Post

Fashion, Food in a Bag, Friends, Knitting, Oh and the Red Cup

6 comments

“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” ~ Aldous Huxley

One thing that Shanghai is known for is shopping. The problem with Shanghai is that it’s known for it’s shopping… it makes it really hard to stay on a budget here! Over the past two months, I’ve seen plenty of fashion trends,  a slew of fashion ‘dont’s,’ and a whole lot of things in between. Not only does Shanghai have all of the top tier brand stores, like Prada and Louis V, but they also have fabric markets where you can get pretty much anything made – or at least try to get it made. My friends and I have been going to the fabric market it seems almost weekly since we arrived. If you want variety, a lot of fun haggling, and visual overload, try your hand at a fabric market. The place is indoors and wall to wall stalls of everything colorful. It’s not to be missed. I’ve had some things made, but they are being tweaked right now with some last minute edits – will post the pictures later.

Fabric Market in Shanghai off Metro Line 4 at Nanpu Bridge Statsion

Fabric Market in Shanghai off Metro Line 4 at Nanpu Bridge Station

Shanghai has some pretty awesome food, as I have mentioned in another post. Food is always a favorite topic for me because I love to eat. In conjunction with my last post I know present ‘food in a bag.’ There is one overlap – the delicious egg pancake or jian bing – but I have two more of my favorite things to get while living here.

Jian Bing

So this is jian bing, which is translated to 'egg pancake.' I love this thing.

So this is jian bing, which is translated to ‘egg pancake.’ I love this thing.

Baozi = Dumpling

This is baozi, which is a type of dumpling that you can find in Family Mart, and at sidewalk stalls everywhere in the city. It's quick and easy to eat! Love these!

This is baozi, which is a type of dumpling that you can find in Family Mart, and at sidewalk stalls everywhere in the city. It’s quick and easy to eat! Love these!

Jirou & Digua = Chicken & Sweet Potatoes 

This is another favorite meal of mine here. Basically it's lightly friend chicken that's cut up into little pieces with a spicy seasoning on it, and then you have sweet potato fries on the side. It's delicious and a must have!

This is another favorite meal of mine here. Basically it’s lightly friend chicken that’s cut up into little pieces with a spicy seasoning on it, and then you have sweet potato fries on the side. It’s delicious and a must have!

Now, what is food without making friends along the way! I’ve met some terrific people while I’ve been here; not only from my cohort but also from some locals. There is a yoga studio called Yogaspace Shanghai that is off of Metro Line 1 Hengshan Road  Station. It has some great teachers, but it’s where I met this group of people below. This was one of the only times our group was this big (people have to work you know!) but we had an amazing time. Traveling is nothing without getting to know more about yourself and others in the world around you – so get out there and meet people!

Yogi Friends!

Yogi Friends!

Even when I’m meeting new friends, I never leave the ones I’ve made behind. Behold knitting projects for some people back home!

So this was my first stab at chevron pattern for a blanket. I'm a perfectionist, so I can see all the flaws, but the recipients love it - so what can I do?

So this was my first stab at chevron pattern for a blanket. I’m a perfectionist, so I can see all the flaws, but the recipients love it – so what can I do?

One of my best friends is having her first child, so I thought it only fitting to knit a couple blankets for the new arrival. This first one is red and then the next is going to be dark blue.

One of my best friends is having her first child, so I thought it only fitting to knit a couple blankets for the new arrival. This first one is red and then the next is going to be dark blue.

Dark blue yarn for blanket #2 - will commence shortly

Dark blue yarn for blanket #2 – will commence shortly

That’s all I have for now, but I’m sure the adventures will continue soon. But I couldn’t leave without giving one last picture and it’s my ode to Starbucks! The Red Cup has reached Shanghai! Christmas is coming!

It has arrived! The Red Cup - thanks Starbucks!

It has arrived! The Red Cup – thanks Starbucks!

Post

The More You Know: Food and Quirks in China

Leave a reply

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” ~ James Beard

Well it’s hard to believe, but I’ve been in China for a little over a month already. A whole month! I’ve experienced many different things – all of them good (sort of) – and I’m looking forward to what the next two months bring before this chapter of Global MBA closes.

