Chinese New Year 2019

Happy Year of the Pig! If you were born in the year 1983, 1995, or 2007 this is your year!!

Taylor and I are back in our second home and starting our new year by regrouping and relaxing. After a very busy few months traveling all over the states for the holidays, we’ve been taking a true “vacation” for ourselves.

Before jumping into our adventures within Beijing, I’m going to take it back a few weeks. I think this will make things easier to understand. Upon landing in China, we quickly realized that the whole country was shutting down for the New Year. To fight the 13 hour jet lag, we took a small trip to Shanghai with a couple friends who live in Nanjing too. We’ve been to Shanghai numerous times, because it’s only an hour (or 2 depending on the stops) train ride from Nanjing.  IMG_7046invite you to an anniversary party to celebrate their ten years of marriage!We spent a good portion of our time eating good food, walking around the People’s Square, and visiting the largest Starbucks in the world! I was in coffee HEAVEN! I didn’t know this was even located in Shanghai until a few months ago. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery was 2 stories high and was it’s very own coffee factory. They offer way more food and drink options at this location. I tried the butterscotch latte and it was the best latte I’ve ever had. I’m not sure if this was seasonal or available everywhere? It was new to me. 🙂5Processed with VSCO with g6 presetOf course it was packed with people, but you could spend hours here watching the coffee being made, looking at all the special merchandise, and even enjoy a pairing bar! This is something everyone needs to see when visiting Shanghai. I can’t wait to go back.IMG_7050IMG_7052Our friends are huge Disney lovers, so they hold season passes to the Disney Shanghai park. They showed us the beautiful Disney resort and took us to the Downtown Disney area. Taylor and I are excited to experience Disney Shanghai later in the year. We all grabbed dinner at the Cheesecake Factory before retiring back to our hotel for the night. Tay and I returned to Nanjing the next day.

Now remember when I said the whole country of China was shutting down for the Chinese New Year?? Well this created a small setback for us. Taylor wasn’t expected to return to work for several more weeks, and our city was becoming emptier and emptier. Instead of sitting in our apartment for days and days, we booked last-minute train tickets to Beijing! Bullet trains can take anywhere between 3-4 hours to reach Beijing from Nanjing, depending on how many stops it makes. IMG_7200The two of us love Beijing, and thought this was the perfect time to experience an authentic Chinese New Year! Whenever we travel to Beijing, we stay within the Sanlitun district because it’s the most western and a fantastic place to meet people our age who are also expats. There’s always something going on!3 We kicked off our second day by watching the Super Bowl at 7am at The Local. I’ve never seen so many Americans in one location within China before. It was so odd watching the Super Bowl this early and without all the dips and snacks, but it turned out to be really fun!2On Chinese New Year, we met up with friends who live in Beijing to visit some of the festivals. There were shows, food, and extravagant displays lining the parks and streets! By the way, it was freezing!!DSC_56044IMG_7233DSC_5644The whole day was spent exploring and immersing ourselves into a Chinese New Year celebration. DSC_5692DSC_56496DSC_5670I was really hoping to see a Chinese dragon show, but we couldn’t find one. Apparently it’s a southern China thing. However, they still had a bunch of performances that were super fun to watch. DSC_56537DSC_5657DSC_5698DSC_5703I loved seeing all the vibrant colors and different traditions China upholds every single year. They really know how to ring in a new year! 9DSC_56878After the celebration, we called it a day. We spent the next few days eating more great food and walking around Beijing together. It’s always nice to get away for a few days and experience something new!

A Fall Day in Shanghai

Hello!

As I mentioned in my last post, China has been celebrating their Chinese National Day all week long. We stayed in Nanjing most of the week, but decided to spend our last day off in Shanghai! The last time we were in Shanghai, it was only our second week living in China. I was feeling very lost and uneasy, but I felt so full of joy this time! I’m so thankful for everyone’s constant prayers for Taylor and I.

Shanghai was very hot and humid back in June, so now that the weather has started to cool off, we were eager to return for the day! After spending time in Shanghai during the summer and now fall, I can 100% recommend visiting the city in the fall. I can’t be held accountable about the other two seasons, but it was beautiful when we went this time. It was less crowded, easier to get around, and just all around more beautiful.

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We didn’t have any big plans for our afternoon in Shanghai. Ultimately, we wanted to get out of Nanjing and do something other than lay around in our apartment. This was the first time Taylor and I have had an extended amount of time off with no plans. Typically, we jump on a plane the minute we have spare time. We both felt like we needed to breathe and regroup after returning from Italy, plus we’ve got a heavy travel schedule coming up!

