Life Lately: Fall 2017

November 22, 2017
It seems like it's about that time where I recap my life and what I've been doing lately, so here goes nothing.

* My friend Georgina and I went to a beauty event called Glamour Lab where we had a certain number of hours to rotate stations. Each station had a different beauty treatment to try. I ended up getting a facial, an IPL treatment, my hair styled, a hand massage, and fake eyelashes. This was all for about $60 total, which was the price of the ticket to get in. The event was located in the Wanda Reign Hotel, which was beyond nice. Cocktails and some snacks were also included. As Georgina pointed out, we were much too busy going from station to station to be bothered with the cocktails. We left with a gift bag, and on top of that, I ended up winning a $90 bottle of perfume. 

Afterwards, we decided to walk along the Bund. Living in Shanghai that sounds like no big deal, but I hadn't walked along the Bund since before my surgery in May 2016! My last trip there was a field trip to the aquarium with my old class. Last year I didn't get out much and then when I did go out, I just never ventured out that far. It was a good feeling to see the Shanghai skyline in person even though it was a rather dreary day weather-wise. We left before it was all lit up, so that just means I'll need to go back again soon. Since we don't usually hang out in that area, we weren't too sure where to go, so we hopped in a Didi and went to Kartel, a wine bar with a great rooftop area. We enjoyed some sangria and talked about our life plans for next year.

* I got back in touch with my old friend Hannah. She sent me a hand-written card, which was so thoughtful. We never meant to fall out of touch, but we just don't live near each other and hadn't seen each other in person since about 2004. Hannah used to be a big part of my life because we lived in Korea together my first year and she was one of my best travel buddies. She did mention possibly flying out to visit me in Shanghai sometime, which of course she'd be more than welcome.

* Speaking of visitors, I will get my very first visitor in about two weeks! I am beyond excited to see my close friend Amy who is flying out from Los Angeles to see me for the weekend. She said she didn't realize flights were so cheap from L.A. and said whatever we didn't get to do this time could be done on her next trip to Shanghai. She is already planning a next time!! It will be so wonderful to see her again--we've been friends for almost 20 years, but we haven't been able to see each other for the past few years.

* In other news, a few weeks ago Georgina had a Halloween party in our building. For some reason, I was really nervous about going. Probably because a lot of people were going that I didn't know very well and I'm bad at small talk. It ended up being really fun and of course we went out afterwards, too. I was just happy because two of my own friends jumped when they saw me and didn't recognize me in my costume. They thought I was my friend's friend. I think that was the first time I ever really scared anyone on Halloween, so I deem it a success. For our school Halloween dress up day, Lauren and I were matching superheroes. Some of my students got a kick out of my costume. Sometimes you have to love how easily amused first graders are.

* Tara, Kelcey, and I decided to start a book club. The first book is China Rich Girlfriend which we all wanted to read since we're living in China and all. The three of us have a We Chat group to talk about the book and will meet at the end to discuss it. I have never been part of a book club, but this one is just small and no pressure.

* I tried out three new restaurants in Shanghai recently: The Rooster, Palmetto, and The Shed. When my friends heard I had never been to The Rooster, they laughed at me because apparently they go all the time for the brunch deals. While I was there, I had my first Bloody Mary in life. The group I was with didn't understand why I hadn't tried one before and said something along the lines of, "You've lived three lives and you never had a Bloody Mary!? We can't believe it!" It was a nice break from the sickeningly sweet cocktails I usually have.

Palmetto was great because it's one of the few places in Shanghai that serves Southern food. I have to say that I didn't like the picture of the alligator staring at me while I ate because it brought back bad memories of South Carolina, but the food was worth the trip: hush puppies, boiled peanuts, and fried chicken. Yes, please. I already have plans to go back with one of my Southern friends. Another group of friends has a Wednesday wings tradition at The Shed. Since one of the locations is quite close to where I live, I decided to check it out. That group pretty much goes every week, so I know I'll be back sooner or later. It's a great treat to help break up the middle of the week.

* Tara and I also went to a chili cookoff at Cages that some teachers at our school were participating in. I guess they won the competition last year or the year before. Since Tara had to tutor, we decided to go right when it opened, which ended up working to our advantage because later on in the day many of the groups ran out of chili. We sampled probably ten different kinds of chili and never knew there could be that many different twists on the dish. My favorite one was a sweeter kind with cornbread on the top, but of course, we voted for our friends.

* A friend of mine suggested that Lauren and I should try a meal delivery service called Better Bentos. Better Bentos has extremely healthy meals and for about $90 a week, I can get 5 lunches, 5 snacks, and 5 dinners delivered. After trying it out for a full week, Lauren and I were quite pleased with the quality of the food and decided to sign up again this week. It has been so nice not having to do dishes and think about what to do for my meals all week. On the weekends, I just eat like I normally would. I'm just doing it to be healthier because I don't think I'm getting the proper nutrients with how I've been eating. The first few days I had the Better Bentos meals I instantly felt like I had more energy.

That's my life in a nutshell. I'm learning to enjoy Shanghai again and am making progress on paying off more of my surgery debts and student loans while I'm here.

Would you ever try a meal delivery service?
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