Posts Tagged With: Shanghai

Repatriation Emotions

It has been a few weeks since I posted. I have been buried in a forever growing “To Do” list. The end of the school year is coming fast, like a runaway train without any brakes. This year all the major events came at the end of the year right in the middle of assessments and report writing. Add packing and moving to quickly increase your stress level. My work is busy, to put it kindly, so I was smart and asked to extend my stay a week after school ends. I could worry about the majority of packing after all the school stuff was taken care of. Well as Murphy’s Law would have it Murphy threw a monkey wrench in those plans. Another teacher is not able to stay at their apartment and needs to move; you guessed it into ours. They wanted to physically move things at the end of May and I said NO WAY! Right in the middle of reports I couldn’t clear out our spare room and have all of our packing things spread all over the rest of the living space. At least the spare room I can avoid and close the door.

Them needing to move has been an added stress that could have been easily avoided. But remember this is China and HR and they don’t think about life and people, they think about what looks good on paper. My weekends have been spent between home and school sorting, packing, selling and giving away. Time is ticking down and I am afraid soon it will explode with jobs left undone. Outwardly I am not showing stress, but inside my body is worried. It will get done, somehow it always does. The unfortunate expense is the enjoyment of the last few weeks in exploring a city we are about to leave forever.

The sun is setting on our Shanghai life

The sun is setting on our Shanghai life

Next weekend is a 3 day holiday and for months our little group planned an outing to a nice quiet city outside of Shanghai. Spending time with friends we are about to leave, exploring and relaxing was all well needed and deserved. However, we are all feeling the stresses and it was decided to cancel the trip and go out for the day in Shanghai. Allowing time at home for those import “To Do” list jobs. Part of me was disappointed, but secretly I was relieved.

Lots of emotions are happening right now, I feel almost bi-polar. I am looking forward to home, but something is tugging on me about Shanghai. The list of reasons to come home outweigh the list to stay, but I think I will mourn the city that was my home for 5 years.

I feel like Frederick from Leo Leoni’s book where I need to soak in all the colours, words and feelings so during those lonely times I can close my eyes and feel I am still here. It saddens me that we are too busy to get out and travel around to do this, so I must settle for the little day to day experiences.

I get a lump in my throat as I think this is the last time for…. These thoughts come more and more lately. June is finally here and those months have melted away into weeks. School is only days.

Life in China has changed me. Will I fit back into life back home or will I be that one piece of the puzzle that just doesn’t work?

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Categories: Canada, China, Chinese Adventures, teaching overseas | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Walk of Life

It is funny what you can find walking along and taking the time to notice. I know I shared some shots of unusual street life in Shanghai, but this was different. Walking through my compound it was a beautiful day – just perfect. Something caught my eye and I looked down…

Just off the main path I spotted something a little high and dry

Just off the main path I spotted something a little high and dry

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Ay Ay Captain

 

When I looked closer it even had a little passenger. I wonder what the story behind this little origami boat is? How did it get there? What do you think?

Stay tuned….

 

 

 

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

Exchange of Scenery

I am leaving the Shanghai skyline behind for a few days in exchange for a new one; a change of scenery. I’ll post soon on the new vistas and views.

 

Stay tuned….

A view  of the glittering night sky from outside my apartment.

A view of the glittering night sky from outside my apartment.

 

 

 

 

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Early Bird Catches the Photo: WP Photo Challenge

If you get up early before the world awakes the quiet stillness surrounds you. I must admit I am more of a night owl, but early mornings are nice….sparingly. Sometimes they are forced upon me and that isn’t always a treat, but getting to see this rare sunrise in Shanghai from my balcony was.

Morning splendor

Morning splendor

Most times the sun rise is blocked by the neighbouring buildings, but a few short days a year, I get to share  the morning splendor as I wake early for work.

 

People flock to Angkor Wat to see the sun rise behind the ancient walls and temples. The early bird here gets the best spot to capture the view.

Early Bird catches the photo

Early Bird catches the photo

If you want to read about our trip to Angkor click on this link.

 

This past summer I was up early and enjoying a quiet house before everyone was up. Looking out as the sunrise was just coming up a little sparkle caught my eye. I noticed these amazing spider webs, covered in morning dew. A few minutes later, as the sun shifted, they became invisible once more. A lucky chance of an early morning to capture those pics. If you want to see more of the natural beauties click on this link here.

natures jewles

natures jewels

Be sure to visit Word Press for more examples of this theme.

Stay tuned for more…

 

Categories: Photography, unique experiences, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Blur -WP Photo Challenge

Blur… sometimes life moves so fast it is all a blur. If you try to capture it on film you lose focus. Last week we showed ephemeral (here and here); mine was lucky shots of a quick passing moment in focus. This week we are asked to show something in a blur. It could be purposely out of focus or accidentally out of focus with cool results. Usually I deleted such photos, but surprisingly I had a few tucked away.

