rainy days, crowded subways

It’s fun to run around and splash in the rain. It’s refreshing to have a slight drizzle on a hot summer day. It’s calming to hear the pitter-patter of rain on your window while snuggling up with a good book. But it is super, super annoying to have the skies open up as you’re leaving for work and need to get to the subway to get home. Especially when it wasn’t forecast to rain until a few hours later, leaving many people (such as me) caught in pouring rain without an umbrella.

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I could’ve joined one of the many groups I saw that were huddled under awnings trying to wait out the worst of it, but who knows how long I’d have to wait? So I braved the short trip to the subway station, because I could not wait to change into pajamas. And then I had to wait for what seemed like forever for the train to come on a crowded, humid subway platform. And then I got shoved into a subway car and was pressed up against way too many slightly damp/sweaty people.

Because in New York, rain means puddles galore, wet and slippery streets, lots of slightly damp strangers, and super crowded subways. And considering it’s the middle of summer (hot and humid), it’s the city (so the rain was probably toxic), and subway platforms have basically no airflow, it was kinda gross. So … that was a fun ride home.

rain rain go away

This past month or so has been absolutely damp. It’s rained almost every day. Kinda depressing, but acid rain is better than choking air, right? Er … or is it a toss-up? When there’s bad air, everyone is basically forced inside and you start writing your will because you figure you’re going to die soon. When there’s rain, there are umbrellas hitting you in the face left and right and taxis are near impossible to find.

However, rainy days make for some pretty reflections with the wet pavement. Shanghai loves its bright rainbow lights, and while they generally come across as ostentatious and gaudy, they can make an otherwise gloomy day a bit more fun. Take for example the below rainbow-fied East Nanjing Road, one of the main shopping streets in Shanghai (at least historically). Kinda cheery, right?

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Rain rain go away, come again some other day. It’s got the “come again” part down, if only we could work on the “go away” part ….

the frankenstorm begins

This is the view out my window. It’s only 6:30 PM, but it’s really dark outside, the wind is howling, and I have a feeling a few of those trees lining the street aren’t going to last very long. The storm’s just started, so it’ll probably get much worse as the night goes on. No school/work today or tomorrow, so that’ll give me a chance to catch up on thesis research and give me some time to recover from being sick. Thankfully we still have power! And lots of chocolate!

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danger danger … déjà vu

Remember last year … just about now? I had just moved into my new apartment and whaddaya know, New York had a hurricane AND earthquake. Being from Texas, I’m used to hurricanes coming around, but the earthquake was trippy. It was my first earthquake (however slight it was) and it was pretty unusual for New York as well. Today, THERE WERE TORNADOES. IN NEW YORK. TRIPPY.

The tornadoes touched down in Queens and Brooklyn, which means I’d be safe in my new apartment – right? Except today of all days I went to Queens. Whups. The weather was nice in the morning when I ran some errands. As I was getting on the subway, it seemed like it was sprinkling a bit but nothing major. Thankfully I had my umbrella with me, because as I exited the subway in Queens, I was greeted with a torrential downpour and emergency text messages on my phone telling me to seek shelter! Um … right.

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I didn’t see the tornado, so I still have not seen a tornado in my life despite having lived in some tornado-prone states. Eh, probably for the best that I have never seen any funnel clouds barreling towards me. Maybe there’ll be a blizzard this winter and I can add one more natural disaster to my list of experiences. I think the lesson here is that I really should check the weather.

trapped by rain

Sigh. Last summer Texas had droughts. This summer Texas has torrential downpours. I feel kind of trapped because of it. I’ve been spending wwaaaaaaayyy too much time cooped up in this house. Exactly one year ago I was traveling around China, doing whatever I wanted. This picture is from when I was on the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in Beijing … and spent the day with a random Spanish guy named Julio (who I met on the chair lift). Ah, that was a fun time.

