Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's peach season here in Shanghai, and compliments of my friend Anne- I just finished eating one of these famous peaches. I have to say, it was the closest thing to chocolate I could eat and enjoy on such a level without actually eating chocolate. Thanks Anne! Now let's see if I can avoid the bag of peanut M&Ms shoved up in the spare bedroom closet... I think I hear them calling to me now.

Why the craving you wonder? Well, thanks to our newly Olympic-inspired fitness kick, Phil and I have started playing squash. (If Phil had his way, it would be synchronized swimming- but that's another story altogether.) We are in the midst of week two of our exercise-followed-by-a- game-of-squash routine, and the old metabolism has kicked into high gear; thus, making me want to eat everything in sight. Recognizing that I am no Michael Phelps (I heard that the man eats 12,000 calories a day!)- I am trying to resist such cravings.

Perhaps you have noticed my unusual number of references to the Olympics by now? It is my small way of acknowledging that the OLYMPICS ARE FINALLY OVER AND THE KINNEY HOUSEHOLD CAN RETURN TO NORMAL! I swear- if I hear another commentator, splash of a diver, whistle, jia you (Chinese "go-go), or anything else remotely related to the Olympics here- I will scream! OK- I feel better now.

Seriously though, I did enjoy the Olympics for the first week (admittedly, I loved the men's basketball the entire time). But after the first 7-10 days, I grew weary. I had what is commonly know as "Olympic Fatigue". One true sign of this "fatigue" is: twitching at the sound of water splashing or whistles blowing. Jokes aside- deep breath; it's all over.

I wonder what China will be like now that the Olympics are done in Beijing? I have often thought of this whole process leading up to the Olympic games like a bride who has focused so much on preparing for her wedding- that she never thinks of what will happen after the big day. Coming down from all the preparation, she finds herself depressed, unprepared, and feeling lost. Could this nation face a similar crash after the high?

I certainly hope not.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A sure sign that it's hot in the city...

I've been back for 2 weeks now. It's particularly strange to me how time has passed in the last two weeks. You know how people talk about time flying by while standing still? There have been points in my life where I felt this way, but I can say that I really truly feel this way right now. It almost feels like I have been stuck in an episode from the twilight zone. On one hand, it's like I just got back; on another, it's like I've been back for months.

My first week back was spent on the couch (thanks to the flu). My second week was spent making up for the month I was gone (and the week I was on the couch). I have successfully shoved a months worth of activities into one week. Needless to say, it's been tiring. Good, but tiring.

Being gone for the month of July was a nice break from Shanghai's summer heat. Until yesterday, I actually thought I might have avoided most of the suffocating heat. But alas, it has weighed it's ugly mass over the city. Just when you think it can't get hotter or more miserable- it does. One sure sign of this heat: men in nothing but their whitey tighties hanging it all out there for passersby to marvel at. And who can blame them really? 100 + degrees with equalling humidity, no air conditioning in their cramped little homes... I just might be coming out to the street in my undies looking for a little relief as well. OK, maybe not. Just trying to relate here.

Either way- it makes for interesting sightseeing and photos.

As soon as the heat lifts, I look forward to getting out and taking photos. I finally got a small camera to carry around at all times. I realize how many pictures I have missed because I didn't want to lug around the behemoth (which I love and appreciate greatly by the way). So as soon as I get the little camera back from a friend who has borrowed it, I will get back to taking pictures.

Until then...

Sunday, August 3, 2008


The last few days have been a haze- in both the city and my brain. The rain came yesterday and washed a bit of that haze away. This morning gives way to some sunshine, and with the help of coffee, some clarity.

I took it relatively easy over the weekend- working through jet-lag and getting my body re-adjusted. Today is Monday though, and it's time to get back into the swing of life in Shanghai; cleaning, unpacking, and tying up loose ends. In China- loose ends can become complicated unraveling threads if you're not careful. So, I will attempt in this one week, to get caught up on all things that have patiently waited for me during my absence- taking care not to turn any of the loose ends into massive unraveling threads.

Wish me well...

Friday, August 1, 2008

It's 5:40 am and I am not going back to sleep. The question is- do I want to commit to being awake for 15-16 hours today, and will my body allow for that? I guess I will eventually find out. Strategic coffee drinking combined with sufficient sun exposure (no napping!)- always helps on the first day in a new time zone. Coffee- here I come.

I am excited to be back in Shanghai. I enjoyed my time back in the US, but being away from my home space, husband, and routine- was taking its toll. I was definitely ready to settle back in.

I have learned that these trips home to the US should not be viewed as any kind of vacation. It never feels much like one anyway. There is always so much to do, so many people to see, and only enough time in the day to accomplish things.

For those of you who did not know we were coming home over the summer- our apologies. We actually weren't coming home for social visits on this trip. We had a family wedding and Phil had work in Tennessee. I stuck around for an extra 10 days to stock up on much needed items for Shanghai- and some good quality family time. Our goal is to go back to the US in December so we can spend more time with family and friends then.

Looking forward to getting into the city next week...