Back to the Burbs

Back to the Burbs

John and I arrived in SFO on Sunday morning. Despite having plenty of leg room on this reasonably-lengthed flight (10 hours direct), we were cranky as hell– during and afterwards. I tried not to complain, because looking around, everyone (except for first class) was subjected to the same uncomfortable conditions; yet, the travel was just so utterly unbearable. I know, what the hell happened to my toughness? What the hell happened to my tolerance? Oh that’s right: never had tolerance to begin with. Anyhow, by the time we got our baggage and cleared through customs, we were absolute disheveled messes. My friend Tina picked us up, and I’m sure she was thinking, “Wtf??!”

All I know is, I really need to figure out the secret to traveling better, because ultimately, this is going to be a huge limiting factor to us being world travelers. Hmm, I should just ask my friend Jenny, who used to be a flight attendant for Cathay Pacific. Can you believe two years ago she almost convinced me to apply for a flight attendant job with Cathay at their SFO base? I know. Hilarious. Everyone I know says I would totally suck as a flight attendant. I happen to think otherwise, but that’s just because I’m cocky like that. Regardless, thank goodness flying is not my profession. I much prefer sitting in front of the computer. Ha.

So the Asia trip finished up nicely. John and I hit a wall towards the end: originally, we had had all these lofty plans to cruise around our old stomping grounds, to get our hair/nails done at our local salon, to check out our old apartment, old supermarket… yes, we were all about tapping into the nostalgia. But I’m happy– and a bit relieved– to report that there are no plans to move back to Shanghai. Like Cary Tennis wrote before, It was a great situation that ended. And now I feel the closure. Sure, I could have lasted longer, but that period is over now.

On our short three days in Shanghai, we met up with a couple of old friends. We hung out with Kathia, whom we last saw in like 2005 maybe?), and we met her adorable doggie Mush. He was so cute, but seeing him really made me miss our pups. Funny thing, Mush was wearing this red Castor & Pollux herbal collar– it made him smell so damn good. Guess who has that same collar now? Yup, Remy and Martin both. I was skeptical about the herbal collar before, but they smell delightful! I almost want to smell like that! (Leave it to Kathia to research all the quality dog products). SH was a great end to our Asia trip: Kathia took us to all the cool finds. The first night we indulged at a chocolate lounge/bar called Whisk. The next day, we got foot massages (I sure miss my massages!) and then stayed up late talking at a quaint little cafe. She recently nailed a kickass job (as well as a nice new apartment), so things are really starting to gel now… Congrats Kathia!

In other news, we also met up with my friend Helen. Helen is my Lipstick Jungle idol: she’s got the whole successful corporate woman thing going. She’s Shanghainese, so there’s always interesting insights from her. For example, how would you rate the following items on the sexually progressive-conservative spectrum?
– tampon use
– premarital sex

I was complaining to Helen that I was having a difficult time finding tampons in Taiwan and HK. Apparently, in Shanghai, tampon refers to both the pad AND the “stick.” So Helen starts telling me this story about how one of her Chinese coworkers needed a “tampon” at work… A British colleague handed her a Tampax. The response? The Chinese lady was so HORRIFIED that she gave the thing back! Never, ever would they use something like THAT! Exactly. My perspective? Wtf? Freaking out for no damn reason.

Later in the day, Helen starts telling me about her younger sis, who moved to Australia two years ago with her boyfriend. I started asking all these roundabout questions like, “Did they live together immediately when they moved overseas? So, they lived together before they were married??” Helen’s response, “Of course. Hello, this is modern China. Sex before marriage is very common.” Uh ok. Is it just me, or do you see a serious disconnect here? Isn’t it fair of me to assume that premarital sex is out of the question, especially given their whole tampon stance? Apparently, I’m missing something. Cultural insights.

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