Friday, January 29, 2010

Everything that's not supposed to happen

Home, sweet home

Ah, Hong Kong! What a city! Not that I had any time to experience it, but still! The temperature was just lovely. I walked around in a dress and a cardigan, not feeling the slightest cold. And what a bunch of fashionable, good-looking people that live in Hong Kong?! Both westerners and Asians, men as women. The only thing I found weird was speaking English to the taxi drivers and getting a bit of a “huh?!” response every time I tried to speak Mandarin to someone. I would love to live in Hong Kong one day though, it’s a wonderful place.

(And one thing’s for sure, I’m definitely coming back for a “no-work, all-holiday-Hong Kong-trip” sometime in the near future. That’s a city that’s just way too much fun to not experience properly!)

Although my days in Hong Kong were golden, the fun ended when I caught the Hong Kong express (super convenient) to the airport. It started off with my flight being 3 hours delayed. So, instead of landing at a reasonable, 8pm at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, I landed just before 11pm. That was after a rather shaky flight, as the compulsory turbulence managed to hit the plane so sudden and so violently that several air stewardesses fell over. People seemed rather taken (including me, I was vivid) until we got a small box of Häagen-dazs ice cream to compensate for any unpleasant experience, and afterwards it was all smiles and laughter (It should not be “If you truly love her –treat her Häagen-dazs” but “If you want to make them happy –give them Häagen-dazs”).

Once we landed, I moved from the shaky plane to a taxi. Unfortunately, my taxi driver engaged in a game called “driving-as-fast-as-I-can.” At one point, we almost hit another car, which resulted in me yelling:

-What are you doing? You don’t have to drive that fast you know?!

He simply replied with:

-I know I don’t have to, but I want to.

….and drove even faster. Like so many times before, I was clinging on to my backseat, eyes closed, feeling a mix of tired and terrified.

Getting home to my fridge-cold flat was not fun, but at least I was still alive, so no complaints.

And then everything went quite smooth (I managed to brush my teeth and go to bed without a new close-to-death-experience) until I woke up extremely early (and insanely tired) on Thu morning, determined to get to work extra early in order to catch up.

Just as I was about to hit the shower, fresh coffee brewing in my coffee machine, all the lights went out. My flat turned completely black (it was just after 6am and still dark outside). Furious, I slipped on a pair of PJs (gosh, I should throw those out, shouldn’t I?), UGG boots (ugly but useful), and a jumper and rushed downstairs (amazing that I didn’t manage to leave my keys inside, locking myself outside would have been the icing of the cake), yelling at everyone I saw that I needed some help because I’d had a power cut.

Still as angry (and a bit cold) I stormed back to my flat and sat at my table, armed with a flashlight, feeling angry, upset and stressed.

For 20 minutes I sat like that, feeling more stressed for every minute that went by. I even considered having an ice-cold shower, but the thought of stepping out of a cold shower and into an even colder flat made my skin prickle. When no one had arrived after 20 minutes I lost it, and ran downstairs again, this time begging someone to come upstairs and help me, tears in my eyes:

-Please, please, can you hurry up! I need to get to work!

This did it, and 2 minutes later a sleepy but friendly man joined me in the elevator, looking at me curiously (I bet it was my PJ pants).

It took him about 15 minutes to change the fuse and try things out, and for that he wanted 20 rmb. I paid without blinking, feeling like I’d just been granted a second chance to live once the power came back and the aircon started blasting out warm air. I ended up feeling rather grateful the rest of that day, despite me not having time to wash my hair. Never underestimate those little things in life! (and never turn on 2 aircons, 1 heater and 1 microwave at once in my crib).

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hong Kong

Me, and Mia (the blonde yeti to the right) in 2008. However, our friendship goes way back...

When you are reading this I am in (or on my way to, depending on if you are an early bird or not) Hong Kong. Left early Monday morning and will be back in Shanghai late, Wed night. Since it’s a work trip I cannot promise you any updates or photos.

Although I’ve been to Hong Kong once before I cannot say that I know the city. My last trip was a 5-day stopover on my way to Sweden from Australia, that, my friend Mia and I spent feeling as confused as lost. Not to mention giant-like. We re-named ourselves to Yeti-Mia and Giant-Jo (yeah, back then I was Jo, not Jonna, because I got sick of all Aussies calling me Joanna) and these were also the names we told everyone who wanted to take our photos (quite a few people and I'm not going to lie -we loved it). We had a great time even though I have no idea where we actually went? Like I said, a bit disorientated.