Of course I had to show Willow. Many photos of her in a blur because she is always moving.

Willow in a blur

Willow in a blur

 

The next photo was an accident with the camera as it wouldn’t focus and was over exposed. Kinda cool effect of a busy alley way in Tianzifang.

Blur of Shanghai

soon Shanghai will only be a blur of memories

 

Lighted Pagoda

Lighted Pagoda

Last night we went out for dinner at this interesting restaurant. We go dropped off at the wrong location, but a happy accident since the view was great. As we waited for a ride to the correct location I snapped a few pictures of the lighted pagoda across this small lake. I purposely moved the camera to create blur and this cool effect.

Shanghai skyline

Shanghai skyline

The view of the Shanghai Skyline from our apartment is beautiful. I always pause and soak it all in because one day it will be a blur of memories. The clear sky with soft colours proved difficult to focus with the changing and flashing lights creating a blur.

Shanghai Totems of recycle piled high

Shanghai Totems of recycle piled high

Since we arrived 5 years ago we were stunned by the small motorised trikes piled high with things to be recycled. We always tried to get photos of them, but they move so quickly by the time you pull out a camera or smart phone they are gone. One night my husband spotted this one gaining on us as we sped by in a taxi. It is in such a blur that the bike and man is invisible. Something I am sure he would wish for in real life because the police have started to monitor these ‘totems’ and limit their height and movements.

I have kept some photos even though they are blurry because of the subject, memory or cool effect. What do you do with your blurry photos?

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Ephemeral -Shanghai Silly

Time and life is fleeting… As Ferris Bueller said “If you don’t stop and look around once and awhile – you will miss it.”  Our time in Shanghai has become ephemeral, fleeting and lasting for a short time. Sure it has been almost 5 years, but now we are down to months. Three more months. As I reflect and look around I try to soak up those sounds, smells and sights that I want to remember. What will I see and do for the last time? What do I want to hold onto? Counting down the days is bitter-sweet. I am excited to go home and start a new adventure, but want to savour the last days here too. Enjoy it while I can.

As you know there is always things in Shanghai that you may never see anywhere else. That awe and wonder is what made the little daily things fun. It kept us sane as we would laugh and say “Now that will make a good post!”. I didn’t want to lose that feeling, but after a few years many things became normal and part of the every day. Somethings still stood out and once I finally invested in a smart phone I was able to capture more of those fleeting moments that only could be seen to believed.

What do you notice about this picture?

What do you notice about this picture?

One day I was out walking and it was a beautiful sunny day. At the light we waited for it to turn green, so we could cross. A large truck did not advance when the light changed and as we stood waiting I realised the driver had his shoes off and feet on the dash. Ok…

I thought I had seen it all, but napping at the intersection coming off a major highway? NOW I have seen it all.

I thought I had seen it all, but napping at the intersection coming off a major highway? NOW I have seen it all.

as I crossed the street I noticed in fact he was sleeping at the intersection! Now that was worthy of going back and snapping a pic. Another Shanghai Silly, ephemeral…

What is the funniest thing you have seen at an intersection?

Stay tuned… and check out WP for other interpretations.

 

 

Categories: China, Chinese Adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Walls -WP Photo Challenge

I could show you yet another photo of the Great Wall in China, but you have seen it from me before. Just look up at my banner 😉 Instead I want to show you a lesser known part of China -Tianzifang (pronounced tea-anne -zzz fawn). In the old French Concession part of Shanghai is a maze of little streets. Once a thriving neighbourhood with tightly compact brick buildings, narrow streets and low rise buildings. Areas like this are now rare, from the days of old, as they have been demolished to make way for steel and glass modern skyscrapers. However, this area remains and has turned into a little gem. It is popular with the locals and expats and any nice weather weekend the streets are jam packed. Many unique shops housing handicrafts, galleries with works for sale and restaurants make it a wonderful day out. It is fun to poke around in the little shops looking at leather-bound books, purses and amazing photos of China. Tired feet? Stop at one of the many restaurants with a variety of food tastes from Thai, Indian and local fares. Adventurous and have a quirky sense of humour then try the restaurant called Toilet.

Over Chinese Holiday this year I stayed in Shanghai. A few of us wandered the streets of Tianzifang and I captured some interesting photos which, happen to fit the WP theme WALLS this week.

This sign was interesting and I think it is about the holiday and maybe fireworks related? I did see other signs saying no fireworks. If anyone out there that can translate please leave a comment below on what the sign is saying.

 

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This wall was very unique with the little bottles of grass growing. Decoration? Salad or food toppings? What do you think?

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This last one was a little graffiti maybe…? It was too cute, so I snapped a quick pic.

