Sitting down in my girlfriend's apartment as the heat from the AC blows against my back. The muscles in my neck strain. Little reminders of the BJJ sessions I've started. Yellow letters burn through the white screen of my laptop. "Add a Catchy Title". Thoughts slowly push through the slush of my brain.
"18 Days till Christmas"
"7 Days in Shanghai"
"Wonderful Week in Shanghai"
Like a hook catching a fish, my train of thought is yanked to a stop. "How many times have I used Shanghai when writing on this site?" Curiosity overtakes my monkey mind. The next half hour flashes by as my fingers type and click through my website. The answer? A lot. All the way back in 2018 on my old blog, was the start of Shanghai becoming my "second home". It started with 'Its been a while'
Then there was 'I'm back in China' as well as many other Shanghai related posts at that time.
After that there was a small hiatus until my short return to Shanghai for "Golden Week".
The big Kung Fu journey began in Shanghai as well with, 'Traveling in Shanghai'. I stayed in Shanghai for a month before heading of to Maling Shaolin Kung Fu School.
Then came the end of my Kung Fu journey where I capped it off with another couple month stay in Shanghai with... 'In Shanghai Again'.
Even during my short adventure in Thailand, I went to Shanghai again for a week in, 'Hello Shanghai!'.
This city has been a source of adventure, entertainment, and good food each and every time. Living high within the looming apartment buildings; I started this new website and blog. Tucked into a small office space I learned to love language. Hidden away within the alleys of Tian Zi Fang, I rediscovered my passion for Kung Fu. It was through Shanghai's airports, metros, buses, and trains where my wanderlust began to bloom.
Lost in the Streets, Lost in Thought
Although I've stepped foot in this city many times over, I can't help but feel like a stranger. The maze of streets walled by towering buildings creates a labyrinth in my mind. Within these walls are shops, stores, and businesses that have a constant flow of people no matter the time of day. The only bread crumb that lets me navigate this place are the street signs written in a language now all to familiar to me. Maybe my poor sense of direction amplifies the winding allure of the city. Or maybe it's due to me not being accustomed to city life.
Observing the locals sparks curiosity in me. "What is it like to just live in this city?" Images of growing up in a city this large flood into my subconscious. Living in a big and ever changing place seems exciting. Learning the roads and districts (which are towns in of them selves). The ever changing shops and businesses. A transforming city that rebuilds itself to become new every few years.
Looking out the smudged window to the hazy night sky let's me know that this city does have something missing. A gray night sky missing the twinkling of stars. I think back to my many nights working odd jobs on odd shifts. Heading home with heavy eyes looking out. Crystals dotting the sky with their owns designs. Distant silhouettes of those silent souls out at night. The chilling night breeze that would caress my face in welcome. All mixing with the quietude that one can only get at night.
Pair that with a roaring fire and family. You have the perfect way to pass time.
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This blog post was written during my first week in Shanghai as I try to figure out the purpose of this next adventure. Finished on 12/8/23 at 11:37 am.