One of my freshest memories is from us, about to take a ride in a tiny rollercoaster (some amusement park –yeah I know, I know, don’t ask! And no, it was not Disneyland, this was back in 2002), sitting there with our knees hitting our chins (Mia is, as you might have guessed, is a flag pole and a big foot just like me), ignoring the worried glances from the staff. Just as we are about to take off, one of the guys comes running towards us and yells:

-Ladies! Keep your heads down! KEEP YOUR HEADS DOWN! Duck during the whole ride!!!

….and we did. Trust me, we did (I was actually so scared I closed my eyes, but according to my much braver friend Mia, our heads had not actually been THAT close to the poles. Just a bit).

Another good memory is from us realizing that the not-so-fancy-but-oh-so-expensive Guest House where we were staying (this was long before I had any connection to China and I did not know an iota about haggling) did not have a shower but a… hose. Which were located on top of the toilet?! So, in order to shower, you had to actually SIT (or stand –but not us because we were too tall. This hose was as tiny as it was short. I suppose we could have squatted) on the toilet and wash yourself. Not that I want to tempt you or anything, but we actually have photo proof of this. Scary, locked-up photos of us washing our hair while sitting on the toilet. Uh-uh.

Memory number three is about the food. Mia was not a fan of the local stuff and insisted on eating at Pizza Hut as often as possible. “Boring!” I thought –and dragged her along to all kinds of strange places that I could find. Since Mia still refused the cuisine, she would ask the waiters if they had some (safe) pasta/pizza dish she could get meanwhile I was munching away on my rice and god-knows-what. This worked well until one day when a waiter promised her a plate of Spaghetti Bolognese and ended up giving her a bowl of rice noodles, ketchup, sausages and baked beans?! In order to soothe her trauma and show what a good friend I was I agreed to eat with her at Pizza Hut the next day.

Yeah, so that’s the memories I hold from my last visit to Hong Kong. Today, 8 years older (GOSH!) and wiser (right?) I hope I can get a better idea of what the city is all about. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Whisk Brownie -because you're worth it

My sister and her hubby digging into a Whisk brownie

Last night I went to Whisk Café and enjoyed something I have truly missed during my Suzhou days: a Whisk brownie. Like most girls, I am a chocolate addict, and the Whisk brownie is one of the best chocolate fixes my taste buds have experienced (there were some pretty good chocolate mud cakes in Fremantle in Australia too, but unfortunately they are kind of out of reach nowadays). If you live in Shanghai, love chocolate and have not yet tried the Whisk brownie, I recommend you to go and have a bite. It’s quite filling though; so don’t bother with a meal before it…

Back in 2006/2007 when I was living in Shanghai I was a regular at Whisk Café, mainly because our office was in the same neighbourhoods. Whisk's brownies became a Friday standard for all the girls in the editorial team.

Then I moved to Suzhou and could not indulge in the brownies quite as often as I would have liked to (my waistline is grateful), however, I still remember once when I went there with a girlfriend and we spent 20 minutes looking at the menus, another 10 at the counter and looking on all the chocolate cakes on display, and then in the end felt so guilty that we ended up ordering ourselves one cup of hot chocolate each. As we were sitting there, sipping our hot chocolates, a waiter suddenly appeared and placed a huge chocolate cake on our table, and handed us two spoons:

-From the manager. He thought you girls might really want one.

Flabbergasted, but happy, we enjoyed our treat and that’s about when I decided that I absolutely love Whisk. Not only do they do good brownies, but they also have a manager that truly knows what girls want!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Price check

Mmmm, blueberries! Not that easy to find in a city like Shanghai. Oh-so-good but oh-so-expensive, especially if you buy them in a western food shop like Cityshop. One box, same size as the photo (not sure about the brand, didn't look any closer) was priced 48 rmb/box when I was there last wknd. 

Then, you head to something mid-range, like the huge supermarket Carrefour (which has a rather modest "imported food section") where the same box sells for 32 rmb/box?! 

Already here I could no longer resist the temptation and bought a box telling myself that "I was worth being spoiled for one day" (would not think twice if it was chocolate).  

