Four months later…

It’s been about four months now that I’ve been abroad and I am officially flying back to good old ‘Merica today!  I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by but I am extremely excited to be going back home.

I just spent two weeks in the Philippines on a solo backpacking trip and had THE most amazing time.  It was my first time ever traveling alone and I couldn’t be more thankful for how things turned out.  I was lucky to enough to have met some amazing people along the way and my party of one quickly became parties of two, four and more along the way.  It was an unforgettable experience and I can’t wait to get back there to explore more of the beautiful country.  I’ll be blogging about my trip later on, but here’s a little photo of the dream life I was living for the past two weeks.

Image

Puka Beach on Boracay Island

Before I take of on my long journey home, I want to reminisce about my time in Shanghai.  Over the three months or so I’ve been living here, I have been slowly but surely compiling the things I’ll miss most about this swanky city, along with a few things I won’t exactly miss.  Some of these items will need some explaining, so bear with me.

First, let’s get the negative out of the way.

What I won’t miss about life in Shanghai:

1.  People openly picking their noses in public (Read: He/she looks you straight in the eye and continues to dig for gold with a certain sense of urgency that makes me feel a level of discomfort that could never be explained.)

2. Finding puddles of pee on my morning and afternoon stroll through the metro station.  (I’ll leave that little image with you for a moment.)

3. Not being able to communicate with the locals.  Ever.  (My “Mandarin” consists of about ten words.)

4.  The horns.  (Cars, scooters, bikes, pretty much anyone not walking will honk and they will honk a lottttt.  I counted 34 honks during my 10-minute cab ride the other day.  This is not a joke.)

5. Unidentifiable smells everywhere I go. (Like, everywhere.)

6.  The air.  (The combination of pollution and humidity makes for some rough days.)

7. Blatant stares from anyone and everyone. (Elevator eyes. All.  Day.  Long.  I just have to remind myself that the stares would probably double if I were blond, so yeah, lucky me.)

8. Bruised hipbones from my “mattress.”  (I knew I should’ve splurged at Ikea!)

Now, what I will miss about life in Shanghai:

1. The metro.  (Anywhere you want to go in the city for less than $2 round trip.  Jackpot.)

2. Scooter rides. (Mornings I’m not straddling a stranger while weaving through traffic and running red lights will be so boring.)

3. $1 giant bottles of Tsing Tao.

4. Fruit markets around every corner.

5. The most epic people watching ever.

6. Guilt-free Magnums. (Only because they’re less than a buck aaaaand I can’t read the nutrition label…ignorance is bliss.)

7.  Wagas. (More specifically their smoked salmon sandwich on sunflower bread.)

8. My bedroom window view. (21 floors up never looked so good.)

9. Being able to sing my heart out during every walk without a care in the world.

10. Meeting new people who are constantly teaching me new things, making me laugh and impressing me with their adventures and experiences around the world.

11. My students.  (Their sweetness, curiosity and intelligence never cease to amaze me.)

I also decided to make a quick list of the things I’ve missed the most from home.  This list could’ve gone on for days, but I’ll spare you!

What I’m looking forward to back home:

1. My family, Sam and friends.

2. Puppy cuddles with Sadie.

3. Real Mexican food.

4. Being able to speak the local language.

5. Target, CVS and Trader Joe’s.

6. Being able to read labels on the items I buy. (Not knowing if you’re buying shampoo or body wash is kind of a bummer.)

7. Clean air and clear skies.

8. Backyard BBQs.

9.  American magazines.

10. My bed.

Fingers crossed for safe and easy travels! xoxo

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