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We took the bullet train from Nanjing to Shanghai (2 hours max), which is the fastest and easiest way to get there. Shanghai is actually a 5 hour drive one way by car, so I don’t recommend doing that! Once we arrived, we took a taxi to The Bund. This is one of the most scenic areas you can visit in Shanghai. The easiest way to describe it, is as a long stretch of buildings along the Huangpu River that overlook city. Not only is the view pretty great, but the buildings along the bund were built by the French and full of history. It’s easy to forget you’re in China as you’re walking alongside the river. Both time’s we’ve visited Shanghai it has been hazy, but clear skies in China are rare.

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Once we were done walking, we took the subway to the “Fake Market.” We visited a different “Fake Market” the last time we visited and had a blast. You can’t take photos or film in the markets, because well…..it’s all illegal. You can find some amazing knockoffs here and it’s something everyone needs to experience. It’s not for the faint of heart though! If you’re not willing to get aggressive and haggle, don’t bother going. 🙂

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It was almost 3 by the time we were done walking around the market, so we stopped at Tocks for a quick lunch/dinner. We found this Canadian restaurant on Trip Advisor and it did not disappoint! Taylor and I split the chicken sandwich and loaded fries!

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Once lunch was over, we went to our favorite place in Shanghai, Big Movie. I talked about this in my last Shanghai post, but it’s a massive movie store where you can find just about anything you can think of, new movies, television series, Disney, and all the classics. If you love movies, you absolutely need to stock up while you’re visiting. Each movie costs 13RMB, which is equivalent to 2 Dollars. After we were done movie shopping, we bought train tickets back to Nanjing and called it a day! We had a great time escaping our city for an afternoon and have hopes of returning again soon.

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I made another YouTube video of our afternoon in Shanghai, and you can watch that here:

Thank’s for following along! xoxo

 

Our Second Week – Visiting Shanghai

Hey Y’all!

Before I get into the update about our second week here in China, I wanted to start by saying a huge THANK YOU to everyone who reached out to Taylor and I this week. I was super nervous about being so raw and vulnerable about our experience in my last post, but there was nothing but kind and gentle encouragement. I was shocked at how many people called and messaged us! We really appreciate the friends and family who encourage us through all seasons of life. These messages and phone calls gave me so much hope, and have been making my transition much easer. If you haven’t read my first post on China, you can click HERE.

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With that being said, another week has come and gone here in Nanjing! This week didn’t feel as dreadful and long as the last, and I’m relieved. If you’ve been praying for peace over us it’s working, so thank you! There were a lot less tears and no anxiety attacks this week!! So that’s a HUGE win in my book! I’ve also gotten my camera out again, so there’s a lot more pictures in this update!

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Right now, I’m holding onto routine, routine, routine. My mom recommended that I try and make my daily life as “normal” as possible. Although things are much different here, her advice has helped tremendously. Moms are always right. 🙂 Taylor and I get up, go to work, come home, go for a walk, then go to bed. This routine gives me something to look forward to and keeps me from being “bored,” which triggers my anxiety. I’ve also been trying to redirect my thoughts. Instead of focusing on all the negatives and the things I’m missing, I’m thinking about all the positives and what I can have! Unlimited travel opportunities, experiences, less distractions, growth, and unlimited time with my husband. We chose to move to China because of all the amazing benefits, so I may as well enjoy them right?

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Our weeks are structured a little differently here because Taylor’s schedule revolves around a baseball team. We always have games on Saturday’s and Sunday’s, so Monday’s and Tuesday’s are our days off. This week, we chose to visit Shanghai during our “weekend.” We chose Shanghai because it’s a lot more western compared to Nanjing!

This was our first time taking the bullet train within Asia and we were super impressed! They were exactly on time, clean, and Taylor didn’t think it was too hard to navigate. I’m directionally challenged, so I just follow him around everywhere. 🙂 We are 5 hours away from Shanghai by car, but only 1.5 hours away by bullet train.

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We booked one night at the Grand Hyatt downtown, and had a very chill weekend. This was exactly what I needed mentally. Shanghai is very diverse, so we didn’t feel completely out of place. We saw so many other non-Chinese people, which made my heart very happy! We ate American food, shopped, and did some exploring! The Grand Hyatt was beautiful and I’d really like to stay here again! It was perfect for a one night stay.

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Traveling to Shanghai for one night really made me happy and gave me some normalcy in my life. The smooth train ride makes me giddy, because I can’t wait to start traveling to a lot more parts of Asia during our days off! It gives me peace, knowing that when things get rough here in Nanjing, I’m one short train ride away from Shanghai. Taylor has continuously gone above and beyond to make me happy and comfortable here in China! I don’t know how I got so lucky. 🙂

I’d like to start writing about other things in China like, the differences, what we wish we’d packed, working, etc. Please comment what kind of content you’d like me to write about! Thank you!