On the other hand, I found the price difference between Cityshop and Carrefour rather interesting. Is that the reward you get for being crammed together with hundreds of Chinese while shopping (=Carrefour) rather than being able to push your trolly in empty aisles (= Cityshop): Slightly cheaper blueberries?

Well if that's the case then it's not even worth it. Walked by a fruit stand at Ulumuqi Lu last night and saw, believe it or not, the very same blueberry box! 

-How much, I asked the vendor. 

-xxxx, he said. 

I instantly bought 2 boxes feeling not the slightest of guilt. 

Now the one million dollar question is: how much did the vendor charge for one box? (Remember that I'm a "stupid laowai" so I was probably overcharged -and still it was cheaper than in the supermarkets!). 

Point to be made: it really DOES pay off to do your shopping on the streets rather than in the supermarkets. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My yoga attempt

In my right element

I’ve always loved sports: playing, watching it, talking about it. When I was living in Australia swapped basketball (which I had been playing since I was 11) to long distance running and hitting the gym. Worked fine for me, especially the running.

In China, however, running simply has not been that fun. And I tend to get bored with gyms. So, last night I decided I’m ought to try something different, namely hot yoga.

I’m not completely new to the hot yoga scene. Back in 2007 (when I was living in Shanghai) I tried it, thought it might be good for someone lacking any kinds of natural flexibility skills, and bought an expensive card, which I only half-heartedly used. This time I decided to be a bit smarter about things. I went to a yoga club, negotiated the membership fees and was told I could try a class and then decide afterwards if I wanted to join or not. If I wanted to join, that class would be free. If not, I would have to pay for it.

The young Chinese people behind the reception desk were super nice and friendly as we were talking, and last night I went in for a class.

Since I am not completely new to hot yoga (however, I am terrible at it, so people might as well think so when they see me strike a pose) I thought the one hour class was going to be fun.

Something went wrong, however, starting from the very beginning. I felt dizzy, ill, my feet and toes (yeah, toes?! I mean, come on!) were cramping up and for a while I was about to pass out (I have fainted numerous times in my life so I have learned to recognize the signs). After struggling for 30 minutes I decided to leave, apologized to the instructor (who was great, my bad state of health had nothing to do with him) and snuck out. I felt a bit bummed about it, but it’s always best to listen to your body.

Then I got to the reception, where I realized that the oh-so-friendly people were in fact glaring at me as I came walking.

-I didn’t feel so well so I decided to leave, I said.

-You have to pay.

-Yes, of course I will.

I paid in silence. Not another word. No talk about membership, about why I was not feeling well, about anything. Not even a goodbye when I left!

I left feeling rather stunned. They, who had been so super friendly suddenly behaved as if I was invisible, just because I left before the class ended (and, because I obviously would not be purchasing any membership card that night). Man, they sure have something to learn about customer service over here.

I decided about then and there that maybe yoga isn’t for me after all. Not only because of the way those fake friendly reception people treated me or because I felt bad during a class, but simply because, well… running is still more simple and straight-forward. Dear treadmill, here I come.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Always pay attention to notes

Another one bites the dust

Saturday morning. Jonna is not feeling well due to something that has to do with Absolut Rock vodka drinks. But there’s no such thing as lingering in bed on a Saturday in China, because rise and shine, at 9am it’s “knock on your door”-time.

Unsure of what I was thinking I opened the door wearing blue, men’s PJ pants, an oversized jumper and with my hair looking like a badly made bird’s nest on top of my head.

The young, perky looking Chinese guy outside my door, however, barely noticed my state of mess:

-I’m here to exchange your gas meter!

Gas meter… gas meter. Vague memories of me washing my face in ice-cold water the night before and sending angry text messages to my landlord suddenly started to play in my head. (Note to self: don’t text your landlord when you’ve had cocktails. On the other hand: nice work Jonna! You told him well after midnight and by 9am the next morning he’s already sent someone out to change the gas meter?! Not bad for being a landlord that took 4 days to get me an internet connection despite first promising to do it straight away).

-So did Mr Yang called you? I asked the young, perky Chinese guy who was already well underway with changing my gas meter.

-Mr who? No Mr Yang. I am just changing the meter for you.

Now, I’m definitely not kitchen-device-smart in any way, but as he was pulling and twisting that gas meter of mine, it suddenly hit me….

-Hang on a minute? Isn’t it the water heater that you should be changing?

