shanghai, china: reflection

View from The Bund!

View from The Bund!

As I mentioned in my “Perfect Imperfections” post, I took the time in Shanghai to recalibrate myself. I was feeling quite depleted and behind in a lot of things. I was excited to strike a balance and rest and catch up while also experiencing the city. This was the first time I felt myself accepting what I was feeling and wanting to do rather than stirring up anxiety of “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve.” I felt myself being present in each place and being okay with “missing out” on other things. I practiced reframing that spending the night in blogging instead of being out exploring was not missing out. I was rather listening to my inner voice and doing what was best for me at the time. It was such a relief to be productive instead of one foot in one foot out, not really anywhere!

I am learning so much about my anxiety, about self-love and about patience through my travels. I am learning that “this too shall pass,” emotions, both the good and the bad, come and go. I am learning to be present and enjoy each moment, speed humps and all. I am learning that most of the time things do not happen as we expect them to. I am learning that things are bound to “go wrong,” but how we let them go and positively move on is what matters. I am learning to let go: to let go of the negative thoughts in my head, of the plan I think I have. I am learning that I will have off days and off moods. I am learning my strength. When I first wrote this, I put “I have learned,” but then changed it to “I am learning.” I am constantly working on these things and applying my learnings as they become stronger and stronger a part of my actions.

Me at Yu Garden

Me at Yu Garden


- My hostel had the best common area! There was a restaurant inside, big wooden tables, open windows with trees and a small pond outside, candles and light music. It was the best place to unwind and get inspired to blog!

- My hostel roommates were the sweetest, as always! This time, they did not speak English as they were from a rural part of China. It was amazing to communicate with each other via translator and such a beautiful thing how relationships can be built with any language via body language and smiles.

- The Bund!!! As always, I went to see the skyline change from day to night. It was so amazing and beautiful to walk along the promenade. On one side, stunning British architecture illuminated with light and on the other, the coolest skyline with boats floated along in the middle.

- WOW this metro!!! I was so overwhelmed, especially coming from Tokyo where it was so incredibly organized to being swarmed and crowded into a packed train. My first experience was seeing one guy almost being trampled pushing over another guy. Thankfully, two very nice people let me put my bag on top of theirs. So nice!!

- Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition and Shanghai National Museum (such great history and artifacts of the Chinese culture)

- Walking through Old Town and seeing the juxtaposition of new and old architecture together. The red and gold architecture in Old Shanghai took my breath away.

- The area by Yu Garden is so much fun! I felt the energy of the Chinese culture all around me. Unfortunately, I was just minutes late for the garden, however, I got to walk through the winding streets and bridges, observing the dragons and tea houses and gardens and dumplings. I could’ve spent all of my time here. It was so beautiful and zen!!

- The French Concession neighborhood is super nice- filled with amazing food and design. As I walked through, it felt very Washington DC to me in some ways. I explored cafes doubled as galleries, had a vegan wrap (yes!! Vegetables! Yes! Vegan!) and strolled the streets admiring the typography and creativity.

- Continued amazing consumption of gummies.

- On my last night, I decided to switch from the hostel to a hotel by the airport as I had an incredibly early flight. I did not entirely know what I was getting into as it took over two hours to get from the airport to hotel (only 2 miles away). The language barrier and lack of a phone made it difficult to find the shuttle. Once I did and arrived at a nice hotel, I felt at peace. I had not been in a room by myself in awhile and it was so nice to feel clean and rested. I was even able to remedy a bit more my allergic reaction and hives from my bug bites. These are very minor hiccups and problems that I am unlucky to have that come with travel, however, they are a part of it and a part of life. I am grateful for all of the amazing experiences but also the strength gained from the tougher ones, as well.

Lauren WittigComment