I’m not one for corny pick-up lines or cheesy sayings, but I feel like recently I’ve found myself starting many conversations with the clichéd phase: “How about this weather?”
When I arrived in Shanghai in February, I was shocked by how cold it was. Every day I bundled up in sweaters and jackets as I headed to class in the mornings and donned sweatpants and sweatshirts when I made it back to my apartment at the end of the day. I thought Shanghai’s winter months would’ve been much warmer than New Hampshire’s, but the cold surprised me! There was no snow, but the temperatures still reached the low numbers.
However, as my spring semester flew by, the weather started to warm up. My jackets stayed piled up in the top corner of my closet and I slowly found myself grabbing short sleeve shirts to layer under my sweaters and sweatshirts, in order to dress appropriately for both the warm outdoors and the chilly, air-conditioned indoors. It was only the spring and I felt as though I was in balmy Florida. I loved the warmth after the cold winter, but definitely wasn’t prepared for what was to come.
People would say to me, “Good luck living in Shanghai for the summer, it gets even hotter.” I couldn’t imagine it getting any hotter, as I was already sweating in shorts and tank tops at the end of my spring semester, but they were right…
It did get hotter… and hotter, and hotter!
Now that it’s well into the summer months, I think my body has gotten increasingly used to the heat. However, there’s just no way to completely escape the 100-degree temperatures and thick, humid air.
Since Shanghai has such a convenient and easy Metro system, most people walk or use public transportation to get around the city, including myself. I’m often walking from place to place or squished next to another commuter on the subway. Because I’m not getting into an air-conditioned car everyday to drive to my office in the morning, maybe a museum in the middle of the day, or a restaurant for dinner, I almost never show up somewhere without a nice shine of sweat adorning my face, a little frizz in my hair, and the need for a giant glass of cold water (which I almost never find because in China everyone drinks hot water because they believe it’s better for your health)!
It’s almost comical at this point because no matter how hard I try to look presentable when I leave my apartment, I’m always rosy-cheeked and flustered when I arrive at my destination. Sometimes I walk into work in the mornings and my supervisor chuckles at how frazzled I look after my hour-long commute (which isn’t fair because he drives his car to work everyday).
The heat and humidity is definitely part of the summer experience in Shanghai and I’ve come to realize that it’s truly inescapable and something you learn to embrace. Even though some days I feel as though I might melt into a puddle of sweat on the sidewalk, I know this opportunity is one of a kind and feel so lucky to still be in Shanghai. Many of the kids on my spring semester program have reached out to me expressing sentiments of jealousy, explaining how much they miss Shanghai and wish they were still here!
Although I definitely miss my summers in New Hampshire on the lake, I know there’s always a cold shower waiting for me when I get back to my apartment at the end of a long blistering day and that the lake will still be there when I return to the States in the beginning of August. So for now, I’m trying to stay as cool and dry as possible, but welcome my last month of hot, humid adventures in Shanghai with open arms because a little sweat never hurt anyone!
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<p>Ever since I was a child, my life has always been linked to helping other people. I founded Kids Helping Kids when I was in sixth grade after I was in a serious car accident. While in the hospital, I heavily relied on the support of my friends and family as I had recovered. As I reflected on my accident and the serious injuries I had suffered, I saw the incredible power that I was shown as everyone came together to help me heal. The idea to start KHK was inspired by the small acts of kindness I witnessed from so many. I was so moved by the generosity of my peers that I wanted to harness that energy and share it with others, who may not have the same access to support. Kids Helping Kids has changed the way I view the world and others around me. I love volunteering because of the experiences and lessons I gain. It has shown me the power I have to make a difference in another person's life, and the impact that the people we serve have on my life.</p>