What has four months here taught me?
Well I know I love Chinese cuisine. I love the spiciness of Shangainese cooking, loaded with dried peppers and lots of garlic, it certainly lets you know you've eaten a spicy meal. I also like Szechuan food. It is a bit different, as the spicy szechaun peppers have the ability to leave your lips and mouth numb, sounds scary but not really, it is quite delicious.
Then there is the Vietnamese, Korean and Thai but to name but a few cuisines we can be tucking into here in Shanghai. I am having a lot of fun getting to know them, to appreciate the differences in flavours, and find the dishes I prefer and want to eat again and again. I could be here a while.
I have now fully mastered crossing the roads. Seeing motor cycles coming towards me on the crossing, when it is showing the green man, no longer strikes fear into me. The constant hooting of car horns is only letting you know they are there, giving me time to get out of the way. It is still an adventure here everyday, especially when crossing busy roads, but I think I'm doing ok, nothing hit me so far at least!
I now know that learning Chinese is possible. Before we came I really doubted my ability to learn this weird and strange sounding language. However slowly, ever so slowly, I am making in roads. I do have to spend quite a bit of time studying, but I am reaping the rewards. Every time I shop I am delighted when I am understood. I don't always know what they say back to me, but I can make out prices when spoken, which was a great step forward. So day to day simple stuff I am doing ok with. I can order food and drink, what I want anyway. I can ask to try on clothes, ask for colours, sizes and prices, so again important stuff. Time, dates, days are also within my capabilities, which helps when I want Jack to pick me up. So I will carry on and hopefully one day I will feel I have cracked it. No one said this would be easy, but probably not as difficult as I had suspected.
I love shopping in my local markets, and as during the heat of a Shanghai summer fruit and veg don't last too long, so regular trips are essential. I love these trips, I have enjoyed getting to know the stallholders, they not only help me with my choices, but also with my Chinese. It is always a fun trip. Ok so I still feel a bit uneasy when I see the live produce, but I guess that is just so different from our sanitised supermarkets at home, it will take a bit of getting used to. I did actually buy live crayfish a couple of weeks ago. No different from lobster. They were delicious.
So as I head into the next few months it is with anticipation and excitement. I know there is a lot more to be discovered, and a lot more hurdles to overcome. I will carry on learning new skills, forging new friendships and try to enjoy every minute, and make the best of every opportunity that comes my way.
My love affair with China continues, and hopefully it will continue to do so. With the friendliness if the Chinese people, the diversity of the city and the wonderful hot summer days I will be doing my best to soak it all up.