While studying abroad in China last fall I only cooked one meal; a pesto pasta for my home stay family.  I love to cook and its something that has always comforted me.  One of the many things I have loved about my summer in Shanghai is going to the green market, fruit stand, and grocery store to put together lunches or dinners for myself.  I can’t deny the beauty of having delicious, fast and cheap noodles soups out my front door, but when I have the time, cooking provides a creative process and some time for myself to do something I love.  Everyone has their own way of processing what is happening in their life, such as setting aside time to draw or write in a journal.  I am discovering that my creative outlet is through food, and more importantly making it from scratch.  Since I eat out so often here, my kitchen is poorly stocked, but I turn this into a game of sorts by seeing what I can come up with given limited ingredients.  Today I made sautéed chicken in a fragrant olive oil (onions, garlic, salt and pepper cooked in the oil for a few minutes to infuse it) and Chinese vinegar marinade.  It’s nothing you would find in a cookbook, but it came out really well!

On a co-workers tip, I visited a dumpling shop that sells their handmade dumplings frozen to cook at home.  I definitely haven’t mastered the art of the perfect steaming time, or method for cooking them, but they are a delicious and easy snack.  One night this week, I ordered two vegetable dishes (cucumber salad and stir-fryed green beans with garlic) from a nearby chinese restaurant, brought them home and had them for dinner along with the dumplings.  It wasn’t exactly home-made by me, but it was close enough.

Last weekend a few friends organized a taco night for ten or so American friends in Shanghai.  I spent the morning chopping up a fresh salsa and putting together a guacamole that was enjoyed with chips and tacos later.

Last weekend I also shared my knowledge of American cooking with a coworker and her friends, baking chocolate chip cookies with them!  They were all surprised by how simple cookies are to make, as well as how much sugar and butter they use.  

    


Living on the top floor is hot, but it has its perks too. Last night’s sunset was amazing from the 17th floor #shanghai  (at 交通大学)

Living on the top floor is hot, but it has its perks too. Last night’s sunset was amazing from the 17th floor #shanghai (at 交通大学)


Pretty #shanghai buildings on the edge of the #frenchconcession seen on an evening run

Pretty #shanghai buildings on the edge of the #frenchconcession seen on an evening run


A few weeks ago I was asked to write an article for an expat newspaper called the Shanghai Star.  If I was asked to write the article now, I am sure it would sound completely different.  Looking it over, it strikes me as naive and wide-eyed (and cheesy), but I also find it refreshing to have locked in those feelings and be able to reflect on how far I have come in such a short time.     

Look Below for the full text.

A few weeks ago I was asked to write an article for an expat newspaper called the Shanghai Star.  If I was asked to write the article now, I am sure it would sound completely different.  Looking it over, it strikes me as naive and wide-eyed (and cheesy), but I also find it refreshing to have locked in those feelings and be able to reflect on how far I have come in such a short time.     

Look Below for the full text.


A published writer

(The text of my article for the Shanghai Star.  See the above images caption for more information.)

Rachel Levine, Student and Summer Marketing Intern at American Medical Center

Two weeks after arriving in Shanghai for a summer internship at American Medical Center, I bought a bike. Its low-slung blue frame, single gear, and high curved handlebars maneuver me reliably, if not always gracefully, through the one-way streets of the French Concession.   At dusk, riding to dinner, I can watch the small patches of sunlight seeping through trees fade, and the neon start to take precedence.  I spent the first two weeks here relying on my feet to get me where I needed to go, and now, soaring down the street on two wheels feels like a dream.  The pace is something wonderfully soothing, somewhere between the rapid stop and go of a taxicab and the methodical rhythm of placing one foot in front of the other.  Atop my bike, surrounded by the six o’clock smell of wok oil and scooters taking their riders home after another long workday, I feel part of an entirely different Shanghai.

Skeptics may question this last dramatic statement, doubting how much of a difference owning a wheeled device (motorized or not) can make in a new city, but they have clearly never felt the hot Shanghai air become a cool breeze by the simple act of hopping onto a bike.  Owning a bike me brings me one step farther away from the traveller who walked off a plane in Pudong, and closer to a member of Shanghai’s vibrant local lifestyle.  

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A new view, my life made better by Facebook, and a new appreciation for the human body

When life is full exciting things I tend to go out and do them, promise myself I’ll share them all with the blog the next day, and instead write belated posts with very long titles. 

I moved into a new apartment last week.  I will be here until I leave Shanghai.  It has a lot more space, a real closet, and a queen size bed.  These would all be great on their own, but I am also discovering that the neighborhood is really cool too.  I am on the edge of Jiao Tong University, and it reminds me a lot of being in Kunming with small food stands, little shops, and street vendors on the corner.  I am also on the edge of a park, and I love seeing the familiar sight of women dancing in the evenings.  It is also across the street from DaDa, a dive bar and alternative going out scene with DJs who play funky beats from around the world. 

When I’m not dancing (which, to be honest is most of the time) I love to explore new restaurants with friends. 

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A selection from the past two weeks


China has happy people and happy dogs….on motor scooters! (at Shanghai City)

China has happy people and happy dogs….on motor scooters! (at Shanghai City)


The sun came out today! 🚲🌿#shanghai  (at French Concession)

The sun came out today! 🚲🌿#shanghai (at French Concession)