For a short moment, the perky guy’s eyes went blank.

-I am changing the gas meter. Later someone else will come and change the stove.

-The stove?!

-Yes, the stove!

-The stove?!

-Yes. The STOVE.

-How about the water heater?

-What about it?

A terrible moment of complete confusion hit me. The perky guy went on meanwhile I, feeling rather perplexed, grabbed my phone and started to panic-type a sms to my landlord.

“They are changing the stove and the gas meter. The water heater is broken. What is going on?”

Five minutes later I received a not-so-comforting reply:

“I have no idea. Wait at home. I am coming over.”

The perky guy left holding my “old” (I say “old” because it was practically new, hence my hesitation to him exchanging it) gas meter under his arm and slamming the door after him, leaving me with a:

-Don’t go anywhere! Someone will come and change your stove soon!

I managed to yell after him, suddenly feeling an instant urge to understand what on earth was going on. I ran up from the couch (where I had parked myself, oblivious to what else to do) and opened the door and there, straight in front of my eyes was a bunch of other perky looking young Chinese guys walking around, one of them with a gas meter under his arm and on his way into my… neighbour’s flat?!

-What are you doing? I demanded.

-We are changing the gas meter! One guy said.


-Because…. Miss, have you not seen the note downstairs?

-The note?

-Yes, the note saying that we are changing all gas meters, stoves and water heaters in your building today? You should remain at home because people will come and visit you throughout the day. If you want to choose what kind of stove you want you can go downstairs to the yard and look at the different types on display….

Ah, that note!

Nah, I’m not even going to try that. I had not noticed any note. In fact, I had deliberately not paid attention to any notes when I had arrived home from the office, late every night, tired and hungry, wanting so much for the slow elevator to move faster and take me up and definitely not wanting to pay any attention to notes about gas meters or anything else for that matter.

I had completely ignored all kinds of notes.

(Well, how is it that it goes again? You learn from your mistakes?! Yeah, something like that!)

I ended up spending Saturday inside waiting around for people to come and change things in my kitchen (around 3pm they were done with everything. By then I was so hungry I was about to drink the expired milk in my fridge). The hot water arrived sometime around 2.30pm and my landlord came around 1pm.

-Jonna, did you work till midnight last night?! He said, looking as if he had seen a ghost at the sight of me.

-Working? Eh, yes. I lied, simply wimping out and refusing to admit that I had in fact been sending drunk-text messages to him.


The story ended somewhere after that, by the time my kitchen floor was close to black as a result of 8964982634 more or less perky (but all very dirty) guys being in there changing everything that they could change. Sometime around 3.30 I enjoyed a delayed breakfast/lunch and then Saturday started. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Different nightlife scene

The difference between Suzhou and Shanghai really hit me this weekend. Despite the fact that I was dead tired when I left work on Friday I had decided that unless I felt as if I was about to die, I would go out with a girlfriend and drink cocktails and celebrate being back in town.

Since this girlfriend of mine works in media she pulled out an invitation to an Absolut Rock/Fashion party at some fancy bar in Xintiandi, just as we were finishing off our first cocktail at El Bar on Yongfu Lu. The deal of the party was simple: Jenny Ji fashion show, Absolut Rock specials with open bar (= free drinks), live band, flaring bartenders and a posh setting. We decided to give it a go.

I had almost forgotten the word pretentious since I have not experienced it for a long time in Suzhou (you go into a bar in Suzhou and the staff either pretends they don’t see you and continue chatting to each other, or, they become over-attentive and super friendly), but once we stepped into the lavish surrounding it became clear to me that we were two big nobodies to the not-so-friendly-staff. That was, however, until my friend pulled out her name card which set off a frenzy of air kissing and fake smiling. It was rather entertaining if you ask me.

The party itself was okay. The drinks were nice, the band was quite good. The fashion show… we kind of missed as it was held on the first floor and we had been sent to the third. My friend was only moderately impressed with everything, especially with the staff. However, I have to say that it was nice to be out and about again, even though I felt so tired in the end and almost fell asleep in the taxi on way home. Do I need to mention that when I eventually came home and went into the bathroom to wash my face there was no hot water in the tap? And that I, annoyed and maybe slightly affected by the amount of cocktails I’d had, decided that it would be a good idea to text my landlord about it, despite the fact that it was after midnight? Nah, well let’s just leave it there.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Back on track (finally!)