For those of you who know me well, you know that I love my food. Food is pretty much how I know I will be visiting a country again and again, because if the food is good – I’m going to go back for more.

China has some amazing food. If I’m not studying or traveling, I’m eating and trying out the local cuisine. However, local is such a deceiving word for a place as diverse as Shanghai. There are so many different regional cuisines from all parts of China that reside in this city of 23 million people. I’ve managed to find a couple of dishes that I keep going back to again and again, and I thought it is only fair to share a few with you.

#1 – Egg Pancake: AMAZING! I love, love, love egg pancake. I literally eat this almost every day for breakfast. Basically it’s like a large crepe, filled with egg, sweet and spicy sauce, garlic, lettuce and chives, and finally fried flour. It’s wrapped up, cooked in less than a minute, and eaten in the next 20 min by me. You must try this if you ever come to Shanghai.

#2 – Personal Hot Pot: Super Deliciousness!  Hot pot is basically soup with super fresh ingredients that you can pick yourself. There is a place not far from where I am staying this semester that has fresh vegetables and meats daily and then the hot pot is prepared on the spot while you wait. I think I’ve gone to this place like three days in a row; I can’t help it!

Personal hot pot: had two locks of noodles, and a basket of vegetables, with quail eggs. I love this so much!

Personal hot pot: had two locks of noodles, and a basket of vegetables, with quail eggs. I love this so much!

#3 Oh My Kebab! Chicken Pita: Yes I know Greek Chinese style – but it’s good! My yoga buddies and I found this place literally right across the street from Metro line 1: Hengshan Lu station, where we get off for our yoga studio. The meat that this place is super fresh (I eat the chicken), and the vegetables are delightful. A little pricey for China, but it’s a very yummy snack after yoga!

Oh My Kebab! Chicken Pita - looks good doesn't it?

Oh My Kebab! Chicken Pita – looks good doesn’t it?

There are many more dishes that I’ve tried, but these are my favorites. I’ll have to do yet another post on food, maybe at the end of my trip. I can’t say enough about the food here, but I can honestly say, I’m not starving!

Besides getting to know (and eat at) all the local places are the area, I’ve almost picked on a couple of little quirks that I’ve seen so far in China. I’m not sure if this is how it is everywhere, but here are the top 3 things I’ve noticed so far:

#1  Sidewalks are not only for walkers-they are also for bikes and mopeds: Even though there is a very good lane that is separated from the main street to use, bikers and moped riders love to literally ride down the sidewalks where people walk. They will either honk at your with their tiny moped horn or ring the bell on their bike incessantly until you move. You must get use to this and reign in the urge to push these people off their transportation contraption.

#2 When crossing the street – follow the locals. Otherwise, you will die of old age waiting to cross: When crossing the street you need to watch out for bicycles, mopeds, motored rickshaws, bike buggies, buses, and cars. Though there are working cross-walking signals, nobody uses them for one simple reason; they don’t matter. Cars, busses, mopeds, bicycles, everything and anything will continue to go on their way while you are trying to cross the street. Best way to cross is when there is an opening, no matter what. If you see the locals move – move!

#3 No smoking signs in a restaurant – people smoke anyway: As I understand it, it was made illegal to smoke in stores, restaurants, and other establishments in the last couple of years. From what I’ve seen, people follow this rule when they want to and ignore it the rest of the time. I’ve seen many a person just light a cigarette when there is a very blatant no smoking sign right in front of them. It’s really weird coming from the US where you can only smoke in designated areas, but it’s something that you become use to quickly here. I’m sure as the rule gets enforced more, things will change, but for right now – China is a smoker’s paradise.

I’m sure there are many more interesting little quirks, but I think these are the ones I’m usually laughing about and dealing with on a daily basis.

Now the fun is over – back to the grind! Until next time!

Quote: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_food.html#FLC8jsXM5GVhs3wi.99

Post

Mini Vacation: Golden Week Shenanigans, Markets, and Museums Oh My!

Leave a reply

What would you say to having a week off for no other reason than to celebrate the inauguration of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)?

