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By Elena Garcia

With Sherpas, that’s how.

Have I written about this yet?? Sherpa’s is a ridiculously awesome food delivery service. They provide you with a small book with a ton of menus for local restuarants. You call Sherpas, order with them in English, and then they call the restaurant and make the order. A short time later amazing hot food is delivered to your door! Bam!

Basically Sherpa’s = Awesomeness.

My new hat collection

November 17, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Pink Angora Beret

Pink Angora Beret

One of the really great things about Shanghai is the amazing shopping. If you’re a size negative whatever with tiny feet, you can find some of the most fantastic articles of clothing for some ridiculous prices. Just roam the streets, you’ll spot street squatters, under ground markets, bargain malls and everything else your little heart desires for prices that will put any sample sale to shame.

Just today while roaming the dingy halls of my favorite bargain market I came across some of the cutest motorcycle jackets in copper colored snakeskin, denim, and sequins. I wanted to buy them all, unfortunately none of them fit me. (I stopped wearing China’s version of a large when I was in third grade.) If jackets aren’t your thing, try on a party dress! These dresses are to die for cute and would blow any socialite out of the water. Heart shaped tops with pleated bottoms, patterns with bold colors and hemlines with just enough to help make the point. They’re adorable and would cost you a fortune at home but here you can get them for 20 bucks, easy. I’ve even contemplated buying two of the same dress and sewing them together, they’re just so cute!  But I am always quickly chased out of the store buy the sales girl shooing me away. God forbid I destroy her ten-dollar dress with my laser vision and fiery touch. You can even find your very own Chinglish T-shirt with embroidered bunnies or glittered hearts! It’s amazing, if they only carried one size bigger (or two).

But just because they don’t make “big girl sizes” here doesn’t mean I can’t shop, damn it. I have learned very easily that accessories fit everyone, regardless of what your waist or bust size are. Today, after being rejected and chased out of all the skinny people stores I came across a store where my waistline didn’t matter. It was as hat store! (So take that China!!)

After spending a multitude of time perusing the shelves and trying one every item in the store I decided on a few head ornaments that would easily grace the pages of my favorite magazine. At 15rmb (2 dollars) a pop I bought a half a dozen magnificent cranial coverings, which are sure to protect my head from the infamous Shanghai winter and to make me look… umm… amazing!

Ear Muffs

Ear Muffs

London-esque Mod Hat

London-esque Mod Hat

Floral Beanie

Floral Beanie

Hot Pink Beanie with Big Poof

Hot Pink Beanie with Big Poof

I lost it.

November 9, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Chinese Hot PotIt’s often-frustrating living in a country where you don’t understand the culture or the language. Every once in a while I’ll find myself just getting so angry and annoyed at the cultural differences that I have to lock myself up at home and let it pass. I find it soothes my inpatients.

However, on this fateful Saturday night, I lost it.

Our tutor Grace had offered to take us to one of her favorite Hot Pot restaurants. Hot Pot is huge here in Shanghai and I was one of the few people who had never tried it. When Grace found this out, she insisted on taking us and letting us experience this Shanghai treat.

So on Saturday, after a short subway ride we met Gina, Aaron, and Grace in a quest to enjoy some Hot Pot. That’s when my inner turmoil began.

As we attempted to get a taxi a man in a tiny black car starts honking his horn, he along with a dozen other cars are stuck in traffic, stopped at a red light. So he honks, as if that is going to make the cars in front of him go faster, as if the sound of his blaring horn will make the light change and as if no one else is around him. Looking at the situation, I lean down staring at the man through his open passenger window and I say calmly, in words he cannot understand, “honking your horn isn’t going to make the car move sir, I promise.” The passenger in his car chuckles and the driver stops honking. He slowly inches up moving away from me and we continue to stand on the crowded street, blocking the way of the herds of people trying to get by.

After spending fifteen minutes getting honked at by bicyclists driving on the sidewalk, getting shoved by fellow pedestrians and having no luck with finding a cab, Grace suggests we walk up a block to a bigger intersection. So along with the masses we walk, past the dozens of squatting street vendors selling everything from fake Tiffany’s jewelry to winter coats, passing street food smells and smokes, and finally, coming to a huge intersection (where, frankly, chaos comes to die).