Forgive me for my absence. I started my new job this Monday and it’s been rather overwhelming. Also, living in a flat with no internet connection (and no microwave?!) for 1 week it quite unbearable. However, after extensive nagging-campaigns initiated by me and targeted at my new landlord he finally gave in and took the time to fix up my flat. And now, ta-da, I have the net. I’m connected. And I can blog again. YEY!

So how about work then? Well work is just work right?! I won’t go into details about my job in this blog but I can tell you that it’s an exciting new job with a lot of responsibilities and that I’ll be staying in China for quite a long time if everything goes as planned.

This (the new flat, the new job, the new…. Life?! Because it is a new life for me!) will be celebrated tonight with an old ex-colleague and the largest possible drinks we can get at a cocktail event in downtown. I am so, so happy about finally living in Shanghai again. No offense to Suzhou, but Shanghai is really the place where I want to be.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Moving time

Shanghai, I'm back!

My Suzhou days are counted: I’m moving to Shanghai today! After three hysterical days of house hunting (pretty much became BBF with one of my agents, another in the line of Chinese men who refer to me as You-LA rather than You Na 友娜!”) I finally found a perfect pad: fairly small but with a perfect location in the French Concession. 

I start my new job on Monday and my new flat still doesn’t have any internet connection, so I might not be able to blog/publish comments until the end of this week when things get sorted. So, if this blog isn’t updated for a few days you know why. Promise to be back in a few days time with some good stuff (like the story of when I went to the gym to let a friend take over my card, something the sales girl had promised me “wouldn’t be a problem at all!” when I asked her about it when I renewed my membership last year –yeah right!).

Friday, January 8, 2010

Different sense of humour

Just the other day me and my boyfriend caught a cab to a restaurant in downtown. We could not believe our luck when we realized that the backseat of the car actually had seatbelts that were usable (usually there are seatbelts in Chinese taxis, however, no buckle). Happily we buckled up and chatted away until we, five minutes later, were interrupted by a roar of laughter coming from the front seat.

We curiously looked at the driver through the rear-view mirror, keen to find out what had made him laugh out loud.

He, however, was cracking up so hard that he could barely speak. He simply laughed and laughed, making both of us giggle too.

Finally the words came through:

-He…. Use…. The…. Hahahhahahahahahhahaha! Seatbelt!

-Seatbelt what?
I asked?

-Him! A man! His size! Use seatbelt! Hahahahhahaa! Such a strong, tall man! Use seatbelt!

Ahhhhhh, so that’s what it was all about. Out giggles immediately came to a halt, however, then we thought about the weirdness of this situation (an un-buckled-up- taxi driver laughing because we are taking the most basic safety measurements and use the seatbelts available when in a taxi that is completely oblivious to any kind of speed limits?) and it was our turn to start cracking up.

Oh China. Sometimes life here is charmingly absurd.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

House hunting day 1

I know some people enjoy house hunting, moving, starting over and all of that… and although I admit to enjoying moving between different countries, I’m definitely not a fan of moving to different places in the same country. It’s dreadful and tiring, and in a place like Shanghai it takes forever (or more) to find a decent flat UNLESS you are on an unlimited budget.

I’m obviously not, so I need something fairly cheap and neat that has a good location. Yeah, try that in Shanghai and see what you get…. Not that much, actually.

Or OK, let me explain what I mean. Not all the flats that I’ve seen are bad. Some are actually really, really nice! But if they are nice, the location isn’t good, and vice versa. Finding a good place with a good location (that doesn’t eat up every single penny I earn) is quite hard. Shanghai housing is really for those with money.

Yesterday I had a total of 5 different agents that showed me 11 flats. Out of those 11, 4 were completely disgusting (old, dirty, falling-apart-like, overpriced and simply… yuk!), 2 were unfurnished, renovated but had a bad location, 2 were OK but had a terrible location, 2 were way too expensive (read: overpriced) and 1 was PERFECT, but when I was there oohhing and aaahing over what I saw another prospective tenant arrived and said he wanted it on the spot. A fierce discussion took place, and even though the lovely landlord preferred me, the sudden attractiveness of the flat made her realize she could make a real buck out of this flat, and therefore the rent went through the roof. In the end I had to decline. However nice a flat is it’s not worth spending all your money on. Or well, that’s just how I see it.