Let me think….

Sounds like a plan to me!

October 1st is National Day, but interestingly enough after some digging, I found out that the actual day that the PRC was founded was on September 21st, 1949. On October 1st, 1949  a ceremony was held in the  in Tiananmen Square which celebrated the forming of the Central People’s Government for the new country. The next day, October 2nd, 1949, the newly named government passed the ‘Resolution on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China’ and declared that October 1st to be National Day. Since 1950, October 1st have been celebrated in big style here in China.

So how does 1 National Day turn into 7 days of festivities? According to what I’ve been told and read, the legal holiday for National Day is 3-days on mainland China. These three days are then bookend by the weekends before and after those three days, hence a seven day vacation which is called ‘Golden Week.’ This holiday is the longest public holiday in China, besides Spring Festival holiday.

Long story short…I took shameless advantage of the time that I had off and explored!

On the first day of Golden Week a few friends and I went to Suzhou, which is reputed to be the silk capital in China. After hopping on an early train, we set off and took a tour of the Humble Administrator’s Garden, which is a beautiful house with many different rooms and of course plenty of greenery around. Next we took a boat ride in the canals of the city, and then we had a tour of the Silk Museum and we were even able to see one of the machines where the workers unravel the silk cocoons from the silk worms after they turn into moths.

Serenity and Beauty all in one - pic of one of the small houses in the garden.

Serenity and Beauty all in one – pic of one of the small houses in the garden.

Boat ride along the canal

Boat ride along the canal

After the museum the girls decided to to head to the renowned Wedding Dress street which has over 700 wedding dress shops, to find a dress for a bride to be in our group. We met up with the guys a little later as we made our way back to the train station.

Travel Group: (from left) Bonnie, Alex, Me!, Rachel aka Bride to Be! Kneeling is (from left) Sammy, and Ted

Travel Group: (from left) Bonnie, Alex, Me!, Rachel aka Bride to Be! Kneeling is (from left) Sammy, and Ted

 

It was a great first day of the week. After that the rest of the week was honestly a blur of sleeping in, wondering around the city, and studying. There were a few more highlights though.

One of them was going to one of the famed Fabric Markets here in Shanghai. The one that I have gone to twice already is off of Nanpu Bridge station (Line 4). It was basically a mall with 3 floors of nothing but fabrics and tailors. It can get pretty overwhelming at times, but it was fun going shopping for something to get made!

Shopping for some fabric to make into a skirt for a friend back in NYC!

Shopping for some fabric to make into a skirt for a friend back in NYC!

 

The latest adventure was yesterday, when I ventured with a few friends to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. Let me tell you – it was super duper fun! There were plenty of things that you could actually mess around with. It was almost like the Science and Technology Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. I felt like a kid again, especially running around with many gaggles of Chinese elementary schoolers that day!

Outside of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

Outside of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

Model of Insulin

Model of Insulin

Gaggles of school children at the Museum - I felt like a giant!

Gaggles of school children at the Museum – I felt like a giant!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electrons!

Electrons!

Environmentally Friendly Concept Car

Environmentally Friendly Concept Car

 

So all in all it’s been a big crazy party the last week or so!

And now…back to class!

 

Post

Weekend Travel: Xitang & Hangzhou Part II

Leave a reply

(Please read ‘Xitang & Hangzhou Part I’ first – this is a continuation)

On Saturday morning, we left Xitang for Hangzhou and the famous West Lake to continue our little weekend adventure. As with Xitang, Hangzhou also has rich history. A famous poem was written about West Lake by Song Dynasty Poet Su Dongpo and it reads:

“Ripping water shimmering on sunny day,
Misty mountains shrouded the rain;
Plain or gaily decked out like Xizi;
West Lake is always alluring.”

