I just came back from Shanghai, where I haven’t been since December 2010.  I have a lot of thoughts this time when I came back. I feel my hometown is not so familiar to me any more.

First of all, prices are sky high. The clothing is even more expensive when the price converts to the US$.  How local young people can afford the fashionable clothing?  Even a family dining out will easily cost over RMB 1000 (US$ 160) for a table for 7-8 people.  My parents are both retired, and have minimum increasing rate about their retirement allowance (Salary) - how can they afford to live and still happy to allow me to spend their saving when I was in China? Ridiculous Inflation!  However, almost every young woman in the city are carrying designer bags, which cost at least $2,500 (RMB 15,000) - Unbelievable.

I cannot see the blue sky any more.  For a whole week, the sky was always very smoky. I cannot see any thing one day within 150 meters. One of my clients based in Shanghai told me that Shanghai’s pollution index keeps increasing.  While 50 is normal, the week I was in Shanghai the average was 150.  The photo above was taken in Hangzhou, a city surrounded by a lake, less traffic and polluted city close to Shanghai, we can not see the maintain clearly at the background. How can people live and go out for a run in this environment?  I was told that some schools even don’t allow children to do outdoor activities under high index day, but how children can grew up healthy without outdoor activities?  By the way, the index is really neat, it seems China has developed its own useful app locally - which maybe can beat some interesting idea in the US.  

Walking to any convenience stores, we can find all kinds of soft drink options, pear tea, peach calpis,  any type you couldn’t imagine in the US, rather than soda.  They even have cucumber potato chips, lobster cheese potato chips.  Those Coke and Pepsi companies really can read the local markets to develop some interesting flavors to attract Chinese people and some people from overseas.  My husband and his friends every time tried one different thing they haven’t seen in the US.

Surprisingly I feel the subway in Shanghai is very clean and the platform and the trains are so much wider than what we have in New York - I almost forgot how considerate and developed the infrastructures are.  Also, a lot of people was taking the train ride time to make phone call - that's right, the signal is good in the subway - no time wasted.  On the road, all the traffic lights all changed to huge size, it makes me think I am in a different city. 

Except for soup dumplings (my favorite local breakfast), I don’t see too much difference between Shanghai Chinese food and New York China town Shanghai food.  New York restaurants actually hire Shanghai chefs to keep the food authentic, I think it might be the time of Shanghai Chinese food to change to be fusion, new design and looking.  

It just give me a feeling this time when I was in my hometown that it is not the city I am familiar with any more. I think I need to go back to Shanghai more often and get to know more changed things about China in order to stay current of life condition and situations in China.

Being a new parent of a dog, I feel my life is completely changed, in a good way. Especially if you’re considering to be a parent, have a dog first. 

First of all, dogs will make you a loving person.  I feel sometimes I talk baby language.  You need to have a high time management skill to own a dog.  Walking a dog, playing with him, and running with him, you need to spend at least 30 minutes 3 times a day for your dog.  My husband has convinced me that he could be really good husband and father because he can train and take care of Oliver very well for almost 9 years, Oliver sometime still like a puppy playing and running. 

You need to take responsibility for his diet and his regular potty times, which sometimes doesn’t allow you to hang out whole day until the night, or travel over night.  On the other hand, it could be your excuse to tuck out for your friends who force you to hang out, which means you will have regular life style and seldom hang out too late.

Owning a dog, you are completely in the different community.  You talk to other dogs parents without introduction or existing connections.  Dog owners can talk from dog to job, life and travel.

Last, but not least. If you are a runner, you’d better get a dog.  He can encourage you to run, sometime pull you over to take a break.

So nice in the different world, don’t wait, get a dog Now, if you want to have a better life!