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Last weekend was Daisy's birthday. I took her on a surprise trip outside of Shanghai, which she will be blogging about sometime in the near (meaning hopefully before 2011) future. Daisy's birthday also always coincides with the first weekend of March Madness basketball. The Madness is no less appreciated over here in China (by me at least). That Kansas St/Xavier game was unreal. It had me giving Daisy gchat play-by-plays of what was happening that she most probably ignored. Anyway, TAKE THAT to everyone who questioned me picking Butler in the Final Four (oh, the rest of the brackets count too?)
Now, on to the subject of this post...Yesterday evening as we sat in a restaurant with some friends for dinner, I started doing a mental headcount. It turned out that there were an astounding nine different country passports among the eleven people at the table. Shanghai is the definition of an international city. As diverse as New York is, the different nationalities don't typically mix on more than a surface level. A nations culture really is made up of it's people and here in Shanghai, you get to know people from different backgrounds on a really personal level. This is a phenomenon that I wasn't fully aware of, but now appreciate and enjoy. My estimation (which in now way represents any official census) of population in Shanghai by country looks like this (not counting Chinese):
7. South American (mainly Brazil)
8. French (I've heard that there are tons of French here, but I haven't met quite so many)
Of all the different nationalities that make up our many friends, I don't think any has been as revealing to us as the Germans. We have a bunch of good friends here that are from Germany, and have met countless others. When I went to the China vs. Germany soccer match last year, thousands of Germans showed up in full force. My impressions of Germany from our friends here are that the people are really easy to make friends with, ask tons of questions, love to laugh and smile and don't take themselves too seriously. German is also a crazy sounding language. So Danke to Andreas, Yvonne, Mirjam, Dominic, Nina, Chris, Daniel, Seoul, Hannah and the rest of our German friends for sharing your lives and culture with us. You're giving your country a good name in my book.
Andreas and Yvonne; German takeover of Shanghai Stadium; everyone's German friend Dirk Nowitzki (no, i don't know him personally)
We also recently went on a double date with our friends Grayson and Jessica (non-Germans from America). We went indoor Go-Karting up here in Shanghai. Whoever built this place must have just watched The Legend of Ricky Bobby because this place was more decked out than Talladega Nights. They went all out with the decorations, from genuine NASCAR racing suits to winners podiums and F1 cars. Really fun and really fast go-karts too. But the 70RMB ($10 USD) per 8-minute run price was a little steep.
In other news, Daisy's birthday also marks the first day of Spring. Meaning Scooter Riding Season (cheaper, but equally as much fun as Go-Karting) begins....
Response to comments:
Julia - You're welcome to come over anytime. XuHui is cooler than Jing'An anyway.
Johnny - It's gone by fast, but we've gone through and done so much in the past year, it feels like we've been here for ages.
Kristen - Thanks! By the way, I had some Thin Mints a couple weeks ago. Yes, in China. mmmm.
Corey - Rent is about $730 USD per month. Why, looking for a place?
Kev - No makeshift door this time. This apartment comes with a real one. We're moving on up.