It’s back to the regular work week for Ryan and I…but let me tell you I was not expecting the weekend I just had.

As you may or may not know, it was my birthday on July 10th. For anyone from home, it’s technically still my birthday! So it’s actually kind of nice to still be receiving birthday wishes right now. But it’s already the 11th here in China, so no one came into work today with a birthday cake or pastries…awe man!

For the past two weeks Ryan has been asking what I want for my birthday and every time I’ve been saying “I don’t know!”. I might be the worst for not knowing what I want from a day to day basis, let alone what I want for my birthday…When Ryan asks what I want for dinner it can take about 30 minutes to decide between 2 restaurants. I’m the least picky when it comes to food, so most of the time I could really care less where we go eat! I always prefer to let other people decide the restaurant…unless I’ve actually come up with an idea for ONCE (which is usually 1/100 times).

My struggle with food choices is correlated into my every day life. So you can probably imagine Ryan’s frustration with me when it comes to getting me something for my birthday (or his frustration with me daily…). When it comes to gifts, I just like the idea of someone getting me something I actually need. My mom always resorts to the socks and undies at Christmas, which I always love!

Maybe it’s my lack of creativity that’s preventing me from thinking of something more fun for a birthday gift.

I eventually told Ryan what I wanted for my birthday…get ready for it!

For him to make me waffles for breakfast. YUM right?? Well maybe not for all of you.

I guess I don’t really NEED this (definitely not), but I’ve really been craving waffles with fruit, whipped cream and maple syrup. But haven’t seen any “Western” breakfast places that we can go out to here, and if I did I doubt they would have maple syrup. But every so often I LOVE going out for a really filling, unhealthy breakfast that makes you feel guilty about eating it for the rest of the day. However, Ryan told me that idea was stupid and boring and that I need to come up with a better idea. The sad part is, that was my best idea. I could not think of a better idea…

So I had planned to go out with our friends that we met here in Wuxi, to celebrate my birthday by going out for drinks. I was pretty excited! And I mean, hopefully Ryan would surprise me with waffles the next morning…but it was a dumb idea you know. So probably not! I’d probably be hung over in the morning anyways.

The one day at work Ryan and I were eating lunch and he was like “Well..I guess you’re not getting a gift this year because it’s China and I don’t know what I can get you here”. I totally understood this statement, I wasn’t even sure what he could find. I mean it’s not like you can really walk around a mall and get idea’s for what to gift someone. The malls are huge and over-priced! And Gucci bags aren’t really my thing so Ryan was kind of out of luck. Or at least I thought he was.

It was last week Thursday and we were both at work just tired and ready for the weekend. For some reason it never fails that every weeks’ Thursday feels like Friday. I was emailing someone from HR at work about flights, and she said “Ryan says you get vacation tomorrow, so I cancel the taxi?” I knew Ryan had mentioned that maybe he’d want to take Friday off, but I didn’t realize I would get it off too. So I said okay sure that’s fine, since I wasn’t really sure what was going on (and I’m not going to complain about vacation).

It’s finally the end of the day, Ryan and I get home and I go lay on the couch ready to relax and he says “What are you doing?”  And I’m like “Just relaxing for a bit” And he says “Well…you should probably start packing we have to go soon”. And I’m like “What?? Where are we going??” And he’s like “Shanghai for the weekend, get packing”. Now I’m just shocked, because earlier when Ryan asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I was saying how he should just surprise me, since I never know what I want. And here I was, surprised! Although I wasn’t sure if he was just yanking my chain, so I had to make sure we were actually going to Shanghai for the weekend. I asked about 5 more times “Are you sure?? We’re going for the weekend?” And then I tested him with questions like “What time does our train leave?” “Did you tell Emily and Terrell we have to cancel?” (He did by the way). So I got just what I asked for!! He listens so well ❤

Ryan couldn’t have picked a nicer hotel! It was in the Jin Mao Tower, which is massive by the way; I couldn’t believe how high up we were! The view was gorgeous, and as good, if not better (for the lack of people), than going to the touristy Shanghai Tower. The view from our room was equally nice to look out of. I was really quite spoiled by Ryan.

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The weekend involved walking around Shanghai on a hot sunny day (sunny days are hard to come by during this season) and doing some shopping. We went out for a REALLY nice dinner that Ryan arranged for, so that we could get our steak cravings out of our systems. The steaks were mouth wateringly good, and the desserts were so far the best desserts I’ve had in China…can you tell I love food? This restaurant wasn’t Chinese, so I can assume why that’s why everything tasted like home.

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We also went to the fake market on our last day in Shanghai to see if there was anything we wanted to get. The market was super easy to get to and was so much nicer than the last one we had been to in Shanghai.

I think the most shocking part of our trip to the market was that a man had come up to us asking what we were looking for and he listed off some things. We kept walking the whole time expecting that there was nothing he could offer us, and then he mentions the magical word “Lululemon”. We both stopped and were like “What?? You have Lululemon?”. Lulu must be some form of crack for white people…all we were missing was the Starbucks to go with it and we’d fit our stereotype! From the markets we went to in Tianjin or Beijing, and now Shanghai, this was the first time we had heard at all about Lululemon. So we follow him for a few minutes to a store that has quite the selection of Lulu shirts, pants and tank-tops. I’m really shocked because the quality looks great, and the stuff looks legit! Ryan and I are really wondering how they got their hands on this stuff. Seriously the tags with names of the different styles were on the clothes, all like they would be at home. We could not believe what we were seeing. Ryan ended up getting two t-shirts, and myself a pair of tights and a tank-top. Unfortunately, we were taking a bit of a risk with the tights I was getting since there was no way for me to try it on, but I was fairly certain about my size. Because it was my birthday, Ryan ended up paying $140 for everything we got, which is CRAZY! Women’s tights alone are normally around $100. The tank-top I got was at least $70 regular price, and Ryan’s shirts were probably around the same. So lets say the normal price totally should have been $310, and we paid $140…that’s more than half off! I’m sure that when the sales associate notices we will soon become regular customers, she will lower the price more for us. She probably made a decent commission off that sale, but for this time we were willing to pay that extra bit, considering that store was the only one that sold Lulu clothing. We will soon find out how the quality of the clothing holds up before we spend more money though. But I don’t doubt my sisters will be sending me requests soon!

Once we got home, we tried on all of our clothes to see what the sizing was like. Ryan and I tried on our shirts in the store, but over the shirts we already had on, and I still had to make sure the tights were the right size. Turns out they are a bit small…but it’s quite possible that I gained some weight…oops!

Maybe it’s a bit funny now, but I was actually a tad depressed on the Saturday for feeling like I gained about 100 lbs. I remember reading about culture shock and how people are either going to gain weight or lose it…and I think I’ve gained some (darnit!). I didn’t think it would be this tough, but it’s extremely easy to over-eat and feel like I need ‘extra’ food when I really don’t. My guess is to fill that void of being away from home, family and everything I know. But I’m determined to get back to my regular habits.

Anyways, this weekend was such a nice surprise!! And it’s all thanks for Ryan. I honestly could not (nor do I want to) ask for anyone different and I’m extremely lucky to have him in my life. If anything, I’d say he’s the best gift I could ever get, which is so true! But Ryan would point out how cheesy that is. He’s the one that made me the most happy this weekend, as he always does (except when he’s bugging the crap out of me…but then I’d think something we’re wrong if he didn’t). Anyways, I’m so spoiled!! And it was really nice to read all the birthday wishes from home. I feel so loved ❤️

24 is looking good friends! But who cares about age anyways.
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