We stand patiently at the curb waiting for the green man to give us the go ahead when we notice the herds of people going. They just start walking. Fearing for our lives, we continue to stand there, waiting for our friend the green man to come up. Finally when he does, we notice no difference in the intersection. Cars driving in every direction, turning at red lights, bikes swerving through traffic and pedestrians playing Frogger in between whizzing cars. It was enough to shoot my blood pressure through the roof.

As we play Russian Roulette through the intersection, we spot two empty cabs (we needed two since we have five people and only four fit in your standard cab). We ran as safely as possible, getting the attention of the driver and as we attempt to get in, a huge truck pulls up behind it and starts wailing on his horn, successfully getting the cab driver to move and leave us behind. The second cab pulls up behind the honking truck and stops, letting Garrett, Gina and Aaron in. Grace tells the taxi driver where to go and Grace and I are left behind looking for another cab. But just as their cab is pulling away with everyone safely inside a black car pulls up behind him and starts honking his horn incessantly! He sees that the cab has just gotten everyone in and is starting to leave but he wont lay off the horn. This is where I lose it for the first time.

I begin to yell at him in English, I scream how he can wait and that they’re going and when I am done throwing my temper tantrum I notice hundreds of passersby staring at me chuckling under their looming smiles. The man drives past me, looking at me in utter confusion while continuing to honk his horn. Grace puts her arms around me and walks me away from the intersection while we begin looking for another cab.

Fifteen minutes later we get one and we head towards the intersection where the rest of the group has been waiting. Finally when we arrive Grace leads us through a crowded, frantic street with bright lights illuminating the sky and takes us into the third floor of a big building. We are the only foreigners there. Which, normally, isn’t a big deal but I notice a table of twenty something guys just staring at us with the same grins I encountered moments before. As we walk by they say “Hello!” in mocking tones. (A trend I notice more and more. Some Chinese people will say words in English to foreigners passing by, often repeating the words the foreigners themselves were just saying, and they say them in these tones that are somewhat mocking and very rude.) I manage to hold my breath and not say anything but I can feel my blood start to simmer.

When we sit down Grace is nothing but an angel, she guides us through the menu and we order. Hot Pot works a little like Korean BBQ. You order uncooked foods like beef, lamb, pork, potatoes, eggs, mushrooms, tofu, and anything else you can think of and they provide you with a huge pot of boiling broth divided into two: one is regular flavor broth, the other is spicy. As the soup simmers on the heat plate you add your raw food, slowly letting it cook in your giant tub of soup.

I was a little intimidated by the entire process but Grace had wanted to let me experience it since I was the only one who hadn’t. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve had since living in Shanghai but it was…ummm… not enough to make me throw up all over myself.

And so, an hour later, after having devoured an amazing amount of Hot Pot, we realizSquatter Toileted we had ordered FAR too much food and were not going to be able to finish it. Luckily, this place was incredibly reasonably priced and leaving some items behind wasn’t breaking the bank. (By incredibly reasonably priced I mean like 2RMB (30 cents) for a plate of lots of raw food.) It was also at this time that I decided I needed to use the restroom. Gina had warned me earlier that the bathrooms weren’t very clean and that they only had squatter toilets.

I have never used a squatter toilet. In all my time in Shanghai, I have never used one. Not only do I think my legs are not strong enough but I cannot get over the mental anguish that occurs when I think of having to use a hole in the floor. And so, with Grace’s help, I ask someone if there are ANY western bathrooms in this building. No.

Grace and I go down stairs to a McDonalds. No.

We go to a KFC. No.

We go into another mall. No.

Finally we head down the block, across the street and into a KTV lounge where to my relief, we find one.

On our return up the elevator Grace and I are surrounded by people, a group of which happen to be young guys (not the same ones as before) and while Grace and I stand there completely silent they start at it. “Hello!” “HAAYlow!” “Helo!”

What is it with the twenty something male population, do they see non Chinese looking people and assume we speak English? I mean I could easily be French, Russian or heck, Mexican. What if I didn’t speak English? I try very hard to speak Chinese, so that I wont have to inconvenience them and yet I get this! And what is with the tone?!

Luckily before I can muster up enough annoyance to say something, the elevator comes to a stop and Grace and I exit.

After finishing our meal. We head across the lobby to a pretty awesome Arcade where we spend the next half our playing cheap arcade games and screaming at the claw machine. (I don’t know why I play those things; I never win the 25cent stuffed animal!)

Then we leave and get into an elevator. This is where it gets bad.

