Week 1: Discoveries
My wonderful journey in Shanghai had taken flight! I was extremely excited to be in the land of Xiaolongbao (famous Shanghainese delicacy) and greeted by Internships China at the airport. One week back in and it was really heart-warming.
Being in a foreign land all by myself, Internships China really did a great job in understanding interns’ needs, or rather, ensuring a great start to my new embarkation. It was raining when I arrived and was told that the typhoon would be here to visit in the next couple of days and I thought to myself, “I am totally not prepared for this” but the hospitality from Internships China and the new friends I’d made quickly erased the dull thoughts.
Coming from a multicultural Asian country, there was not much of a culture shock. But certainly, there are differences which make Shanghai unique in its own physique. Well, I shall not be a spoiler and will let all you prospective interns live and experience the city and tell the story yourself. But fret not, it is certainly nothing awful.
On Saturday, Internships China organized a mini city tour for us and we went to Yuyuan and tried some of the local snacks! Xiaolongbao, Shengjian, Custard bun and Tangyuan. Most of the snacks were familiar to me, but the taste differed from what I’m used to back at home. I am glad I tried the authentic flavours in Shanghai!
We went to other must-see-places and I particularly liked the Marriage Market. The area was flooded with parents, CVs, more parents and more CVs. I was amazed at the number of parents who were there, armed with their children’s resume splattered with eye catching qualifications. It was definitely an eye-opener and an interesting sight!
On Sunday, I decided to explore this beautiful city by myself. I was looking through the list of places I had planned back at home and settled on Longhua Temple for the day. According to Google, it is one of the most famous tourist attractions but, when I got there, I was taken aback by its vicinity – residential houses and local Chinese aplenty; and there were hardly any foreigners. It felt odd because of the expectations I had held, but this feeling did not last long as I was kept in awe and captivated by the beautiful Pagoda and the awesomely structure Temple.
I spent a couple of hours soaking in the peace and tranquillity of this temple (I hope I do not give off a nerdy-boring-personality). I also tried the vegetarian noodles over at the temple! Vegetarian noodles with a view! (Note: It is hard to get such a strategic spot during peak hours and I am absolutely not a vegetarian fan but I am glad I decided to give a try.)
New discoveries: I am pretty familiar with Buddhism and its practices. But in Shanghai, prayer procedures and offerings were done differently and I was glad to be part of this new experience.
Mini accomplishment: Petite by nature, I managed to lug 8 litres of water from Tesco to my apartment, by myself, without a slight complain. Never knew I was able of that.
So many things happened during this one week. From being independent to discovering new stuff about myself; this week has indeed been a pleasant and joyful one. So to all prospective interns, be open, be ready to accept new challenges and new food. Most importantly, HAVE FUN.