A Year In China, Dammit!


Well, thought computer saved my last week’s worth of entries. Maybe not. No time to check now. If not, I’ll have to recap later.

“You’re face looks weird,” sixth grade Brian just told me bluntly. I think he meant well, maybe. I think he meant younger now than I shaved (??).

Middle schoolers.

Tonight’s our big performance at Shanghai Children’s Theater. We had our first full rehearsal yesterday. Yup.

Song is completely in Chinese.

Supposedly, there was a 10p.m. meeting somewhere last night to hash out last minute deets. I also was under the impression dinner tonight would be a sit-down affair with folks from China Welfare Institute.

Well, turns out it’s a bag lunch while on the bus to theater. I’ll most likely get a piece of fruit.

It’s Teacher’s Day here. Seems most Chinese folks know this. I don’t know if it’s such a prominent day in U.S. 4 seventh grade girls I taught last year made me a wonderfully thoughtful card. It is so touching. A current 6th grader gave me a red carnation.


What a tremendous experience: performing on a big, bright stage in Shanghai Children’s Theater, near the West Bund. Men in black suits with red bow ties. Women in gold gowns. We stormed the stage and it sounds very easy on the ears. Only 3 minutes 16 seconds, but it may as well have gone on for hours. So glad when it ended, but I savored the limelight immensely, I cannot deny it.

We honored the homeland. I didn’t get home ’till 22:30 and mostly missed dinner. But I must sacrifice myself for the Motherland.

9/09: 10k run at the East Bund. Thought it’d be about 5 min/k but felt stronger than expected and went 4:16. I can tell running economy’s definitely improved because I was mostly relaxed. Just pushing in a bit more in last of the four loops.

80% humidity but really blessed to be out in darkness of Shanghai, running along such a beautiful waterfront.


9/08: 07:20am meeting down at InterSport. Only 2 folks at the first InterSport Sunday run last week. 11 this morning. Ran 45′ out towards Mercedes Benz Arena, passing by lily ponds, through “the forest,” and completely separate from vehicle traffic.

Gorgeous route.

Stayed with Gabriele and Rob.We ran about 18k together. I then added on 12k solo, coming to virtual standstill in last few kilometers due to heat, humidity, and lack of carb intake.


9/07: Strong West Bund run–10 miles, 7:31 average, no fluid intake until run was over.

At lunch afterwards at Green Vege Cafe, then vegan pizza later at Beer Plus.

Great, relaxed day in Shanghai.


9/11: Hot, humid, Shaghai-style. Meeting me after a run is not a pretty sight. Great seeing the students reaching their running goals–measured by  number of laps on our 300 meter track–during our ECA (ExtraCurricular Activity) hour. I threw down the gauntlet for myself by telling the kids I’d run 20.

Tall order considering how my time is divided during class. Invariably, I have to talk with kids who finish running earlier than others. Making sure they stretch, everyone’s okay, no one’s sitting just to sit.

But I did it. Just in the nick of time. Anton jumped back in and ran with me for  two of my last four laps. I could tell he was gutting it out, so that was great.


9/12: Early release today. Shortened afternoon periods. Staying after for track workout with Leigh. Mid-Autumn Festival this weekend. Shanghai Arts Festival. Shanghai Jazz Fest. I’m not really participating in those ventures but am greatly looking forward to an extra day to sleep in. And Guilin and I may go to Shanghai Disneyland tomorrow if she finally gets a day off after working for nearly two consecutive weeks.

After some initial confusion as to whether we would meet tonight or not, Guilin electric scootered–diandong che–over after work. We walked to La Sosta for a good Italian dinner of spaghetti with vegetables-mushrooms and a vegan pizza.

9/13: I cannot overstate how incredible it is to get on a subway train for 5 stops, change to another train and then arrive about 40 minutes later at Disney Resort. Just amazing. Especially for one like me who has so many of my fondest memories within Disney parks.

Shanghai Disneyland is a remarkable place. The largest among Magic Kingdoms, with a brand new selection of at least one vegetarian–all vegan, I believe–entree at every watery within the Kingdom.

Guilin & I hadn’t been together for about three months. So glad she had idea for us to go. Even though it’s her first day off work in two weeks. We really took our relaxed time, too, meandering around. We discovered new eating spots, tried a mushroom rice bowl at the Mickey Avenue food hall–complete with big screen video of “Saludos Amigos”– and the new veggie burger, at Stargazer Grill in Tomorrowland.

We hit Tron first, then on to Pirates, Winnie the Pooh, visited Neverland, and walked through Alice’s Maze. No rush. Found a quiet bench next to the lake by Pirates and ate popcorn and fruit.

Finished by Soaring.

Every moment with Guilin at Disneyland is so memorable.

9/14: Chinese lesson from 10:15-11:45am. “Smoke Detector” run to Decathlon with pack on to pick up a few things. Ran 9.6 miles with a half dead right quad from yesterday’s gym session with trainer. He put me through the ringer. Unbelievable drinking fresh juice immediately after run from my juice place. Passion fruit-pear, followed by mango-orange.

Ran into Johnny on HongMei and he joined me at Indian Kitchen for dinner. He regaled me with stories of buying a motorcycle in Vietnam and driving through desolate countryside. Spending $1 to staying in a roach filled bed in Calcutta. Motorbiking around along a dirt road in rural Laos. Being the only person around for miles on a remote Cambodian island.

He truly appreciates every moment. Living in Asia for nearly 6 years, he has no intention of rushing back to England. How could he?

How could I rush home?

We have it made here in Asia.

Free apartments in a great neighborhood. Free transport every workday. The life and conveniences of Shanghai. Holidays.

Disneyland. Guilin.

East Bund-West Bund. Cutting edge running just taking off here. So exciting to be here living the running boom I entered into later in USA.

2 years, and nearly one extra month,in China so far. My plan was to get here. Here I am.

What’s next?

Like Johnny said last night, “Why fix what’s not broken?”

9/15: Slept 9 hours. Ate a small breakfast. Took my time. 11:35. Haven’t started my long run yet. Heading to InterSport now. I’ll be solo. Maybe a bit anti-social today. But, hey, we’re each on our own training plan. It’s all good.

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