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If you are in Shanghai, or planning a visit and want to check it out here is the information:

Tianzifang In Chinese Characters 田子坊 and pinyin: Tiánzǐfāng

泰康路210弄, Huangpu, Shanghai, China. In English the address is Lane 210, Taikang Road.

It is a fairly cheap taxi ride even from Pudong (30-40 RMB or $6-8) and the metro is right across the street in a large shopping mall.

 

Stay tuned…

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Chinese Symmetry -WP Photo Challenge

When I take pictures I often follow the rule of thirds to make things more interesting. This causes difficultly when looking for pictures with symmetry. I took a rainy stroll around the block today and looked for things that created symmetry.

A street sign showing Chinese characters isn’t symmetrical, but some Chinese characters can be divided equally.

some Chinese characters are symmetrical

some Chinese characters are symmetrical

Wednesday is New Years Eve and Chinese lanterns and other decorations are popping up all around. The entrance to this shopping area was very symmetrical.

Chinese New Year decorations near City Shop and Yanlord Town

Chinese New Year decorations near City Shop and Yanlord Town

Expensive cars grace the streets in my neighbourhood and I noticed the grill of this high-end car to be symmetrical.

man made symmetry

man made symmetry

Look for what creates balance and symmetry in your neighbourhood. Find something? Post about on WP or tell us about in the comments below.

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: China, Culture, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Depth -WP Photo Challenge

Depth… can be so many things.

Say something deep – full of meaning and inspire others.

Show depth as in something far away.

Depth – maybe an unreachable goal, or something to be working towards.

Can buildings show depth? A view from below looking way up over 100 floors high.

World Financial Tower and Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai

World Financial Tower , New Shanghai Tower and Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai

Maybe if your head is in the clouds 😉

Can a horizon show depth? Maybe if you are dreaming about what lays beyond, or are pondering your future.

Subtle Sunset

Subtle Sunset

I like how this simple photo seems panoramic in this light just as the sun was fading away.  It seems to show depth of the never-ending Shanghai skyline, with the contrast of light and shadow.

It is a little chilly this week in Shanghai and all these shivers have shaken out my creative prose. To see more be sure to head over to Word Press.

 

 

Categories: China, Photography, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , ,

“A Little Polluted” -Shanghai Smog

The Shanghai Daily, a local newspaper, reported Shanghai weather January 25th as …a little polluted with temperatures reaching as high as 17c Saturday. I guess this is a new term to describe weather. It certainly has become part of my daily routine, check the weather and AQI before heading outside. Living in Shanghai over the last 5 years pollution has become more apparent. The first year we didn’t notice it much. The second year we found a few days uncomfortable and you could see it along the skyline. The third year we lived here levels became high where the sky looked an odd greenish grey. Being outside it irritated your eyes, nose and throat. Soon after our school started to report the levels to us and parents. If it is higher than 200 (pm2.5) children would be kept inside. The school also purchased air purifiers for the classrooms.

We started to see more bad air days and higher levels last year (2014). One day it reached a high well over 400, and some reports say closer to 500. Inside even with air purifiers at full speed a haze and acrid smelling air found its way into classrooms. This year we purchased an expensive air purifier for our apartment, despite us leaving in a few months. We decided our health was worth the expense.

The shot on the right shows a little blue sky…levels are around 200.

This weekend reports are saying Beijing, North of Shanghai (5 hours by speed train, few hours by plane) is unlivable due to the air quality. Beijing has always had the bad rap for air since it is in a valley and it is easier for the bad air to get trapped. Shanghai is now starting to see the problems Beijing has experienced, but without the same geography. The local government in Shanghai is trying to cut back on bad pollutants when winds are low and air quality indexes get high in hopes this will reduce the pollution levels in the city. Cleaner coal has been purchased, as coal is still a major producer of electricity here.

The shot of the right is zoomed in and you can just faintly make out the new Shanghai Tower.

My theory for bad air, around this time of year, is the holidays are soon approaching. Chinese New Year is the equivalent to our Christmas. Most businesses can shut for as long as 2 weeks, so workers can go home to celebrate with families. Shanghai has a large migrant community with people moving here to make larger wages or get work. My theory is there is an increase in production and manufacturing to make up for lost time. Is it possible to work over time, extra shifts and 24 hour rotations to stock pile products, so the world can keep on consuming? It may explain the sudden spike in higher levels. For example today at 8AM levels were low/normal for this time of year, around 140. The website I use to check classes that as “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”. By noon is was around 170, or Unhealthy. As I started to write this post it was 220, or Very Unhealthy. The latest update now pegs us at 337 or Hazardous. Our air cleaner is pumping hard and not able to keep “blue” showing clean air.

Screen Shot of AQI Jan. 25, 2015

Screen Shot of AQI Jan. 25, 2015

Of course we can say China has a problem, but so did north America 30-40 years ago. What changed? Most industry moved here. What isn’t made in China? Something to ponder….

Stay tuned…

Categories: China, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , ,