On my last visit to Shanghai in September this year, I realized something. I am utterly in love with the city.
Shanghai has been my first.
(The first time I visited Shanghai is now actually 9 years ago- Since then I have visited often)
My first country I visited in Asia.
My first proper Chinese Food (I freakin’ love it)
The first time I actually started praying while sitting in a Taxi (right, left, through the middle…speed, stop..ups a red traffic light)
The first country(not at home) where I went on Day Trips all alone without my family.
My first Skyscrapers.
The first time people peeked over my shoulder to see what I am buying in the supermarket.
The first time I didn’t care about traffic lights.
My first time holiday not in an All-Inclusive Hotel at the Beach.
The first place where nobody seemed to understand a word I was saying.
The first place where I had to use a squatting toilet.
The first place that tought me that just because something is different it isn’t wrong.
I am in love with Shanghai because it made me fall in love with Travel, with Discovery, with Adventure and ultimately with China.
Not so long ago I lived in Shanghai for 4 month. I was so disappointed by how western it became and how not chinese. But leaving it felt like leaving home and every time I go back I feel like I’ve just came home.
Shanghai isn’t the most interesting city for tourists, nor the most charming , but definitely the most inspiring.
Nothing seems impossible.
Change and Possibility lies around every corner. The moment you step onto the Bund you realize how small and insignificant you are. But you also realize what humans are able to create.
I miss walking along the Bund at night, when half of Shanghai went to sleep and there is a silence so magical, that it just blows away all the noise, screaming and honking horns of the Daily Buzz.
I miss going out, meeting lots of great people, grabbing a taxi home and finishing the evening with at my favorite street barbeque place or grabbing some fried noodles for the hangover the next morning.
I miss walking down the roads and feeling like I actually belong there, without people pointing at me or taking random pictures. Because in Shanghai I am just another person. Nobody cares for my skin color.
I miss being able to eat in a different restaurant every day of the year, for the next 5 years and still not having tried them all.
I miss waking up early or coming home very late and strolling through the park, while the locals do Tai Chi or take a walk.
I miss my Starbucks at every corner (What can I say, coffee, comfy seats and free wi-fi, a Bloggers dream).
I miss wandering in a Seven/Eleven to get those great rice onigris, filled with tuna, after a hangover.
I miss being able to find any food, from all places of the world, if I had a craving for something special.
2012 after my first stay in a Kung Fu school I came to Shanghai for a couple of days.
It was pouring down rain. I still couldn’t help it. I had to go to the Bund. It was tradition. So I ran. All the way down East Nanjing Road. When I arrived I was soaked. But the view was worth it. Clouds hiding the tops of the skyscrapers. It was already dark. Just the lights made it possible to guess where the buildings where ending. The Bund was empty. The rain making everything soft and dreamy. These are the moments that make you feel alive.
The moment when you throw out all reason and you just live and breathe.
Thank you so much Shanghai.
You where my first for so many things. And a woman never forgets her first. You inspired me, you made me cry, you made me laugh, you made me love.
And I am proud to call you home.
Who knows, maybe at some point I will be back again, to stay. At least for a while, before my journey continues somewhere else.
I am in love with Shanghai and I am grateful that it keeps on welcoming me!