A lady and a man are already on the elevator when we board and they are having a conversation, a conversation that one would only mimic when standing in the crowd at a rock concert. They were speaking so incredibly loud that no one else could hear themselves. And of course, I am standing far to close to the lady who is now screaming into my ear. I try staying calm but then in one moment, I lose it.

As loud as I can I scream “WHY DOES EVERYONE TALK SO LOUD!!!”

At this point the conversation amongst the couple stops entirely, the people I am with look at me in horror and the elevator reaches the ground floor and the doors open. I smile politely, excuse myself, get off the elevator and the mortification begins. I hadn’t meant to be so loud, I hadn’t meant to be so rude, I just could not handle her screaming into my ear anymore. I couldn’t.

As everyone else follows behind me, I feel a great urge to apologize and explain to them my reasoning but they, understandably, avoid eye contact. We say goodbye to Grace (she lives near by and wouldn’t need a cab home) and head into a taxi. I sit in the back corner trying to justify my behavior but it was too late. The embarrassment had settled in and I just needed to go home.

Chinese people do talk very loud; it’s something I had to get use to at first and thought I had managed to do. But as I sit here with my ear tingling, I wonder, was yelling out all that bad? I mean, I constantly get shoved, cut in front of and go ignored. I’ve been told that it’s survival of the fittest and everyone fens for themselves. So if that is the case, what I did on the elevator was really just me becoming more assimilated into the culture, right?

Wet Market

November 5, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Recently I ventured into my very first wet market here in Shanghai. And boy am I glad I was able to avoid them for as long as I did. Words can not describe the things I saw, smelled or felt as I walked through the gloomy warehouse space, so I took a video.

While watching, please take note of the following:

– The old Chinese Man Wearing Pajamas

–The man spitting on the floor

–The dirty laundry hanging from one of the vendor’s booth

–The fish Vendor with the lit cigarette hanging from his lip

–The dead chickens

–The pink rain boots

–The people staring at me

Enjoy!

By Elena Garcia

Halloween CostumesJust four days ago I was complaining about the heat, which continued to linger in the air despite it being fall. I was complaining about how the summer heat wouldn’t go away and my fall fashions weren’t being utilized. But then, like some kind of reverse tropical storm, it’s freezing.

I don’t get it.

On Halloween day, Garrett and I set out to go buy the finishing touches of his costume. As we ventured out I made note of how hot it was (swear to goodness, ask Garrett). In order to accommodate this humid heat Garrett wore shorts, flip-flops and a t-shirt. I wore ripped up jeans, flip-flops and a thin cotton Calvin Klien t-shirt.

A person not knowing we were on the last day of October would have thought we were in mid June based on our outfit choices but it was unavoidable. As we stood in the crammed subway car on our way to Caoyang Lu I carefully used my hand to pat dry the beads of sweat, which not even the Subway air conditioning could prevent.

We arrived at our station and began the quest for a costume that Garrett had planned out weeks before. He planned on being a douche bag. For those of you not aware, a douche bag is not just a feminism product, it is also an expression used to describe a male who is rude, conceited, a jerk, and/or just plain mean. They often wear Ed Hardy shirts, bedazzled baseball caps and cell phone earpieces. An example I would offer for a douche bag would be Jon Gosselin from the show Jon and Kate Plus Eight. He is a douche bag. Garrett decided to portray a douche bag because really, nothing is scarier than a douche bag.

So he needed to find a pink collared shirt to complete this look, the rest would be done with hair and make up. Douche bags have branded themselves with their signature pink shirt and their collar popped.  (Latter I used bronzer to give him nice tan, an entire bottle of hair gel to make his hair un-moveable and an eyeliner with glitter to make fake diamond earrings.)

So off we searched through the markets at Caoyang Lu.

This area has become one of my favorite shopping destinations. It’s never too crowded; there are loads of shops and cute things all of which are reasonably priced. (And none of that fake stuff!) Grace, my Chinese tutor recommended it after she discovered my shopping addiction problem. There are two markets at Caoyang Lu; one is an accessories market that is hidden in the alleyway between two big buildings. Vendors gather in the condensed lane selling hair accessories, make up, wigs, scarves, hats, purses, 6rmb manicures (that’s 75 cents for those of you counting) and tented tattoo parlors. Although those last two give you a twofer, cheap manicures/tattoos and hepatitis!

The first time I went there I was blown away! The buzzing of the tattoo parlor guns ringed in my ears as I walked on the cracked, uneven cement floors while women sat on unstable stools getting hair extensions neatly placed on their heads, I even saw one lady laying across a make shift table having eye lashes glued in and tinted. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t let anything from that place anywhere near my eyes.

