gym 4 to 6 days a week for the past four months and just when I start to get discouraged with my progress, I get reminded that I may be slow but I at least am going to the right direction.

What a pleasant reminder.

在八月裡的某個下午, 我先生去將要乾洗的衣物送洗後, 來到健身房與我會合。他進來後, 在接待台的小姐跟他說我看起來瘦很多, 她幾乎每天都看到我來運動。

我在過去四個月中, 每星期都去健身房四到六次左右。就當我對我的減重進展感到不滿意時, 那都會讓我記得即使進展不如預期快速, 至少我的方向是正確的, 那對我而言的確是個很好的提醒。

My Shanghai State of Mind

ww1  I have met people who didn’t stay for long but left an imprint in my heart. I learn more of myself through that person. What I want, who I am as a person.

  Over two years ago I arrived in Shanghai from Taipei. At first I stayed at the Hostel near the Bund before I moved to my studio apartment where I stayed for over a year. I’ve bumped into interesting characters. When I went to the computer room for the free WiFi, I saw an aspiring musician strumming his guitar to practice singing his songs. I kind of liked his beat. I thought about exchanging emails to discuss writing lyrics together, but my shyness (scratch that, anxiety overshadowed my opportunity – I even shared how I deal with my anxiety: Dealing with Anxiety Abroad). Who knows, he’d probably stare back at me as if I have multiple heads.  Continue reading “My Shanghai State of Mind”

Photo Friday: Transition

2015-03-28-13-53-52_decoI took this picture the first week I moved back to Shanghai from New Taipei. I was heading to the old neighborhood I lived in 2013, and I decided to take a picture on my way there. It was one of those rare days where I didn’t have a single panic attack – I felt like I was smiling with the whole world.

Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely

I’m not the first in my family to live abroad. I recently found out that my Great Aunt almost went to Taiwan. Who knew? She almost went to the beautiful island I now call my second home. Not only that, my dad lived in Germany when it was East/West and he talks about how he misses his life there to do this day. The last time I talked to my brother on the phone, he told me our dad was watching the Bourne Trilogy to see Germany in the background.

It got me thinking, you know? This will one day be me. I can imagine myself watching movies simply for the scenes that were shot either in Shanghai or Taiwan. I don’t mean to be melancholy (or a better word for it would be sentimental).

Jpeg2015-04-01-15-58-05_deco2015-04-01-15-53-07_decoExplore the neighborhood

For starters, I went to my local park to see the beautiful flowers. It honestly felt kind of nice to be able to see what’s around my neighborhood. I at least can explore at my own pace. I really needed to get out for a while, honestly. Continue reading “Alone Doesn’t Have to Mean Lonely”

“…But Americans are tall!”

Enjoying a cup of Joe from my apartment in Shanghai.

While I was waiting for my drink, the lady behind the register looks at my husband and asked him if I were Russian. He laughed and told her I’m American. She was stunned, “…But Americans are tall!” The response was odd to me considering I’ve met plenty of tall Russians.

How about you? Have anybody mistaken you for being from another country?



Dealing with Anxiety Abroad

I figured if I share my own personal experiences dealing with anxiety while living abroad, it will encourage somebody out there who stumbles onto my humble area to do the same.IMG_20130328_091002Panic Attack 01: I’m crossing the road when a sense of dread comes over me. I feel my heart beating faster and faster. My knees weakening. People passing all around me. My ears ringing. I see the bus and for a split second I imagine myself stepping right in front of it. My thoughts are irrational. I know this. It’s not that I want to commit suicide. I do want to live. I become so overwhelmed where I will be seeing myself in the third person not realizing this is really me. I’m really here. I pinch myself. I take a deep breath. Sometimes it works while other times I rush back home. Sometimes, though, I don’t have that luxury to return home so I hold my breath till I return to my studio apartment and I simply throw up. The entire day I felt like a fish on land. Continue reading “Dealing with Anxiety Abroad”

My Top 8 Favourite Spots in Shanghai


01. Old Beijing (translated) is where I get my sugary strawberry goodness. A couple times a month I would smile at the woman, say thank you and go on my merry way with one of these treats.

02. Central Perk is where Dawen and I drink coffee while watching episodes of Friends. Yes, sometimes a cat joins us. When Dawen worked for his first company,  we would go to Central Perk to drink coffee after we ate a quick lunch. Despite my husband no longer work around the area, we still return to Central Perk. Yes, to drink coffee while watching episodes of Friends. No, sadly this place isn’t around my current neighborhood.

Address: 160 Haerbin road, 1913 the Old Commercial House A105 哈尔滨路160号1913老洋行A105号. Vicinity: Hongkou district. Directions: near 1933 Creative Zone 近1933创意园. Getting there: Metro Line 10 or Line 4 Hailun Road Station. Continue reading “My Top 8 Favourite Spots in Shanghai”

10 Reasons Why I Like Shanghai

2015-03-29-13-40-09_deco01. Brief Jewish History
About 20,000 European Jews found refuge in Shanghai during WW2. When I just returned to the city, I had to go back to where it used to be a Jewish Ghetto. It does put a smile on my face knowing that while the locals had their own hardships, they still welcomed the Jewish people into their home. This alone made me respect this city even more. You can read some of the personal stories by people who once lived in Shanghai during wartime over here.

A little history lesson behind the term “ghetto,” you may not know –  the term ghetto originally referred exclusively to walled Jewish Quarters, where Jewish people were required to live by law. Jewish Quarter of Venice was set up in 1516 (although, the first ghettos were in Spain and Portugal at the end of 14th century). Having a section of a city in which Jewish people lived was considered extremely tolerant and permissive, since the standard at the time that Jewish people weren’t allowed to live anywhere, and if you saw a Jewish person after dark you were legally allowed to kill them. The establishment of the ghetto mean that there was a safe place for the Jewish people, who came to Venice fleeing the Inquisition Poland and the Ottoman Empire. You can read more about the history of the word, ghetto, over here.

02. Muslim Noodle Shops
Watching my noodles being made right in front of me at a local Muslim soup joint will be one of the things I’m going to miss when I leave Shanghai. Not only I’m all about the pulled noodle, the local Muslim joints are among the very few places where I can eat dumplings that are not made of pork.

Don’t get me started on the sandwich. This is my lunch.  Continue reading “10 Reasons Why I Like Shanghai”

Happy New Year! 新年快樂!

2015-02-09-16-35-59_decoHappy New Year! May you be prosperous in the year of the sheep. Dawen and I thought we would be returning to Taiwan to be with family during the holiday but plans change. This is the second time we will be hanging around Shanghai, which is fine because at least we will be relaxing. It’s going to be a great year.


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