Bye, Shanghai! Here Are 6 Reasons Why I Love It

Bye, Shanghai! Here Are 6 Reasons Why I Love It

On the eve before I fly out to begin a new adventure, I think about Shanghai and 6 reasons I love it

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In the last twelve years, I've been living in a beautiful city called Shanghai. Moving to China in 2006 when I was still very young became a pivotal moment in my life. I was born in the US and lived there for a few years, so suddenly going to a new place (for who knows how long) was frightening.

As time went on, I grew older along with my city. I got a few more inches, the city got a few more skyscrapers (and huge malls). Though I experienced my share of lows in this place - from bullying to almost giving up - I also felt like my time here was for the better. I gained a lot from living in Shanghai, and as I go forth into the adult world I feel as ready as I'll ever be.

On this last night, I'm going to share some of my favorite parts about Shanghai.

Shanghai from the top of the world

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The view from the second tallest building in the world, the Shanghai Tower, is unmatched. Shanghai is one of the most populous cities on this planet, and is widely known as an international metropolis of finance, culture, and entertainment (lookin at you, Disney). Formerly divided into different concessions controlled by powerful Western countries: the US, France, and Britain, Shanghai experienced a rapid re-development in the 90s. Foreign business thrived, and the economy now is booming. Standing on the 120th floor, seeing the vast city beneath you, fills you with awe. The rainbow-colored neon lights, the bright yellow of the Bund, the red of the cars in traffic jams, everything is so surreal.

Meeting people from opposite sides of the globe

A selection of the schools that attended CISSMUN VI 2014, with a map of the world including pins where people were from

Closing ceremony video of the 6th annual CISSMUN conference (https://www.cissmun.org/)

Having the chance to meet students from all over the world at Model United Nations conferences as well as sporting competitions.

Every few months, a gathering brings together teenagers interested in international affairs, diplomacy, and politics, who come from international schools. I've befriended kids from schools in the United Arab Emirates all the way to Fiji. Participating in MUN allowed me to strengthen my public speaking, work well with others, serve as a leader, and develop a global worldview. Similarly, the varsity sport events also bring together students from different countries, like Japan and the Philippines. We compete against one another, but we really unite as the international school community. As a result of these experiences, I tend to be more tolerant of others' opinions, and open to a wider variety of people.

The AMAZING food & beverage scene...what can I say?

Flat-lay at Shanghai favorite Highline (http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/13870/highline), a must for anyone who loves aesthetic brunches

My younger sister, Hannah

An extensive list of cuisines, cute cafés, gourmet restaurants, luxury hotels, chain convenience stores, and street food has definitely made my palate pickier. In Shanghai, I'm able to have food ranging from Italian, French, Japanese, Taiwanese, Cantonese (gotta love dim-sum), Thai, Indian, American, to Shanghainese and beyond. Here, the tastes of the world are at your fingertips and there are quite literally too many options to choose from. I'm never gonna forget the tasty 煎饼 or the very expensive Joël Robuchon. I'll be back for all the brunch places and delicate Prée ice cream.

My high school

The opportunity to learn at a school as mighty as Concordia. As a Lutheran Christian private school, we were isolated from the typical Chinese students. But this same quality also created a sense of community that formed the basis of my second Emory essay. Our traditions, like Olympic Week (especially the Scavenger Hunt), Phoenix Fridays, Senior Snacks, and TrIBES helped me feel like I belonged. Since I never had many good friends, I strongly appreciated the support network that exists there, from the kind students, to the patient teachers, and the supportive counselors. Never did I doubt that I would have to go the road alone. Thank you for 9 years, Conco!

#PhoenixForLife

Live music and Broadway, can't get any better than that!