Nevertheless it is a good place to buy cheap little accessories that are a lot of fun. I had purchased a funky little hat, eyeglasses and glitter for my Lady Gaga costume, all of which cost me 2 USD.

The second market at Caoyang Lu is much nicer and bigger. It’s a mall with four giant floors dedicated to clothes, shoes and far too much non-sense. But it’s fun! This mall is much cleaner (which frankly anything is cleaner than Tattoo alley, so that’s not saying much), enclosed and air-conditioned.

Tiny shops fill every inch of every floor, even crowding their windows with samples of the treasures they have inside! The walls inside the shops are covered with hanging clothes, not leaving one inch of space exposed. Shop keepers watch TV shows on laptops, smoke cigarettes and chat with one another through out the day or even while you’re there shopping. I often think it’s a fire hazard to smoke among so much synthetic fabric but I don’t think they care!

Most of the shops are so small that no more than one or two people can fit at a time and so people peek their heads in the door or wait until the person inside clears out or they just push their way in. Most of the time it’s the latter. You’ll hear echoes of negotiations, coughing (more like hacking), and Chinese sales pitches as you walk through the halls but no one is ever pushy or drastic. From all the markets I’ve experienced (and there have been a few) it’s the easiest to shop at.

So on this blistering Halloween Day, Garrett and I roamed the dingy alleyway and the stuffed mall looking for his costume. We managed, after having severe problems trying to say “pink” and “collared shirt”, to find an eight dollar pink collared shirt which was just tight enough to make him look like a douche and to look good on me later! (Hey, there is no point in wasting a perfectly good shirt!)

And as we made our way back to the subway I made reference to the incredible heat.

The next day, after our Halloween Festivities were done, Garrett went out to grab some breakfast and had to come back to put pants on, a jacket and regular shoes. In an amazing over night process it went from 80 degrees to 50 degrees. And because Shanghai is so humid, it was a cold 50 degrees. The kind of cold that bites you and stays there until you thaw out in front of a heater. How is it possible?

It’s been three days now since Halloween and I cannot explain to you the cold that is occurring. It’s the kind of cold that one normally experiences at 2 in the morning, when the frost is just building up on your front windshield. I understand it’s November and it should be cold but really, in one day! What happened to Fall?

Halloween Festivities

and now they give me…

October 20, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme!!

They just gave me Carl’s Junior and now Krispy Kreme! What is happening?! I am so over whelmed and I’m starting to wonder how much it’s going to cost me to get all my clothes let out. (You know with all the burgers and donuts!)

To be honest I don’t even like Krispy Kreme  all that much but since I haven’t had the abundance of them like I did at home, well I miss them! This new donut location won’t be opening until December, so my clothes and waistline are safe until then!

When East Meets West

October 18, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Chloe Tea SetI am such a bad chocolate eater. I blame it entirely on my mother. I always bite into every single piece of delicate chocolate, anticipating the surprising flavor that lies beneath. My assorted box typically comes with a handy guide but I have to bite into every little square in order to figure out which one tastes the best. No guide can ever explain that to me, no guide can ever describe the magnificent melting sensation that occurs on your tongue when heaven melts away. I look at my little ritual like a wine tasting, you bite, you chew, and you either finish the piece or you set it down for a later discovery.

My dear friend Andrew has crossed the mighty Pacific and entered the Holy Grail that is Shanghai. Upon his arrival he surprised me with a small box of heaven from La Maison Du Chocolat and truly shown me the magnificent ness of a chocolate sensation.

Having lived here for almost 11 months now, there aren’t many first that I experience. I’ve become accustomed to the spitting, yelling, horn honking, and fabulous fashion choices of the people here but now that Andrew is here, I feel as though I am experiencing so many things for the first time. The shock value that had worn off is suddenly back and giving me whiplash! It’s so exhausting.

You know what else is exhausting, the exploring Andrew and I have done. Foot massages, back massages, launch parties, Nip Tuck on DVD, manicures, pedicures, shopping trips and Chloe cups… it just never ends. How is a girl supposed to maintain such an active social calendar?

One of the things that Andrew and I did was wait in line. That’s right, as fabulous as we are; we did our fare share of line waiting. And no, it wasn’t to get into the posh parties or hot clubs, we never waited to get into those places. Our line waiting was for something much more… limited.