I did some digging (namely typed west lake into Google and read what popped up) and Xizi was considered to be the most beautiful woman in ancient China. I can honestly say I can see why he thought so because West Lake was a beautiful place. There was so much to do and see and we literally spent all day in the vicinity of the lake. (More about West Lake: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/zhejiang/hangzhou/west_lake.htm)

A few of my cohorts and I went up to Baoshu Pagoda (pictured below), while another group went to another museum around the lake. We all finally met back up at Leifeng Pagoda, which is one the opposite side of the lake from Baoshu. Let me tell you – the lake is large, very large. My small group and I couldn’t find a taxi so we walked from one pagoda to the other, it was a mean feat, but worth it. We were able to see a lot more of the sites around the lake while walking, and though we were very tired when we arrived at Leifeng the pagoda is not one to miss.

We also were able to see and walk across what is called the Broken Bridge. There is a legend called ‘The Legend of the White Snake’ and this legend supposedly took place around on the Broken Bridge. Considering it happened thousands of years ago, I can’t tell you if it really happened or not, but it is a famous legend in the area and a very neat one. You can find more about it here: http://cn.hujiang.com/new/p422912/.

We finally wrapped up the day with a quick trip to a shopping market where I was able to buy some delicious green tea to take home with me. After jumping on a bullet train back to Shanghai, I literally passed out around 11pm and didn’t wake up until it was time to go to Bikram Yoga at a yoga studio I found in the city.

It was a great weekend of traveling to start of the many more I’m sure will follow. Next post will summarize what Golden Week here in Shanghai!

Until next time!

Call the Long Bridge - one of the many cool things my group and I came across walking to Leifeng.

Call the Long Bridge – one of the many cool things my group and I came across walking to Leifeng.

Far off view of Leifeng Pagoda.

Far off view of Leifeng Pagoda.

At the base of Leifeng Pagoda. It's HUGE! Very beautiful building.

At the base of Leifeng Pagoda. It’s HUGE! Very beautiful building.

Large lucky Buddha I came across in the shopping area in Hangzhou.

Large lucky Buddha I came across in the shopping area in Hangzhou.

Post

Weekend Travel: Xitang & Hangzhou Part I

Leave a reply

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” ~ Paulo Coelho

Last weekend, Friday and Saturday specifically, I had the pleasure of going on a two-day, two-city adventure with a couple of my cohorts, visiting Xitang and Hangzhou.

Xitang and Hangzhou are not far from Shanghai, maybe 1.5 hrs via bus or train, but completely different in terms of modernity and history, not only from Shanghai, but from each other.

The first stop on our whirlwind tour was Xitang, which is located in the Zhejiang Province in China. Xitang is well known for being an ancient water city. The town dates back to Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC) and Warring States Period (476 BC – 221 BC). We were told a lot of the architecture dates back to the Ming and  Qing Dynasty respectively and that it’s also famous for is covered corridors, lanes, and bridges. (You can find out more here: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/zhejiang/hangzhou/xitang.htm)

The town itself was beautiful to me. You could clearly see the history and most of the time we spent, was going up and down lanes of stalls in a waterfront shopping area by the river. It was a quick fun trip, I may end up going back to do a bit more walking around the town to take in more of the history.

Homes and shop establishments along the river embankment, with famous covered lanes and corridors.

Homes and shop establishments along the river embankment, with famous covered lanes and corridors.

Quick picture of cohorts along shopping corridor in Xitang. (from left:  (Vicky, Ted, Ali, Shaw, and Lanre)

Quick picture of cohorts along shopping corridor in Xitang. (from left: (Vicky, Ted, Ali, Shaw, and Lanre)

River Boats along embankment of Xitang shopping area.

River Boats along embankment of Xitang shopping area.

Xitang at night, with lanterns lit.

Xitang at night, with lanterns lit.

Xitang at night, with lanterns lit. (Pic 2)

Xitang at night, with lanterns lit. (Pic 2)

Hangzhou post to follow right after this!

Quote: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/paulocoelh404735.html

Post

Stretching Your Mind: Learning and Growing

1 comment

I like the encouragement I get from doing new things. I like to feel scared or challenged in the hope that I can pull it off. That little bit of fear creates an energy that I can channel into the performance. ~ Joanne Whalley

It’s been an amazing first week and a half of class in Shanghai. Our first official class in the Global MBA was entitled “Managing Teams and Leadership 1.” This class was taught by Dr. Tony Lingham, a Case Professor from the Organizational Behavior Department. The class was held for one week – all day – and I have to say, it was probably one of the most eye-opening classes that I’ve taken, possibly ever.

