Saturday, January 06, 2018

Shanghai Diary: Three Weeks Later

It may sound like I'm exaggerating but not an hour goes by without thinking of Shanghai.

I won't give my usual list of what I miss -- food, people, etc. One of the strangest things that I miss was everyone around me speaking Mandarin. When I was over there I went out to lunch a few times with co-workers and they would speak to one another most of the time, leaving me out of the conversation and just speaking to each other in their native tongue. I have more experience with this than I might like.

Just today I was at lunch with three of my American co-workers and they were speaking to one another and leaving me out of the conversation. They were speaking another language -- or might as well have been. They were talking about sports of one kind or another. Football, mostly, and some hockey too, I think. I honestly could make out more from listening to the conversations in Mandarin. Plus, it was a little less aggravating to hear the Mandarin.

Having all of those conversations going on around me in Mandarin made my life a lot easier. Not knowing what was being said was akin to being able to just tune things out. Too often I'll be in public and my ears seem to pick out a single speaker -- someone annoying -- and can only hear them, even louder than my companion(s). I didn't have that problem in Shanghai.

Being here in the subzero temperatures of Michigan and seeing the 40-60 degree temperatures in Shanghai also make things a bit painful as well.

Being in the nicer weather and being in the big city lead to a lot more physical activity than I've been capable of doing over here. The good news, I suppose, is that I didn't gain much weight when I was there -- despite being so freaked out about not being able to maintain my diet. When I went in for a weigh-in I had only gained three pounds.

I've gotten a lot of compliments at work over the last week. However, every time that happens I realize that I'm only halfway there. One hundred pounds down, one hundred to go. And then it'll be time to maintain that weight.

I keep trying to think of a way to talk the powers-that-be at work into sending me back but I can't seem to find the right combination of words yet to make that happen. In the meantime, I'm just slightly miserable.

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