So last month was my birthday and it turned out not to be just a birthday, it was a birthday month.
One day we were sitting on the couch just watching some TV, it was probably the beginning of September and Undies suggested to me ‘why don’t we go to Shanghai for your birthday’ seeing as my birthday was around the corner. Me being me, I love birthdays and love doing things to make them special and memorable with the ones that are special to me. This year was obviously going to be a little different and a little heart sore that it would be my first birthday ever celebrating it away from my friends and family back home. However, as much as I was sad about not having family around, it still turned out to be a super successful birthday and definitely is one to remember.
For our birthdays back home, you would have to make a list of what presents you want for your birthday, and yes, we still do this. One day, Undies had asked me to make a list (no different to anything that he would have done if we were back home) of what I wanted for my birthday. It was a weird one to make a list, because I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted for me, but rather for the apartment. Eventually he would just be asking me random questions when we were at the shops if I would want something like this for my birthday or not… gradually my list grew. As time went on, Undies had sent a picture of my birthday list to my folks. My folks had looked at buying some presents in South Africa and trying to courier them across to China, but the fees to do so were just ridiculous and out of this world. So, my folks had got in contact with Undies being all sneaky and all and had tried to organize using his Taobao account to get presents ordered and delivered for my birthday. It was pretty funny because they managed to get a glimpse of what our daily lives is like with the lack of English and using Google Translate to figure everything out in life. So they started hunting on this website and realized that you could pretty much get anything and everything off of this app, so it’s a good and bad thing when you live here. We obviously had to teach them what to press when they wanted to buy something, but then they went on a mission and a half.
They had added so much into Undies cart and once the payment had been made for all the presents the adventure began. We have it set in our app our apartment location, but even though that is there, that doesn’t mean that it is always delivered there. There tend to be 2 or 3 different places that things get delivered to that we know of, however, when the presents were being delivered they were being delivered to who knows where. We would go down to our usual postal delivery place in our building thinking it would be there, yet it wasn’t. So, the hunt began for all these presents easily 2 or 3 weeks before my actual birthday began. It got to the point and still is at the point that we have no idea as to where the presents were delivered. We have gone to all the places that we could possibly know where they would be delivered, and there is no trace of them… so I guess if we find them, the birthday celebrations can carry on and maybe turn into Christmas celebrations.
As time went by, before we knew it, it was the day before my birthday and all the presents that Undies could find were wrapped and placed in the lounge while I waited to call my family so that we could do the normal birthday. Just because of the time difference and the fact that on Sundays we start work earlier than during the week we decided it would make sense to do the presents the night before, instead of waking up super early or staying up till midnight or even later. Eventually all the presents were finished and it was a bitter sweet moment to think that I got so many presents but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to celebrate it with my family, but they made it feel as normal as it could have possibly been for being on the other side of the world. The next day was my birthday, and Undies being the amazing boyfriend he is, woke up super early, made breakfast and I got breakfast in bed with presents and tea.
The day of my birthday seemed like a blur just because of work, but I knew that because of work it would fly by… which is not all bad because we were leaving that evening to Shanghai. We went and celebrated my birthday in Shanghai from Sunday night and came back Wednesday morning before work. Before we knew it work was done for the week and we were on our way to Shanghai soon, well once we got to the train station after our little metro trip.
A quick little hour and a half bullet train trip went by and before we knew it we were in Shanghai! We were beyond happy to be there even after being super exhausted! However, the fun had just started, because it was now time for us to somehow get to our hotel… we got a Didi (our version of Uber) but the stupid thing is that our hotel didn’t appear on the millions of locations, so we had to search for something near it. Eventually we turn down the road that we think the hotel is on and both of us are just like ‘this got pretty dodgey pretty quickly’ … we figured out that there is a shopping center and a hotel with the same name, guess which one we went to, i’ll give you two guesses. Finally once we figured out we were at the wrong one, now it was time to find a taxi because we at least had the hotels address written in Chinese, so this we at least managed to get and finally we got to our hotel!
The next day we knew would be a long one, but either way we were super excited because we were going to Disney Land in Shanghai, so who couldn’t be happy, even after a little bit of sleep. So we wonder off on the metro out to Disney Land and it’s as wonderful as I remember Disney World in Orlando being, where as Undies is gobsmacked as to how amazing it is, he felt like a child once again. The entire day was such a great memory, from all the rides, and meeting some our favourite Disney characters… yes at 23 and 25 we stood in line to meet Woody! The day eventually comes to a close, but it is definitely a day that neither of us would ever forget! If I think back even now, there were so many smells that I can think of, so many sounds I can hear, and so many amazing memories we made.
So we had our last day in Shanghai, and of course we some how managed to get lost, but hey I guess that is the fun about going and travelling! We eventually made it to The Bund and of course the typical photo opportunity of all the beautiful buildings across the river. We thought why not wonder around the city that side for a while and then we saw a boat trip up and down the river and we are glad that we did this… it was a way to see the buildings that much closer and actually got to learn about the buildings and some of the history about Shanghai. Later that day we ended up going back to the hotel and freshening up for an hour or two before we went and had an incredible dinner on the other side of the river. This was definitely a good way to end a birthday weekend in Shanghai! I think at this point I realized that this time last year, I never thought that I would celebrate my 23rd birthday in Shanghai! After such an incredible and yummy dinner, we wondered around Shanghai streets for a while and ended up finding ourselves at the base of The Bund, I think we were truly gobsmacked and shocked as to the size of this building! Eventually it was time that we wondered back to our hotel seeing as we had the first train coming back to Nanjing, so it was going to be a super early morning.
The weekend seemed like it flew by in the blink of an eye, but it was truly a weekend that neither of us, especially me, would ever forget! Was our first little holiday together, first city in China that we traveled to, first birthday out of South Africa… so it was a weekend of firsts that we won’t forget!