The class focus was to learn how to assess how we – as individuals – learn on our own, how we adapt our learning styles when in small groups, and then finally how we learn as a team when thrown into one. Let me tell you now; this is not for the faint of heart. We had fifty-one students at the time: fourteen US, twenty Chinese, and seventeen Indian Cohorts and Tony split us all into groups depending on our learning styles and proceeded to tell us to develop a Global Leadership Theory that was going to be presented on Friday (last Friday).

Let’s just say, I didn’t think it would be possible. Groups were created on Tuesday, so that meant we had less than four days to get acquainted as a group, get comfortable in our group, come up with this theory, and build a presentation around it.

Four days people, four days.

Wonder of wonders – it really happened. After some initial bumps and bruises, our group really came alive and we quickly became very good friends and work partners. Instead of reluctantly working in a group of individuals, we really became one team with one like-minded goal.

It was a brutal process; assimilating all of the information that we were being taught in class and then continuing that learning in our groups, building the presentation at night, but I learned so much about myself and of how I perceive the world and how I want to be perceived. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • I want to be a subject matter expert in my field, but I don’t want to do it alone – I want to work in an amazing team while growing and learning.
  • I love feeling my mind literally stretch to incorporate new information, new ideas, and new ways of thinking about things.
  • If I want people to change how they perceive me, I have to do something about it – not them. The problem starts with the individual not the others – only you can change you.
  • I can change, if I really want it bad enough, I can – and will – change.

So how did the presentation go? Great! It was a long Friday morning and afternoon, but all of the teams did an amazing job; I still can’t believe we had only ~3.5 days to do it in, but who cares! The results were awesome.

Over the course of the weekend some of my new friends and I went around the town in Shanghai. There was Karaoke night on Friday night, a lounging day on Saturday for me, found a yoga studio and some shopping on Sunday with some new girlfriends, and ended Sunday night at Bonnie’s house, where she cooked us a phenomenal traditional Chinese meal. I’m going to be one sad sad person coming back to the US when this is over – the food is fantastic over here!

Monday kicked off the beginning of the rest of our classes that we will be having this semester. As of now we’re taking Global Environment, Language of Management (Finance) on Tuesdays, Statistics is this Thursday, and then we have a self-study period this coming Friday.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

It’s all good though – there is still plenty of time to learn some Mandarin and see the sights. I may forgo a little sleep, but it will be worth it in the end.

Until next time! Zai Jian! (See you later!)

Candid Shot of Tony teaching Class

Candid Shot of Tony teaching Class

Array of dishes Bonnie made - super delicious!

Array of dishes Bonnie made – super delicious!

Rachel (my roomie!) and I at Karaoke!

Rachel (my roomie!) and I at Karaoke!

 

Quote: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/new_things.html#AEmm42xAFarE2ieU.99

Post

Shanghai – First Thoughts

4 comments

It is better to travel well than to arrive. ~Buddha

Well, this is my official post while in China!

The trip was very smooth and without any delays – it was actually half an hour early! My checked bags made it with me and then I was picked up right away by the Chinese Cohorts who are part of the Global MBA. Check in at the guest house we are all staying at was also very smooth and after a brief break I and several others were taken out to a traditional Chinese dinner by the members of the Chinese Cohort on our first night here, it was amazingly delicious.

The next day – as always after a long flight – I was up at o’dark thirty (4AM to be precise), laid about and waiting until the oh so decent hour of 7 AM to go hunt for breakfast and start my day. Breakfast was a traditional Chinese dish, like a crepe – with egg, chives, lettuce, sweet sauce, spicy sauce, and a fried crisp. Sounds strange I know but it is delicious! Pictures are coming in the future – if I remember to take them once I have the darn thing, I’m usually too busy eating it to remember to take a pic for this blog.

Anyway, the US and Indian cohorts who flew in by the 11th were registered with Tongji University and then we all went off into different directions really just trying to find our way. Before lunch at a very local spot I was able to get a relatively cheap SIM card for my phone. Finally, I wandered around with a maybe a group of 10 people and we were able to get a limited tour of Tongji by one of the professors of CWRU, Dr. Anurag Gupta. He was extremely knowledgable and it was great fun talking with him and having him take us to his favorite cafe close to campus.

