Fun weekend in Shanghai. Not Beijing. I had a few technical difficulties, a run in with the police, a change of heart in my life plan, and a trip to a water village all in one weekend!
Remember my broken iphone? I booked an appointment at the Genius bar in the Pudong Apple Store. When I got off the subway, I glanced around looking for the staple glass box full of apple gadjets and colored advertisements, only to find a cylindrical glass tube with an apple on it in the middle of a concrete platform. I hadn’t realized that the pudong apple store was literally like going into some super hero’s secret headquarters. I walked towards the glass tube and a security man in black greeted me as I descended down a glass corkscrew staircase into an apple store wonderland. after waiting the standard extra twenty minutes after a scheduled appointment time it was finally my turn. I walked up to the genius, relieved that my phone would finally be fixed only to have the following dialouge:
Me: Hi, thanks for helping. I went to the xu jia hui electronics market and they took the phone apart claiming the screen was broken. It still doesnt work but is there anything you can do to fix it?
Genius: Did you know that this is a first generation iphone?
Me: Yes, it is an old one that I am using during my summer in China
Genius: Did you also know that China never had the Iphone 1st generation? This piece of technology is unknown to us, we don’t know how to help you.
Me: No. If I had known that I would not have come all the way to pudong on the subway.
Genius: Can I interest you in the iphone 4?
What I said in my head: forgive me for assuming a spaceship apple store would be able to handle a screen malfunction….and I guess I forgot that China might as well have been the third world five years ago.
What I said actually: well thanks for your time. maybe your store should look into training for this particular piece of obsolete technology.
Needless to say, I was frustrated. But I have learned to embrace the good and the bad with China, and always roll with the punches.
Run in with the Police
It makes me sound way more rebellious than what actually happened. Friday night we were at a bar that got raided by the police looking for insight into a drug ring. They moved from person to person taking down numbers, asking for passports, and sometimes asking if we had seen a particular looking person. I was apart from the group of people that I came with when the police showed up, so while they were able to successfully hide away from the police at the bar, I got hounded by two officers. They asked me for my number and passport. Temporarily forgetting where I was I told them that I didn’t have to give it to them if they didnt have a reason. They replied, yes as a matter a fact you do. So I sullenly wrote down my name and a fake number before finding my group again and enjoying the rest of the night.
Life Plan Under Consideration
The people I have lived with the past six weeks have had a real impact on my perspective. When I first arrived in China, I thought the internship would clarify why I wanted to go to law school and work internationally right when I got out of college. I would spend my twenties working and settling down into a comfortable lifestyle. Then, the thrill of adventure and the experience of meeting new people and exposure to different things made me wonder if I was really cut out for life in the norm. Then, I spent a morning and a long bus ride talking to my roommates about their travel experiences. When they asked me initially what I wanted to do with my twenties, I had no real answer. I love law and politics, I love writing, I love travel, the last two years I spent in my humanities class absolutely rocked my world, of course I love Asia and Chinese, just to name a few things. Then they rephrased the question. When you look back on this period of your life , what do you want to be able to say you have done? My roommates run the gamut between 21-34, here is a brief list of their experiences that they have had just in their twenties:
traveled to 47 countries
living in Thailand, Columbia, France, South East Asia, Jamaica, India (none of which was their home countries)
fluency in 3-5 languages
backpacking through Europe
motorcycling through Laos
sleeping at base camp of Mount Everest
completion of a master’s degree
Their network extends over oceans and mountains, and their stories are unending. Living has been easy sometimes, (in Building 69 for example) and sometimes they have had only a few bucks in their bank account and they had to take a shower in the trevi fountain. Either way, their carpe diem attitude and incredible experiences has left me to reconsider what I want to have accomplished in my twenties. I have heard countless adults say they wish they had traveled more, or learned a second language when they still could. The people in building 69 are doing just that. They are ambitious, they know how to budget better than scrooge, they are more resourceful and quick minded than anyone I know, but they are putting off settling down and committing to the daily grind for an adventure of a lifetime. And why not? This is the only time in my life where I am going to be at the peak of health, without any particular obligations, with an insatiable appetite for adventure and experience that will educate me in ways that college and work cannot. This is the time in my life when I actually can drop everything and go teach english in Bogota Columbia before saving up to go travel across india (Logan). Its the time in your life where traveling doesn’t have to be spending money to stay at a nice hotel, but can be defined by hostels and couch surfing. I have always had lofty travel goals/dreams, but I have never considered that they could actually be a reality, now that I see people living it successfully, I am thinking maybe I should take the time to write a few goals down that I need to accomplish in the next decade of my life:
climb something tall
see south america
by the end of it…speak two languages in addition to english. One being chinese.
write something other people want to read (well, besides a travel blog)
I think law school is definitely in the cards, but there are a few life experiences that I need to have before 80 hour work weeks, power suits, and pumps. I am giving myself through my sister’s fifth year capstone in Asia to cure my adventure bug. But if I don’t take advantage of this crossroads in my life, I will always wonder, what I could have fit into the wonderful decade we call our twenties.
and so begins my quest to save up enough money by the end of senior year and take my LSAT….
and I do hope I have not given my father a heart attack after reading this. We haven’t talked in a few days, and he might think I have gone off the deep end. Dad- I promise my history degree is going to make big waves someday in my career.
this post is already so long that I will be brief. The water village was gorgeous, a little like being in a chinese hippy town/venice. I took a lot of pictures and video that will be up on facebook shortly!