Shanghai for a Year

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The vibrant skyline stood dead. It was 4:30 A.M. and life ceased to exist on the streets of Shanghai. The sunrise peaked through the jungle of buildings across the river and shined onto our faces. I stared at the skyline, thinking how much the city had changed me in a year- the friends I made, the unique culture, and amazing experiences I was leaving behind saddened me.

In the stillness, memories flashed by, from when I first deplaned, unsure of the coming year. The city life seemed unfamiliar- multitudes of people, overflowing trash, and the stench of smoke permeated the air. However, I couldn’t believe I was having a hard time saying goodbye to Shanghai. Despite its flaws, I had become attached to the people, the culture, the traditions, and more.

My usual cuisine of a juicy burger or a slice of pizza was replaced by pigeon and chicken feet. Sometimes, the components of a meal were so unrecognizable that meat and vegetables seemed to blend into a questionable dish that could only be conquered by picking up chopsticks and drenching the mystery food in soy sauce. Broadening my palette opened my taste buds and my mind to new things. The forever gray skies I had gotten used to, suddenly turned blue as if they were giving me a...

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