Today (September 13th), woke up fairly early, went back to the local Chinese breakfast cart (it’s right by the business school – it’s going to be coming ‘the breakfast spot’). With two other friends, I proceeded to get lost going around the campus trying to find the gym and swimming pool, which we found in time, before going to lunch at a different place, but still great food.

Lounged about until the evening time before going to YuYuan Gardens, which is not only a garden but a tourist destination in Shanghai; there are probably hundreds of stalls selling anything from chopsticks to silks, from ceramic tea mugs to jade jewelry.  The big event tonight though was waiting for night to fall and seeing the Shanghai skyline lit up along the Bund, a ritzy area filled with high end malls and swanky restaurants.

And that is literally where my night ended; taking pictures of an amazing skyline and then having dinner and coming home to write this blog entry about my first couple days!

Tomorrow is orientation and then Monday the 15th is the 1st day of classes – which will probably be my next post! 🙂

Hope you enjoyed the highlights, until next time!

Telecommunications Building New Construction Apple in Shanghai Jinmao Tower & Shanghai Financial Center
Quote from: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_travel.html#4tdaibj2LT2RKYjw.99

Post

Orientation, Surprise Goodies, and Flights – Oh My!

Leave a reply

If you are part of an organization that doesn’t let you laugh – leave it! ~ Gloria Steinem

 

Yesterday marked the end of orientation into the Global MBA program that I joined at Case Western Reserve University. Over the course of two days the facilitators of the program introduce me and 11 others to what we should expect as exchange students in Shanghai, China. 

It was an amazing two days filled with an interactive ropes course challenge at Common Grounds just outside of Cleveland, many different talks from the 2013 Global MBA Class reps, introductions to all of the amazing people who put this program together, and finally me running around trying to take care of last minute shenanigans.

A fun filled surprise that I didn’t know would be happening was that I and the other women in our US group received an invite to a town lecture in the historical Severance Hall on CWRU campus to hear a guest lecturer speak. I was pretty surprised by the invite and that our tickets were purchased, but I felt – why not? Why not just see what the talk had to offer.

I must say I was very enlightened. 

The guest speaker was Gloria Steinem, who I now know has been a female activist for pretty much longer than I have been alive. She is a brilliant speaker and knowledgable about a breadth of subjects. It was amazing getting to see and hear her speak about how far the many different right’s movements have come (specifically, women, race, gender, etc) but just how much further we had to go before equality was truly everyone’s. 

All I could think of throughout the 1.5 hrs was “she really gets it!” 

It was a great way to end the day.

Currently, I am sitting in the Delta Sky Lounge at Detroit’s International Airport waiting for my flight, excited and scared but definitely looking forward to everything that’s happening.

 

Until next time, Cheers!

New Shiny Business Cards, Gloria Steinem, Pics of Me and Alex and the Reception

New Shiny Business Cards, Gloria Steinem, Pics of Me and Alex and the Reception

 

 

Post

Welcome! And the show begins!

1 comment

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. ~Lao Tzu

 

Hello and welcome to my new blog! It’s aptly named Tierra’s Travels for your’s truly.

The purpose of this blog is to give all of my family and friends a little taste of all the experiences that are about to befall me as I embark on a crazy scary new journey — it’s called Graduate School. And if I want to be even more specific I will be attaining my Global MBA degree in an 18-month whirlwind that takes me to China for the 1st semester, India for the 2nd, and wrap up at my school of choice Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) for the last 2 semesters.

Today is the when it all begins! In about an hour I will be heading to Orientation that will last until tomorrow, September 9th, and then the following day I will be on a plane at 7 AM EST on my way to Shanghai.

My goal is to post at least once every week and be advised now (for those of you that will read this) I love comments so comment away!

 

Thanks for joining me on my journey! Stay tuned, there is much more to come! 🙂

 

 

Quote Origin: Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/journey.html#rzYeMAX6SeK16l8E.99