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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18 Things That Happen When You Get A Good Roommate

Not every roommate story is a bad one.
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Whenever you hear about roommate stories, they're almost never good, and they usually scare you into never wanting a roommate. "Did you hear her roommate steals her clothes?" "Her roommate doesn't shower!" "Wow, her roommate doesn't talk at all, and doesn't do laundry." From what I hear, there are more bad stories than good. That is why I consider myself lucky, because my roommate is nothing like one of those bad stories. When life hands you a good roommate after talking to about 40 girls through Facebook, a few things happen.

1. You always have someone to talk to.

2. You know each other's schedules, and whenever you both have a break is an exciting time.

3. You'll never have to dance alone.


4. You always have someone to do something with, even if it's just walking down the hall.

5. You both look out for each other, because this is your first time without your parents.

6. You always have a shoulder to lean on when things get tough.

7. Borrowing each other's things is a daily thing.

8. You TRY to help with each other's homework and assignments.

9. They're encouraging when it comes to boys. (Unless they're a f*ckboy.)

10. They're your biggest support system and your personal cheerleader.

11. They never forget to wish you luck on a big exam.

12. They accept how gross you are in the morning and not so pleasant sometimes.

13. You both know each other's favorite and least favorite things.

14. Leaving each other notes saying goodbye before class if you don't see them is normal.

15. Saying goodbye for breaks is upsetting.

16. Not seeing them all day is upsetting.

17. You have more pictures together than any of your other friends.

18. You found a best friend for life.

Cover Image Credit: Jordan Griffin

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Hello, 20, I Can't Wait To See What You Offer Me

The past 19 years were a blessing and I cannot wait to see what 20 has in store for me.

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Turning twenty is nothing special. My birthday was just another day, but, when I look back on the past nineteen years of my life, I see how special everything is.

In the past year alone, I have seen the most growth in myself. I found a better sense of who I am and who I want to be. I surrounded myself with better people and stepped away from toxic people. I pushed myself to try new things and trust in God more.

I remember being a little girl, fishing with my dad, playing with Barbies and being read bedtime stories every night.

I remember looking in the mirror as a little girl and picturing myself looking like my mom as a teenager and an adult.

When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be a ballerina, play hockey and make wine. Then in high school, I was asked what college I wanted to go to. In college, I am asked what I am majoring in. Now, I am asked what I am going to do after college and my friends and I are talking about retirement plans and weddings.

I have come so far from my dreams as a little girl, but the end goal is still the same: be happy.

When we are little, we hold our parents' hands in the parking lot, we go to them when we have a bad dream and we run to their arms when we have had a bad day. Now, I am nearly completely on my own.

My mom doesn't wake me up in the morning, so if I sleep through my alarm, I am screwed. My parents aren't holding my hands anymore so if I get lost or trip, I have to pick myself up and find my own way. When I have a long day and it just seems like everything is falling apart, I have to get myself together.

We rush to grow up and be on our own.

Then we get bills and we get fired from our job and we run out of clean clothes to wear and the dishes pile up and we realize that growing up isn't all we dreamed it would be. I know that no matter how old I am, I will still call my parents asking for help and I will still sit in my mom's lap. Because I am learning that adults don't know what they are doing, they just aren't afraid to ask questions.

There are a lot of people that start asking me what I will do after school, where I want to live, when I will get married and when I will have kids. I promise myself not to rush further into adulthood. I want to enjoy each day without worrying about tomorrow or the next 10 years. I will appreciate living in a dorm, stressing out over exams and eating copious amounts of ramen because the stressors I will face in the next 10 years will make me miss these moments.

So, when I blow out the candles on my birthday, I wish for happiness, not only for myself but for my friends and family.

I wish for strength because the next few years are not going to be easy. I wish for guidance, because I know I can't do it on my own. I wish for more laughs, more smiles, more puppy kisses and more memories.

I hope that 20 is the best year yet and I can't wait to see how much I change in the next year.

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