My first two years in Shanghai, I went out almost every weekend, seeing things and doing things and socializing with friends. I entered Shanghai in summer of 2008 and was at the threshold of something big in my life. I started my medical studies here. Lived in a foreign students dorm and one thing I realized about Shanghai is that it eventually turns its denizens into this massive party animals. Most of my friends were here just for the language program, but I in particular was here for a long run. I could travel around in leisurely fashion as opposed to my friends -they obviously had fewer semesters than I did. Having load'sa time at hand is a good bit but on the contrary the lack of a departure deadline gave me all the excuse I needed to kick into lazy mode. We (as in me and others who were here for long run) started slacking off and limited our outings. We spent more time wandering around city-hub and just relaxing at a whole lot. A few months later, our classes became much harder/longer and laziness gave way to exhaustion. To shove it down your throat, yes everything was postponed because we had all the time.excitement and impulse are the funny lil' things. one moment you are up n' about, the next, totally sulking and slacking things off.
Year 2010. We felt lot comfy with out position as a foreigner in this hysterically delirious place. Got into the groove with the Mandarin. Good thing about learning a language in its native habitat is that you learn it much quicker. But staying there too long takes its toll, the impulse that you feel when you just move to new place will be fast gone like it never existed. I can barely remember how I felt when I first entered this big exciting country. But I remember how restless and excited I was. On January 1, i decide to end this feeling of passiveness for good and I grabbed a spare deck of playing cards and a Sharpie and started making plans (now just so you know I got this idea from reading one of the many blogs I read in my spare times. The writer there, read Switzerland, felt much like I did and thus, I deduced similar method could be used). I cornered in my best-bud Mickey to join the band-wagon. He reasoned that, once you remove the jokers, there are roughly the same number of playing cards in a deck as there are weeks in a year. On each card, he wrote one activity : reconnecting with friends (inviting them over or skyping), go someplace new, try out new foods and restaurants, internet free weekend, community work and many others. Sometime between Monday and Wednesday of each week, Mickey shuffles the cards and I draw one: that's our activity for the weekend. We reshuffle if the activity we picked seems unlikely that particular weekend (exam and stuff).
The blogger that got me inspired to follow in her foot-steps maintained this photo-album to document her activities around year. As for me I have Facebook to document 'em all.
So far the card got us doing:
- Take a trip to Hangzhou (was exam stressful but survived nonetheless).
- Invite friends for lunch.
- Read a book.
- Try some new restaurants (picked Mesa Manifesto in Julu road. liked the ambiance, food not so much)