Shanghai has proven to be an astonishingly multifaceted city to live in. Seven months drifted by in a flash, and I find myself dumbfounded by how much time has passed since I first landed at Pudong Shanghai International Airport with my humungous luggage and a few phrases of Chinese. Thanks to all the advices from family and friends, my envisioned image of Shanghai was jam-packed with stereotypes. “For an entire year you won’t see the sky, have a good steak, drink milk and a mask is a must”- they say. So far, living in shanghai I’ve only worn a mask twice, have had a decent steak and drank surprisingly good old Devondale Aussie milk.
However, in hindsight I realised that the surprises and struggles made up the memorable moments of this experience. For fellow Shanghai International Students you know exactly what I’m talking about, yes the spitting. The sound of the initial “kaarrgh” from the throat signifies the inevitable incoming “splat”. We’ve all developed many theories, and thus far has decided on blaming the pollution. The metro experience was also one to remember. Due to prior warnings I came prepared. My backpack slung to the front, I was determined to conquer, and conquer I did. Like sardines in a can, I was certain not even another single passenger could fit in, but hey, to my surprise there’s always room for more. I waved goodbye to my stop then jumped on the next metro back. Now I’m proud to say that jumping on and off the metro is a ‘piece of cake!’. In the first few weeks here, I’ve discovered my love for the phrase “这个” (this). Just one simple phrase, but do not underestimate its’ value, it was a survival tool for quite a length of time.
Oh and I mustn’t forget the stinky tofu experience. Just a turn from the impressive City central Nanjing East road, are small alleyways, cluttered with street food stalls. The first stall I came across had ‘fried tofu’ or so I thought, with mouthwatering-looking sauces to go with it. Without hesitation, I took a mouthful…and many things happened after that shall never be spoken off.
The highlight of my experience so far is without doubt the short trips I squeezed in here and there throughout the semester. Now I can tick off Beijing, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Henan and most recently, Mt Yandang from the ‘I was here list’, but there’s still so much to see and so little time. Initially, overwhelmed by culture shock and homesickness, the prospects of being here one year seemed endless, now I find myself wishing if only I had more time.
Ratha Ang – 11029547