Showing posts from May, 2015

Three years in Shanghai

On the morning of May 24, 2012, my son Ben got the worst stomach ache of his life. 

He was doubled over in pain, hysterically crying and barely able to breathe. This was not good timing for two reasons. First, our landlord had come in from Mainland China to our apartment to do a final walk-through and collect our keys, and we were due momentarily to board a plane from Macau to Shanghai, our new home.

It was not going well. We had previously purchased a large refrigerator for our apartment, which the landlord had promised to reimburse from our deposit upon move out, and he was suddenly not willing to give us a cent. I was furious, as we'd had ample time to sell the fridge to recoup our expense if he didn't want it, but he'd insisted he'd pay for it, right up until that day. I was so furious, that I threatened to push the fridge across the kitchen and living room, right onto the balcony and then right over the balcony of our 8th floor home. If we didn't get to sell i…

Walk in Shanghai

It's grey and rainy and humid and depressing today in Shanghai. Plus, for whatever reason, there is a bit of a stench coming off the river (I'll remember Shanghai by its smells as much as its sights).

This building below, which is the only thing that blocks our (normally) fabulous view of the Huangpu River, has stood mostly vacant since we've lived here. Next week will mark three years in Shanghai for us (hello record!), and there are no more than five floors with lights on at night. There are many "ghost towns" in China, where major construction has happened and then was abandoned, leaving the shell of a city totally empty (there is one such town about an hour from my house), but it's odd to see something so very empty right smack in the middle of this bustling, vibrant city. Especially a building that has some of the very best views anyone could ever hope for in Shanghai. It's a little eerie. 

And speaking of eerie, may I present this video which is bot…

Coming Attractions: Disney Store in Shanghai

There's still no official opening date set for Shanghai Disneyland (there is a vague Spring-ish/Summer-ish 2016 rumor floating around the interwebs). But I can say that there is something huge on the Disney radar about to drop here in Shanghai this month.

They did a good job trying to cover the sign up, huh? Nothing to see here folks...
And when I say huge, I truly mean it. Opening on May 20th of this month, this is the world's largest flagship Disney Store. I took the photo above last Sunday on Mother's Day. Looks like they still have some work to do on the outside, hopefully the inside looks a little more complete! And just in case you are not really impressed with the size of this store, let me show you an artist's rendering from a bird's eye view:

In the photo I took, I was standing on the white elevated walk way you see on the bottom edge of the rendering, looking down at the courtyard. The location is amazing, it's right smack in the middle of downtown Sha…

Oh Mama!

Oh Mother's Day... A day with joy and tension and happiness and mourning. I love being celebrated, but my preference would be birthdays, where the honor comes from simply surviving another year. It's hard to feel comfortable being celebrated as a mom when just this year three friend celebrated with positive pregnancy tests, filled with hope and expectation, only to later find the pregnancy ending too soon to result in that dreamt of child, which will now stay only as a dream. How must they feel on a day where we celebrate moms, when they have carried life within them, but never in their arms? My heart feels heavy even while I was spoiled this weekend with fancy meals, thoughtful small gifts, and handwritten cards from the boys who made me a mama and their dad. 
This actually feels like a uniquely "mom" problem... Making sure everyone has enough, putting yourself second so someone else can get what they need. Perhaps because we're well versed in loss, from lost sle…


Sorry guys. We had the most fabulous time in America for the month of February, and then our return to Shanghai was met with some of the most challenging days, which stretched into weeks, and ended up being months. Hello May, how you doing?

Shang-Low is what everyone calls those days here in Shanghai which are not Shang-high days. And we sure have had our share recently. From personal loss I won't go into here, the devastating discovery of a young family member's cancer, career frustration, a frightening health scare in my own son, to missing the people we've only been able to see twice in the last four years, it was just a constant stream of things causing pain and sorrow. So many that we were honestly ready to pack it up and leave. But leaving felt like it would be such a failure. We wouldn't be here to see the opening of the project that has kept us here the last three years. We'd be leaving at a low point instead of going out on top. It was a weird moment to be…