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No such fun-ness here. Thursday I didn’t go to work because there’s no way I was going to drive half an hour into downtown Houston through heavy rain with thunder. I’m not a good driver to begin with, and getting on the highway when it’s raining heavily, I’m freaking out, and other drivers are freaking out … it ain’t pretty. Thankfully no flooding near where I am. It’s just … ugh.

april showers

There’s the old saying that April shower bring May flowers … goodness gracious I hope that’s true. It’s been raining ALL DAY today and it’s quite annoying. I was extremely low on groceries so I forced myself to trek out there. Ugh. It’s very awkward carrying groceries while holding an umbrella. But now I have food in the fridge and I’m all cuddled up in my pajamas, so all’s well that ends well.

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This is a sculpture in Times Square that I visited a few weeks ago. It’s called “Soñando New York (Dreaming New York)” and is by Pablo Atchugarry. It was hand-carved from a single block of marble – amazing, eh? It was a nice piece, but I think I would have liked it much better if it was in the space of a museum or gallery. I’m not too fond of when they put sculptures in Times Square because most pieces just get overwhelmed by the surroundings, and it always makes me sad to see so many people just walking by a piece without appreciating its art. I need to make a point to trek back down to the Chelsea galleries one of these days. The New Museum and Whitney are still on my list as well. Sigh. I might try to make a day of it for this Friday … if I can squeeze in the time.

rainy with a chance of veggie sausage

Shanghai’s been rainy. As in, it’s rained every single day for the past week. And it’s getting to be quite annoying. Not only are both of my umbrellas broken (still usable, but kind of lop-sided now), but it’s nasty splashing around in these dirty puddles. Plus, my morning commute to school is RIDICULOUS. This entire week I haven’t made it to class on time. Trying to get a taxi when it’s raining tries my patience like nothing else. If I don’t go the taxi route, the bus ride is about 20 minutes longer than normal and then I still have to walk across campus in the rain. I try to give myself extra time, but on a normal day I have to wake up around 6:30 AM, so … I can’t bring myself to wake up much earlier than that.

In other news, work is busy. My birthday is coming soon. Last night I went to a vegetarian restaurant. Wait, what? Me, who can’t go for a meal without meat, went where? Yep. My Chinese friend insisted I try this one restaurant called 早吃素, which literally translates to “Early Eat Vegetarian” but it’s English name is “Vegetarian Lifestyle.” You know how Chinese people are good at faking things? They’re pretty good at faking meat too. Below is a picture of vegetarian sausage, that really looked and tasted like normal sausage. Kind of wild. Good too.

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rainy starts

It’s rained for the past few days, which is kind of nice in that it has been keeping the temperatures down. It’s still warm, but thankfully not stifling hot like it probably will be in the next week or two. Earlier today I went to Yuyuan Garden and walked around. Nothing terribly special, but it was still a good while. It rained the entire time, which is probably why the place wasn’t ridiculously crowded, but it also meant that I had to walk around holding an umbrella and my feet got really nasty because I was wearing sandals.

I feel like time is moving a bit faster these days. The end of my stay in China is getting closer and closer and it’s kind of nerve-wracking. This Saturday will be my one-year anniversary of being in Shanghai and I can hardly believe it. One year in Shanghai. Wow. I’m kind of proud of myself for that. I’m excited to go home, but I really have gotten used to living here and there will be quite a few things I’ll miss. Days like today, just wandering around a rock and water garden, splashing around in the rain … that’s the kind of thing I’ll miss.

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shopping spree

[NOTE: This post originally appeared on a now-deleted blog and is being re-posted here for my own sake.]

That last post was a tad depressing, so how about a happier topic? Buying stuff is always happy, right?

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Yesterday I went shopping and spent about $20 on crafting supplies. Yikes! Why the high total? I went out to get some keys made, got lost a MILLION TIMES, had to get my friend to Google directions for me, and once I got there, was told that they didn’t have any of the correct sized keys. Oh and it was raining all day. I had been out for over two hours (on what should’ve been a 30-minute trip), had no keys (which was the main purpose of my trip), and in addition to being stressed out, was wet and sloshy. So naturally I bought stuff, because that’s what I do when I feel like crap – retail therapy.

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I didn’t feel so great when I got home, but the rain really was quite pretty and I normally do like rain. I took this photo when the rain let up a bit and my camera wasn’t in serious danger. The white flowers just looked so calm and peaceful against the background … if only my mindset would match.