Group photo at the May 2nd, 2018 concert for the Mania Tour (featuring Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, Andy Hurley, Joe Trohman)

@falloutboy on twitter

Aside from all the more serious aspects of my reflection tonight, another highlight of Shanghai is the ability to attend concerts and watch Broadway shows of an international caliber. Musical artists such as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Avril Lavigne, Maroon 5, OneRepublic, Imagine Dragons, Ariana Grande, John Legend, Jessie J, Sam Smith, Mariah Carey, Why Don't We, Dua Lipa, Mike Shinoda, James Blunt, Oh Wonder, gnash, and Fall Out Boy have all graced/will grace the stages of Shanghai's many venues. Broadway productions like Kinky Boots, Cats, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast, Chicago, and more have also had countless curtain calls.

Ogilvy, which is now my dream job

Having the chance to intern for what has now become my dream company. Earlier this summer, I had the amazing opportunity to work for 2 weeks at Ogilvy, one of the best ad agencies. I went in expecting minimal assignments and an average experience, but I left with a new thought in my mind: How can I land myself a coveted position here in another 4 years? I thoroughly enjoyed the collaborative spirit of my coworkers, the passion my supervisors exuded, and the interesting projects I worked on. Of course, the idea of selling my favorite brands is tantalizing as well.

Through all the toil and trouble, the failures and successes, I've become the cultured young woman writing at Odyssey today. I've transformed from the once shy girl with little self-confidence to the slightly more confident and outgoing woman that I see in myself.

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

Price: $7.99

13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

Price: $17.19

Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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7 Tips For Surviving Thanksgiving With Your Racist, Homophobic Relatives

We all have that one super conservative relative showing up to the dinner table, but the truth is we don't have to allow them to speak their minds.

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The holiday season is upon us! Christmas décor is going up, pies are in the oven, and we're all getting ready to sit down with our families for the much-awaited feast. But with all the family gatherings, come the heavy conversations. One minute you're talking about your mom's stuffing and the next thing you know uncle Bill is making a racist comment and aunt Susan is ranting on about "the gays."

It is a pattern you are WELL used too, but what have you really been doing about it?

This is the year we step up and learn to be a true ally for our LGBTQIA+ friends and friends of color. It's no longer OK to sit back and allow the conversation to happen.

People don't change without conflict. Sure, maybe grandma will get upset, but you know what's worse than upsetting grandma? OPPRESSION!

So here are some thoughts to get you through this Thanksgiving. And also how to make your beliefs known.

1. Wear a bold T-shirt

I'm all for showing up in a "Black Lives Matter" T-shirt or wearing a rainbow LGBT banner across my body. A clear statement piece to let your family know, you will not tolerate bigotry or ugly comments this year.

2. Form alliances early

Inevitably there's going to be some conversations that are uncomfortable and it's going to be impossible to hide your opinions. Know who is going to be on your side and can support what you say.

Maybe it's a quiet relative who likes to stay out of the drama, but it's OK to call them out and ask their opinion knowing they will agree with you. Sometimes people need to see you're not wrong.

3. Bring some statistics

Arm yourself with statistics on the number of unarmed black men/women shot by the police, the number of hate crimes against the LGBTQIA community or the number of murders done by white men in the United States instead of Mexican immigrants.

Prepare yourself with facts that can't be disputed. People cannot argue with numbers.

4. Don't get angry

The more heated you get, the less people will listen to you. Try to remain calm. Some people are going to keep their opinions no matter what.

5. Remember that just because you love someone, that doesn't mean you can't disagree with them.

Sometimes generation gaps matter. You might not be able to change your grandma's mind about things, and it might take some time before your Aunt Judy really hears you. Try to keep calm with them and explain yourself clearly.

6. And if you blow up, do so responsibly

You need to stick by your principles. Hate has no home here. Make it known that people deserve better and that you care about that fact. Make it clear that what is being said is absolutely NOT OK.

And if you need to leave. Do it.

Staying quiet does not protect anyone.

7. When all else fails, have a drink

Let's face it, whether you win or lose, you're GOING to need a drink. Maybe you should have that drink BEFORE dinner to mellow you out. Or to give you some liquid courage to tell your cousin Debbie to shut her trap. Either way, happy drinking!

And, more importantly, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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