My Golden Week in Shanghai

October 17, 2016
Sadly, I couldn't schedule any trips for our week off from work during China's Golden Week, which took place the first week of October. I'm just not well enough yet due to my back surgery. On the bright side, I think this is going to be the last time I have to sit back and miss out on traveling during my time off of work.

The first order of business was to move back into my original apartment. My bosses let me borrow one of the apartments on the downstairs floor while I was in the earlier stages of my recovery. Boy, did I need to have that apartment. I live on the top floor, and there's no elevator in my building, so I'm really glad I didn't have to struggle with the steps all summer. Rachael, Steven, and my pal Lauren all offered to help me pack up and move. Such great friends, right? I physically could not have lifted my belongings without them. On the way, Rachael ran into another one of our friends and he offered to help, too. It didn't even take as long as we had anticipated, and it's beyond wonderful to be back in my own apartment! It's quieter, there aren't any insects (first floor apartment problems), I have access to all my stuff, and it just feels like I'm finally home. It's crazy to think that what I thought would be a weekend trip away from my apartment turned into being me gone from my own place for five months!

I spent about a full day unpacking and organizing and getting rid of stuff. My apartment is looking better than it did last year, too. Scott left me some stuff, and a guy I used to work with left me his couch, so it feels cozier for sure. 

One day during the break, I met Steven and the two of us went to a pop-up restaurant in Shanghai called Yogalicious. I guess the restaurant is only going to be open until the end of October (??). I'd never been to a pop-up restaurant before, but it makes me feel cool and trendy, ha ha. This rooftop restaurant serves all kinds of healthy acai bowls. Steven opted for one called Sunrise, which was a blend of tropical fruits mixed with cashew milk, but it had an icy consistency. I chose one called Unplugged, which was made with acai, dates, cacao powder, and banana. I was a little worried because Steven seemed apprehensive about Yogalicious at first, but in the end we both raved about our bowls, and hope to make it out there sometime before it closes its doors. It's a nice place to sit and chill if the weather's nice, and we liked the view, too. Afterwards, we decided to get foot massages at one of our favorite nail salons, Flower Fingers.

On a different day, my co-teacher took me out for lunch at a Japanese restaurant called Uo Kura. She had actually planned on taking me there for my birthday in April, but we had to postpone it because of my operation. The restaurant served up some delicious food. We had slices of beef that were cooked right in front of us, oysters, sushi rolls, soup, and fish. We went for lunch, but it looked pretty upscale. As with many restaurants in Japan, we were able to get a private area to sit in, and when my back hurt, I could simply lie down on the long bench. The branch of Uo Kura we went to was located by the Sinan Mansions, a bunch of gorgeously renovated colonial mansions, most of which now house various restaurants and businesses. It's not a large area to explore, but we spent about 20 minutes slowly walking around and looking at the different buildings. I was just glad to have been to an area of Shanghai I'd never been to before.

My friend Lauren and I met up another day and had coffee in Jing'an. The coffee shop we wanted to go to was closed for the holiday, so we ended up just having coffee in this place that was basically a hair salon, but that also served coffee up front. Afterwards, we went to a shopping mall, had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, and then headed to Caojiadu Flower Market. We had been wanting to go since last year, and finally had the time to do so. I picked up a bouquet of fresh flowers and a snazzy royal blue vase as well as two mini potted plants for my apartment. We had fun shopping for plants, taking selfies, and browsing the large selection of flowers from various vendors. Orchids were quite popular there, but my students' parents actually got me a gorgeous potted orchid as a Mid-Autumn Festival gift, so I wasn't really looking for any. Finally, Lauren and I found an area of Shanghai where a lot of Koreans live and were able to eat some Korean food. I picked dol sot bip bim bap, one of my favorite dishes. There was a food shop where we could stock up on our Korean staples to take with us, and we both left with some kimchi jigae and kimbap. Like myself, Lauren taught in Korea for three years, so we are going to head back to that restaurant/shop once we start craving more Korean food, which, let's face it...We're always wanting to have more Korean food!

For the rest of the break, I just rested a lot. When I wasn't resting, unfortunately I did have to do a lot of work for school. I was a little bitter about that, honestly. At least it's done now, and I won't have to re-write lessons for everyone until next semester. I also went out to eat twice more with different groups of friends. Besides the working part, I was quite satisfied with my break. Last year for this break, Scott and I went to Guilin, got food poisoning, had gross accommodation, and got stuck in a typhoon. We still made the most of it, but overall I was happy to have stayed in Shanghai. I didn't compromise my health and I saved money!

What would you right now if you had a staycation?
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