One of the agents I went with was this “we have a fancy website with pretty but overpriced places”-kind, and the places she showed me were the biggest disappointments. She took me to old buildings and showed me flats that were “cliché-Chinese” meaning: all the interior was made up of cupboards with Chinese characters, everything felt a bit dirty and old, and the shelves were full of typical Chinese tourist clutter that is most likely to have come form a fake market.

“I believe many foreigners want to live like this, it is very Chinese!” she said, beaming.

“I guess I’m an exception,” was all I could muster. I don’t buy for a second that any Chinese person would actually want to live like that (besides, I've been to Chinese family homes and they don't look anything like that). It’s like me filling a house with porcelain meatballs and Ikea and Volvo posters simply because I am Swedish, telling others this is a “typical Swedish home.” Would you believe me?

Anyways, today the hunt continues. At least I learn as I go. In the beginning I was all polite even when stepping into places I immediately knew wouldn’t cut it, simply because it felt rude to say “No thanks!” on the spot. But now I’m not that polite anymore. I have to say that a majority of the agents that I saw yesterday were really cool though! I made good friends with three lovely, senior Shanghai ladies that were running one agency at Wukang Lu. During a 40 min-interval that we needed to kill (waiting for a landlord to arrive) we had a real woman-to-woman talk where they curiously wanted to know everything about Swedish men. Were they all taller than me? Muscular? Handsome? (one of the ladies was still single and quite keen).

Another agent (a young guy form Anhui) was also really nice and ended up taking me around on the back of his motorbike, speeding up every time I told him to slow down.

Today’s a new day of Shanghai house hunting, let’s see what it brings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Home, sweet home

Our troubled tub: pretty but problematic

There I was, thinking that this time my return to China was going to be smooth.

Exclusively enough, I enjoyed the privilege of being picked up from the airport by a company driver, since two important business people arrived on the same flight as me (normally I don’t get any pickup). “Wicked!” I thought (that saved me 400 kuai on a private car or the hassle of taking a train/ airport bus), until it was revealed that these 2 important business people had lost their luggage. So, to start things off, I had to spend 1,5 hours waiting at the arrivals at the airport, constantly being approached by strange drivers asking me if I was “Fanny/ Lisa/ Miss Frank/ Miss god-knows-who.”

Eventually we all gathered and could take the car back to Suzhou.

To say I was hungry when I came home is an understatement. Super sweet, artificial tasting cherry crepes as my latest airplane meal x hours ago had proved not to be that filling.

However, there were more important matters to be dealt with, such as:

* A freezing cold flat.

* A somewhat flooded bathroom.

* Angry neighbours complaining about one of our aircons making a noise, so loud that the woman (who’s pregnant – as they eagerly pointed out) downstairs cannot get her beauty sleep.

* A hysterical landlord calling me the minute I stepped inside (“Where have you BEEN?!” I just saw you step inside your building from my window!” –Stop spying on me, woman!) telling me that since our electricity bill from December has not been paid they will turn off our power on Jan 7 unless we take action.

….Ah, what better way to deal with it all but to simply pick up the phone, order in copious amounts of Chinese food (at a minimum charge), wait for it to arrive, eat, and THEN deal with everything?

Yeah, that’s just what I did. I don’t operate well on an empty stomach. Also, as usual, I've missed eating Chinese food.

Now the bill is paid, the bathroom is temporarily fixed, the noisy aircon has been turned off, the neighbours are happy, the flat is still freezing cold, and I have gotten my Chinese food-fix. Time to start house-hunting and dealing with new matters.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 must-dos

New year, new beginnings…

In 2010 I’m going to:

* Run more (and guess who's got a pair of new Asics to do so?! I officially refer to them as "my new babies"). Speaking of that... does anyone know of a running community that train together regularly in Shanghai?

* (Re) start doing yoga and really try to enjoy it

* Buy less shoes

* (Hopefully) travel more

* Start writing letters instead of emails

* Never complain about the weather (what difference does it make?)

* Start learning Finnish and/or Spanish (I figure I’ll give them both a go and then stick with the simplest one. I’m pretty sure it’ll be Spanish)

* Continue improving my Mandarin

* Continue blogging (yeah, one day went by and I felt that hm… I can’t stop quite yet can I?!)

How about you guys? Got any New Year resolutions that you've already broken?