Greetings from Shanghai! It’s honestly anything but green here right now, but that’s not stopping me from going out and enjoying the city to the max anyway. This is my sixth or seventh time in Shanghai and I always love visiting despite some of China’s … quirks. For example, I’m currently experiencing major withdrawal from many of my daily sites ranging from Facebook to Bloglovin’ thanks to the Great Firewall. Luckily, Instagram is still alive and well here so I’m getting by.
Visiting Shanghai, where most things are still conducted in Mandarin, has made me realize what a shameful mess my Chinese has become from decades of living in the States. Seeing that I’ve never been very good at reading or writing characters, I’ve always relied on pinyin, a pronunciation guide for Chinese characters using the Roman alphabet, to get around. However, anyone familiar with the language at all will know that using English letters to sound out Chinese words more often than not results in #fail due to the subtleties in tonality that can’t be expressed using the alphabet. Case in point: I didn’t know the Chinese word 凤 so I looked up how to sound it out: “feng.” Easy enough, I thought as I asked my taxi driver at the airport to take me to my hotel located on “Feng Yang Road” and he seemed to understand just fine. An hour later and somewhere deep in the city, my cab driver turned onto a slightly sketchy “Feng Yang Road” to find no hotel in sight (thank goodness). Turns out the street I was looking for required the word “Feng” to be pronounced with a slightly more forceful tone on the end of the syllable than how I was saying it. I mean….why in one city is there both a Feng Yang Road and a FeNG Yang Road anyway? Despite the huge hassle of major rerouting in rush hour traffic, the cabbie thought my green mistake (coming from a Mandarin speaking person no less) was the funniest thing he’d heard all day, yakking about it to his friends all the way until we got to FeNG Yang Road. Sorry mom. Despite 10 years of forced Chinese lessons growing up, guess I failed big on this one.
Shirt: J Crew | Sweater: Etoile Isabel Marant | Skirt: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Shoes: Jean Michel Cazabat | Bag: Proenza Schouler