A limited edition I Heart Chloe Coffee Mug, that is.

A local westaurant (western restaurant in Shanghai) had a special promotion in partnership with the Chloe brand. So everyday, for one week, at 2pm they distributed 15 limited edition mugs with the Chloe name sprawled across them. Now these mugs weren’t free! For 78 RMB (about 12 dollars) you got a ceramic mug (which probably cost them 15 cents to make) filled with coffee, three teeny tiny desserts, and an annoyed smile from the cashier ringing you up!

The first day Andrew and I waited for our chance at ceramic gold we got there too late. We were numbers 16 and 17 in line but we were convinced we could possibly still get the chance to swindle a mug any way, so we stayed and waited. We waited forty-five long minutes only to be turned away.

Having been rejected so easily Andrew and I were determined to get a mug. On nothing but principle, of course. So the next day Andrew and I got there over an hour early and planned on grabbing lunch and then grabbing a spot in line. So we arrived and walked down the glossy white hallway only to find a line had already formed. Andrew and I would be numbers 3 and 4 this time around! Even with our early arrival we were still not the first!

Insane what people will do for fashion!

I’m no stranger to lines though, in my heyday I braved many a cold nights to gain front row access to Backstreet Boy shows.

So we waited, again. Andrew occupied his time playing Tetris on his IPhone; I stared at the passersby and slowly starved to death. Andrew and I hadn’t had lunch and so I couldn’t wait for the time to go by. All I wanted to do was eat!

Finally 2pm came and Andrew and I grabbed some lunch, our Chloe Tea Set (that’s what they called it), and a seat. As we sat there and snapped pictures of our adventure Andrew and I noticed the first person in line, a wannabe fashionista with a sloppy outfit, sitting all alone. A little sympathy went out to her, having to have endured this adventure on her own. Until of course I saw her pull out her cell phone, hold her hand above her head and snap away. Just what we need, another bad MySpace photo.

I was thinking of offering to take her photo when I notice her ask a passing waitress. The waitress grabbed the phone, listened to Lonely Girl explain how to use it and then snapped a photo. Lonely Girl reviewed it and quickly asked her to take another, and another and another. She posed in different positions, in different areas and slowly stared in her own Chloe Mug montage.

I was never more thankful to have Andrew to snap my photos.

By Elena Garcia

Carls_Outboard_4CI don’t have the words to explain to you just how overwhelmed with emotion I am at this news. I can’t even form words because my mouth is too busy salivating at the thought of crispy golden nuggets of fried zucchini and the tiny white plastic containers holding they’re magical sauce. I tremble with joy just thinking about peeling it’s plastic crinkly foil lid and dunking the battered flavor morsels in! Ohh it’s just too much to bare. How do I even begin to realize this amazing sensation!

I have so many people to thank for this. First and foremost, I have to thank God for finally answering a young girls prayer (btw I’m still waiting on the whole spitting thing). Second, I want to send a sincere thank you to Carl and his Junior for remembering us here in Shanghai, we are not forgotten. I need to thank the fine people of the Raffle City Mall in People’s Square for leasing out the space to such a fine dining establishment. Last, but not least, I want to thank the future fry cook who is going to dip my frozen pre breaded vegetables into the greasy tub of oil and make them whole. Thank you!

Carl's Junior ShanghaiCarl's Junior Shanghai

And I Quit

October 9, 2009

By Elena Garcia

I did it. After working for six grueling months. I decided it best to stop working and enjoy the fruits of my labor and the remaining time we have here in Shanghai. So in the midst of my trip home I sent my boss my letter and made the decision not to return to a life behind the desk!

Although I’ll save the details of my work life I must say I am enjoying my time off. So far that has included: shopping trips, oil massages and mani pedi’s.

I know I live a rough life!

Just today Garrett and I took some time and endured a grueling hour of foot massages. For those who haven’t dealt with the “suffering” of a foot massage, let me open your eyes.

In China, getting a soothing rub isn’t the same investment as a massage at home. You don’t have to book your weekend appointment months in advance, you don’t have to save your pennies to pay for it and you don’t have to travel far and wide for a great masseuse.

Just a block from our house is a serene spa open until 2 am everyday of the week. Walk in anytime to find the comforts of small Chinese hands and cooling stone fountains. Spend an hour in a chair getting your feet slathered or on table getting your back caressed.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, these places are not legit. They come with happy endings and disease control! They’re the kind of places you drive by in the Tenderloin and think… who goes there? I have heard some horrific stories of “ovary massages” and “prostate massages.” I’ve even heard stories of embarrassment and rejection from different massage houses because they didn’t allow girls past the velvet ropes, or so to speak.

