The Painful Transition from Summer to Smog

For most of my college friends, and probably 2/3 of all college students, they may have just finished your winter break. I, on the other hand, just finished my summer ‘holiday’. In Sydney. On the beach. All day, almost every day. And then, when I had enough of Australian beaches, I went to the Philippines – only to go to the beach some more. Now, my skin looks slightly orange, I have unidentifiable bug bites, a weird henna tattoo – every remnant of a pretty good summer vacation. I went skydiving, riding on motorbikes, climbed the harbour bridge, attempted to go snorkelling, drank good old Australian goon, celebrated Christmas in 30 degree heat (Celsius, not Fahrenheit) – and managed to gain back parts of my Australian accent.

But, I finally managed to drag myself back to Shanghai. Here, I wake up to an AQI of 195, as opposed to 10, what it is in Australia. I wake up to horns blaring and the chill of winter. But I’m so glad to be back. Shanghai’s home, and even though I could have an asthma attack at any point in time – I love it here. I already had my encounters with the staff at Family Mart, I saw the 串 guy and had interesting experiences with cab drivers. It’s strange how my life can hardly remain static, but for most, nothing changes. And in a city like Shanghai, where nothing is ever still, it’s almost comforting to see how much remains the same.

I have one last weekend before I start a new semester – and maybe I’ll wake up a little less disorientated than last semester. Maybe eat a little less 包子. Probably not. And until I make my way back to Australia? I have vegemite to get me through.

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