Wednesday night, 19/10/2016
Is there a name for that particular sort of irony, where when the days are middling along and something happens (mild friendship drama, went on a bad date, saw a rogue squirrel, ate some really good cheese), you want to share it with everyone around you – dissect, analyse, gather opinions – but when a huge succession of crazy, wonderful, awful, significant things build up in your cache of stories to share, you suddenly kind of can’t be fucked?
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Ulaanbaatar
Where do you begin? Where do you end? Who even caresssss. In the three months of summer, I flew 37000 kilometres, traversed the length of Russia by train (and consequently didn’t shower for four days), rolled across the Gobi Desert in a 4WD driven by a gruff Mongolian man who communicated solely in grunting noises and timely bursts of laughter. The CD in his car played both folk Mongolian songs and outdated Jason Derulo hits (well I guess all Jason Derulo hits are by definition outdated).
Bayanzag, Gobi Desert
I visited Korea, the US, Mexico, Russia and Mongolia for the first time, amazed by each country more than the last. I laid under a big blanket with three of my favourite people in the middle of the desert and looked up at an unthinkable number of stars while listening to Nikes like a gross cliché.
Through it all I was very happy and very sad, very loved and very lonely. And when I thought of home, the image that popped into my head was Shanghai, the people there, my dank little dorm. I missed the language and the food and the crowds and my regular spots.
Happy and sweaty and full of picnic foods – Xujiahui Park, Shanghai
I arrived back in Shanghai with no luggage (Air China lost my bags). Bike, missing. The entire dorm covered in mould, my clothes just positively fuckin leaking straight spores so help me God. Everything smelt mildewy and damp, dusty and grimy after months of neglect, everything stewing in the Shanghai humidity. Nevertheless, it felt familiar and like home and I believed that with a little work, things could be good. I filled a trolley with bleach and sponges and scours and got to work. No stain or mark that I couldn’t scrub until it was like new again. No tarnish that couldn’t be erased, like it never existed.
Eventually found my bike but the seat was missing lmao ffs China
After a full two days of cleaning, things did look pretty good. I threw out all the old, mouldy stuff and carted home a new mattress, sheets, pillow, quilts. Bleached every surface. Restocked the pantry and packed away clothes that I finally accepted I was never going to fit into again with all that new Mexico everything-con-queso weight added onto my existing Shanghai baozi weight. Yes, great, everything was on the up.
But that particular brand of Shanghai summer dampness is a tricky thing to escape once it takes hold, and a home isn’t something you can clean once and expect it to stay that way. You have to keep working at it all the time if you want to keep it nice and comfortable. If I kept a cupboard closed too long without airing it out, it started to smell a bit off again. I bought big dehumidifying packets to stave off the mould, but within days they would fill up to capacity with dirty water, faster than I could repurchase them from the Walmart three metro stops away.
Okayyyy yep better stop there because I’ve definitely exhausted the shit out of that metaphor aye. Either way, things are okay, and I’ve come to accept that concessions don’t necessarily have to count as failures.
Seriously though, that’s the moisture that accumulated in one week…disgusteng
But always happy to be back with Shamily, even if getting traumatised at DJ Snake
Doing My Best, Even If It Is Not Very Good: Compromises I Have Made Lately Which Can Be Interpreted As Failures Or Victories Depending On How Much I Hate Myself On A Given Day
- Possesses complete indifference to Chinese studies. No desire to improve. However, still forcibly shows up to class at 8am everyday, even if just to read Franzen under the desk for 3.5 hours straight.
- Still hasn’t read that genocide book by Samantha Power because it has too many words and looks sad and depressing and am already sad and depressed. However, still reading that Franzen book and is not too embarrassed about it.
- Can barely get out of bed most days, let alone exercise, is very weak and unfit. However, inability to get out of bed to exercise also means inability to get out of bed and procure ricotta pancakes/ dumplings/ braised pork belly/ pizza, despite very much wanting to binge on all of those things. Noone teach me how to use Deliveroo.
- Spends 90% of waking hours horizontal, immobile in bed watching TV shows. However, has now seen everything from Mr. Robot to essential Wong Kar-wai films and is therefore more culturally in touch, which is always good in a communications student, right, right?
- Some days doesn’t shower. However, other days DOES shower.
Bein art hoes and shit in Seoul
When you’re forced to buy 1st class train tickets from St Petersburg to Moscow and ask for seconds of all the cakes to make your $ back
What happens when you let Annie Wang do the groceries, Jeju Island
Completely unrelated to anything but this matcha cake went off so hard, so just for the mems and posterity
Red Square, Moscow
The single most Juliana thing to ever happen – getting a ‘modesty’ blanket wrapped around me because my skirt was deemed too short and risqué for this paddleboat
Witnessing Rafa’s slow and sad decline at the Shanghai Masters
Colour Run more like colour walk and talk shit and discuss what a marketing scam the Colour Run is
Working on my standard Shanghainese recipes – tomato & scrambled egg
Working the taps at Shanghai Wine & Dine for 10 hours straight can you tell how much fun I’m having
Going rock climbing for 20 minutes and then rewarding ourselves with a 2 hour Korean BBQ feast – the Shamily way