Once, after a long day, a few girlfriends walked into a massage house that they had heard amazing things about. With the dim lights, soft candles and haze of trickling waterfalls they lost sight of the dingy crevices. They perused the menu and with chinglish translations to guide them they did the point and pick and selected a service they thought would sooth their stresses away. (Or at least that tension that climbs into your shoulder blades and crawls into your neck, that’s the worse.) But after gesturing to the receptionist, they were shocked to get the gaze of rejection from her. “This massage only for men.” They did the point and pick over and over only to get rejected again and again. Finally they asked which ones were available to them… three of the 15 or so options were open to their relaxation needs. They slowly backed out, never to return.

But most places aren’t like this; for the most part they’re actually quite nice. Especially the one Garrett and I went to today.

Dragonfly is this heaven like destination where stone paths guide you, chirping birds relax your ears and warm cushions pad your bottom. They’re a little more expensive than some of the local places but they’re amazing. It’s like walking into the Four Seasons and having to pay only 20 bucks for your treatments.

For an entire hour Garrett and I floated on warm cushions in the darkness of waterfalls while tiny Chinese fingers rubbed our feet and wiped away our day’s journey. It was amazing!

There are other places which offer the same services and they range in price between 10 and 20 dollars and most are comparable in atmosphere but they’re a little harder to find. Once I had to enter a glooming skyscraper, go up to the 5th floor, roam the grimy hallways only to find the calmest of spas. I would have never found it, had I not been told exactly where to go. I don’t think those types of places are meant for foreigners. Nevertheless, the staff spoke enough English and they relaxed me into sleep.

I must also warn you, these little hands are buff. Just because the ladies are 5 feet tall, weigh 90 pounds soaking wet and have the face of a thirteen-year-old girl doesn’t mean they wont tear your skin and crush your muscles. I’ve walked away sore from the rubs of these ladies. It’s like when you meet them they seem so angel like and gentle and then you turn your back to them and the cast of Smackdown clobbers you like you would never imagine.

But it’s still amazing.

I Miss Frankie

September 26, 2009

By Elena Garcia

Frankie HAPPYThat’s right, I’m talking about my dog. Now that I have been back for nearly two weeks, the last residue of Frankie’s shed hair is wearing off of my clothes. His saliva stains have been washed off my designer jeans and his magnificent smell has been over powered by the smells of Chinese ways. And so now I miss him.

It’s rare that one sees a big (or medium) sized dog here in Shanghai. Most of the time dogs are held in the purses of It Chinese girls. (Any one who has encountered my Frankie knows well enough that the only bag he’s going to fit in is an oversized rolling luggage bag.) In Shanghai, dogs are sold as an accessory as opposed to a pet; a dog is the equivalent to an expensive designer bag or a pair of really high heels. And don’t get me wrong I love myself some puppy love but any trend that Paris Hilton starts is not one I will choose to participate in. Once in a while a big dog will be seen at the end of a leash on his way home from his long walk with the giant grin of exhaustion spread across his face, but those sightings are rare. I must say though if you are a man in China looking for the attention of some ladies, adopt a big dog and take him for walks! Girls go nuts for that (and by girls I mean me… although, I’m spoken for… so maybe not)! (Ohh and only adopt a dog if you’re ready for the responsibility one requires, dog’s need happy good homes!! Just saying.)

Everyday at about 5 pm tiny cinnamon colored Pomeranians fill the grassy lawns in our compound and yap away into the darkness. They’re cute and they remind me of some family pets but they aren’t Frankie! They don’t eat everything in sight and whine uncontrollably at the sight of food out of their reach. They just let their manes of golden fur billow in the wind and poop, everywhere. (Which BTW no one picks up here!! Not surprising seeing how it’s rare that they even pick up human poop when they decide to do it on the street.)

I know it’s best that Frankie stays in America while we complete our stay here. Frankie couldn’t survive in Shanghai. With all the nonsense thrown onto the muggy streets and Frankie’s uncontrollable appetite for street “food,” he would eat something to make him sick! It’s for his own protection that we left him behind. At least that is what I chant in the back of my head to defuse the guilt that I feel for leaving my little fatso!

We’ll be home soon big guy!!!

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