My journal entries from my first 4 days in Shanghai.

DAY 1: 09/16

This morning started off a bit frazzled. I got up around 6:30 am, and despite having a full 5 hours of sleep, I felt exhausted. Nevertheless, I immediately packed my last minute sundries (toothbrush, face wash, cell phone charger, etc.) and booked it to the airport.

There was no airport drama (Praise the Lord!) and I got settled into the 16 hour flight. Bibimbap and some “Light Coke” (as opposed to the American “Diet Coke”) later, I enjoyed my window seat and blew through several films including A-Team (mleh), Karate Kid (I know, I saw it already, but it was fun to re-watch), 71-Into the Fire (AMAZING), and listened to the K-Pop radio station as I wrote this blog entry.

I am pondering how God is going to show Himself during this trip. Yesterday I felt panicked as my contacts were not getting back to me concerning VIP tickets to the World Expo, and (no thanks to my OCD and foolish need to be in control), I was mortified at how my well-thought-out plans were falling through last minute. What if my credibility is lost due to my inability to follow through with my words?

But God has NEVER let me down in any way shape or form in my life. Yes, there were hard times, but He never abandoned me or allowed me to be humiliate by my enemies. Undeserved amounts of favor have always followed me, and I know that He has a plan for this trip, and His plan > mine (no matter how hard I try to do things on my own).

So! My prayer is that instead of worrying, that I be a joy to Him through my obedience and willingness to trust Him. I have no clue what will or will not happen, but I’m good.

Day 2: 09/17

Yay for silly jetlag! I ended up getting up around 6:00 am, Shanghai time, and after my quiet time, I decided that I would wander around the hotel and see what amenities were available. To my delight, past the first-rate gym (with all the machines and weights I use back home), a foosball table, and a lounge, there was a lovely outdoor pool on the roof deck. After a quick jog to start the day, I exchanged money at the front desk, and headed over to the People’s Square.

The Metro was really clean, smooth, and fast, and because we were traveling past rush hour, it wasn’t crowded at all. SO nice~

By the time we got to People’s Square, it was almost noon, and I hadn’t eaten since our on-flight Korean Air dinner, so…yeah…I was hungry. We wandered around looking for something that wasn’t KFC (there were SO MANY KFC’s in Shanghai!) and I saw a sign for dumplings on the second floor of the Shanghai Food Store.

Pushing past the throngs of people getting ready for the Moon Festival, I shuffled up to the second floor and saw the dumplings shop. To my disappointment, despite the crowd, there was hardly a line for it.

But to the left was another, smaller food stall that had a line flowing out the door. I peeked over the counter to see what was being made, and to my delight, there were Shanghainese soup dumplings!

The people didn’t understand English, so I used sign language (I made imaginary dumplings in my hands to symbolized what I wanted to eat, put them on an imaginary tray to confirm how many dumplings there were per order, and held up fingers saying how many servings we wanted).

It was SO delicious. And only 1 dollar for 4 dumplings~! And the marketplace downstairs sold chicken feet…in individually shrink wrapped packaging…like Slim-Jims. HILARIOUS.

After walking miles and hours down Nanjing Road and along the Bund (and stopping by tons of fun cartoony stores along the way), I got into a subway station and headed back to the hotel, where I collapsed and took a nap. Asia has so many cute things. I was tempted to buy a little keychain speaker, but didn’t want to spend the money. CLICK HERE TO SEE ONE OF THOSE TRINKETS IN ACTION.

Dinner was uneventful as a contact of ours treated us to dinner…at an Italian restaurant. (Yes. I’m in Shanghai, and I had pizza.) Sleep was so sweet.

PS: As we drove back in a taxi, I saw a Massage Parlor called “DOUBLE RAINBOW.” I died.

Day 3: 09/18

Today was a great day (though largely uneventful).

Woke up at 7 am (jet lag is getting a bit better now), and went to the gym, where I worked out for an hour before cooling off in the swimming pool. So awesome.

I did some research online and found this fantastic little restaurant in the French Concession district of Shanghai called Bull Noodle. Along the way, I saw hundreds of little boutiques with the most bizarre t-shirts and things and bought the most unique novelty items for very great prices.

After a DELICIOUS lunch (I would so go back there any day), I haggled my way through one of Shanghai’s largest faux stuffs markets and got what I wanted.

Once I got back, I met up with my “Uncle” Daxing’s cousin, who hooked my group up with inside info and VIP passes on some of the Pavilions for the Expo. She was so nice.

And then I passed out. Sleepy sleepy. So sleepy sleepy.

Day 4: 09/19

Looking back on today, I have to say that I saw God showed a huge amount of favor.

Our group’s first destination was Xintiandi, the SoHo of Shanghai (if you will). We went into a dimsum place, completely starving. We didn’t eat dinner last night because we were so tired, so we were running on a small shared meal from more than 24 hours prior.

We walked around the district for an hour or two and a bar caught my eye. It was so uniquely designed from the outside, so we took a peek inside. It was so much fun. The bar/restaurant (TMSK) was owned and designed by a couple that were also glass artists.

They usually didn’t allow people to take pictures inside, but for some reason, they decided to not only let us take photos, but also give us a private tour of the space. Crazy, right?

We decided to go and get a massage, considering how much our bodies were aching from the combination of working out every morning and walking miles every day. I thoroughly enjoyed my massage.

The lady who massaged my head and shoulders was good, though she got progressively harder and harder in her massaging (ouch). And when she massaged my thighs, she got a little bit too close to my danger zone. The man who massaged my calves and feet…

…let’s just say that I wanted to stuff him in my suitcase and take him home. I’d let him stay in my apartment for free, use my TV, Internet, and fridge…just so long as he could give me a daily foot massage like the one I got today.

One hour has never flown by so quickly. And for $23 bucks…I’d do it again.

On our way back, I noticed a bunch of Chinese people walking into this one restaurant, and I was intrigued, so we stopped by a Taiwanese modern tea house/dimsum place. There were delicious foods with delicious teas, and we left full and happy.

I'm in Shanghai, baby!

FOR PHOTOS OF DAYS 1-4: SHANGHAI, GO HERE.

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