Friday, August 22, 2014

Set the Wayback Machine to...2010

In August 2010 I moved to Shanghai.  What made this move different from other expat adventures was the fact that I already knew people who would be in Shanghai...not only Socrates, whom I was stupidly following there, but our colleague Meen from RAK as well as a teacher I never actually worked with in Korea, Roisin.  I knew she was cool because she had become friends with MY cool friends during the year I was gone to Bahrain, but I didn't realize exactly how cool she was until I made it to Shanghai and, in spite of not actually knowing me all that well, she welcomed me to China.
Within the first month I was there she asked if I'd be interested in going to the big, fat birthday party of an Irishman named Nick.  Shanghai is chock full of expats, but none bring the craic like the Irish.  In fact, there is a big Irish organization, the aptly named Shanghai Ireland Association, and if they were the mafia, Nick would have been one of their dons.  Thus the big birthday party.  Complete with guys in kilts.  Authentically wearing nothing underneath.  Kilts are Scottish, you say?  Who cares???
Roisin, being Irish, was our link to the Irish mafia (she also organized our tickets to the St. Pat's ball, which was even better craic, even if I did forget my bag o' swag when I left that night).  She even let me bring Socrates and Meen (if that doesn't seem like a big deal, you've obviously never socialized with Socrates before).
If I could change one thing about my two years in Shanghai, I'd want to spend more time with Meen.  She was always up to try new things, and I never had bad Chinese food with her.  My last two weeks there she let me stay at her apartment (the Hami Lu Hilton!) when I had to clear out of mine to make way for a new tenant.

In addition to good friends and men in kilts there were some rockin' tunes, some of which were on bagpipes.  There was also food and booze - which I generously allowed others to partake of in my stead.  It was a really great evening, and it added to the hopeful feeling I had that Shanghai was going to turn out to be a really great place.

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