Oct 2014
Lauren Florea

City Life, Happy Life


the city is Alive and so am i

It’s been over a month since I last posted and I kind of don’t know how that has happened. Because on one hand, I can’t believe that I have been living in China for two months. But on the other hand, living in China feels normal and this is just my every day life now.

So let’s recap the month of September really fast. I was extremely sick for two weeks (my lack of exercise and exposure to new bacteria/new diet just completely shut my immune system down) but I pushed through it, went to work every day, and thankfully my cough is almost gone now. I went to Shanghai for work-related reasons where I got to talk to art college admission officers, and it made me want to go back to graduate school. Then I stayed in Shanghai for personal reasons, hung out on the Bund and met up with my friends who are teaching English, Cassie and Nate. Next came a couple more weeks of work that honestly went by in a blur. During these weeks I’ve picked up more long term projects, gotten to know the kids I work with better, and even got to participate in a Treasure Hunt by being a teacher leader of a team (we didn’t win, but I had a blast running around campus with them).

Then, just this last week, I had a week-long break for the Chinese National Holiday. I told myself that I was going to catch up on sleep, get updated on my social media and book list, and just chill. But that’s not exactly what happened. I spent three and a half days in Shanghai, again with Cassie and Nate, who were kind enough to put me up for a few nights. With them I explored Shanghai, seeing things like a giant jade buddha in a beautiful temple, wandering through an amazing collection of modern art galleries called M50, and doing karaoke in a small private room with friends in a phenomenon known here as KTV. The rest of the week I spent of course in Suzhou, but I still never really stayed still as I had people to hang out with and things to do.

The thing is, I love the craziness of running around and constantly doing something. At first, work left me exhausted and I was crawling into bed as soon as I could every night. But the longer I stay here, the more I feel energized by what’s going on around me. This is a big city and at first it felt too big, but now it feels right; it feels fast paced and busy, but I’m keeping up with it. I can make my way across town on either bus or metro, two concepts that were very foreign to me when I first got here. I’ve even ridden a public bike a couple of times, which is something I thought I could never do in a city. I go out on work nights for dinner or drinks or a pub quiz night. I’m happiest when I’m not sitting still.

So in summary, September has been a busy month for me, and I hope October proves to be the same as I continue running around Suzhou.