Travel: relaxed time in shanghai

Four weeks in Shanghai was a great break for me. I missed the long breaks. I haven’t had one since 2011. It is a luxury to have this kind of vacation when one has a job. I am lucky to have many leave days. I didn’t take long leaves since I was pregnant and didn’t want to travel long with a small baby. So this time around, when deciding how long it would be, I said as long as I can. :)

Unfortunately I didn’t start enjoying right away because I was jet lag for at least 10 days. Would wake up around 2-3 am and couldn’t go back to sleep. This made me not feeling myself during the day. But when the jet lag was over, I was all about going out and do things.

First, I found a cool yoga place EasyBox Studio. It is located in a renovated old building

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they kept the inside, which shows how a rich family in shanghai live 50 years ago.

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I used to sign up for a gym when visiting shanghai but this time I craved yoga and I am glad I did that. The instructors are nice and they offered a good variety of styles.

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yoga could be a great workout for mind and body

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Sofia was my companion most of the days. It’s just so funny to watch her exploring new places

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I met with my friends and we chat long hours while tasting exotic teas.

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visited art exposition

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had organic food

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all grown in the backyard!

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coffee in the evening when everything was quiet… perfect for heart to heart conversations

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pairing it with cake, obviously ;)

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July 31 was our three year anniversary… and we took a day trip to Hangzhou

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visited a temple

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had a delicious local meal

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walked along the west lake, the icon of the city.

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we enjoyed the time together as we talked about our 13 years journey.

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Star surprised me by booking the executive first class seat on the train. So comfortable!

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For the chinese valentines, we went to a restaurant by the Bund to appreciate shanghai’s night light

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while savoring typical shanghainese food, very tasty!
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It amazed me that we shared life with each other for 13 years already, and a beautiful girl. Hope the next 13 or 30 years are even better.

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An old classmate of mine opened a cafe in a campus. It’s refreshing to escape the city and immerse oneself within the students crowd.

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I met with Kaffee, who visited me few months ago, several times. We’ve came a long way to be where we are, the best we’ve ever been and I am so grateful.

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Of all the food I had in china, my favorites were Japanese

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what’s even better than the food was the company. It’s so nice to re-meet old friends… although our lives have changed so much since the last time we met, old and good friendships are still there, which is heart warming.

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The four weeks stay was so amazing that I am already looking forward to the next trip to Shanghai! Although I want to visit new places, Shanghai is a safe place that I always want to go back! :)

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Travel: Sofia’s first time in China

It was a delayed trip for Sofia, to meet all our relatives and friends. Delayed because she’s almost two years old and we just traveled to China. The main reason? The hassle of traveling with a toddler and the fear of she getting sick there. Fortunately, the travel wasn’t bad and she didn’t get sick at all in China. What a huge relief!!!

Even better, she didn’t have jet lag. The moment we arrived our apartment in shanghai, she started playing just like she was born here. :shock: It’s amazing how kids adapt to the environment so quickly.

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we watched the soccer game together…. we have a mini fan :)

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Her daily routine in Shanghai involved getting up around 7am, have breakfast with us at home and play a bit (or make a huge mess out of anything) until grandma takes her to the playground.

In Shanghai, it is not so easy to take kids to outdoor playground, much less when the weather was so hot and humid. Fortunately we found a indoor playground 3 blocks from our place and she went there EVERY SINGLE DAY, sometimes twice a day. It was our savior!

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she comes back home to have lunch and then a long nap (2-3 hrs). When she wakes up, we go out to different places.. shopping malls, toy stores

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sometimes she takes another nap on the way home

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but most of the time she’s fully awake to soak up the new city

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we also went to outdoor concert

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met with my friends

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Sofia made new friends

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how cute they are, hanging out together

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it melts my heart watching how she interacts with older kids

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we took so many selfies that nowadays when she sees my phone she’d say “photo photo”

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she was ehhhhh…….. very expressive

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we went out for dinner many times and she behaved well most of times

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made more boyfriends ;)

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she started to know how to pose

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and make funny faces…. so cute

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we took her to experience all kinds of public transports and she had a lot of fun

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look such a cute toddler bathroom, Sofia didn’t want to leave

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she tried all kinds of Chinese food

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we celebrated the Chinese valentines together

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met with my old classmates kids. I think she preferred meeting boys ;)

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we also visited water play by the bunds

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we bought new outfits

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and we came back with a grown up toddler! :)

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She showed us how adapted to the new environment, people, food and culture. Although she might not understand everything now, I am sure there will be episodes of this trip that will form part of her childhood. I am a true believer of how important is the traveling experience for a person, kids included, so I plan to take Sofia to travel to different remote places to enrich her experience, to learn how other people might live in a completely reality than hers and to form her own values.

Q: What travel means to you?

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Travel: Flying alone for 20 hrs with a toddler

We’re BACK from a four-weeks long vacation in Shanghai, China. It was AMAZING!!! we came back 10 days ago but I’ve been super busy catching up with life/work/sleep, so bare with me with the posting.

Today I want to share my experience of flying alone with Sofia, 22 months old toddler, for 20 hrs. I was really concerned how I could deal with her and keep her busy/happy during the flight and keep my sanity. It turned out that it wasn’t that bad.

We arrived the airport 1.5 hrs before departure time and had plenty of time checking around. I picked a midday flight so we can keep our usual schedule and did not have to rush.

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Two weeks before the trip I bought a airport book for Sofia and read it to her every single day. So by the time we arrived the airport, she was familiar with the environment and was nearly obsessed with the plane. She’d point it and say to me “avion avion avion”! super excited.

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we waited until almost all passengers went on board so Sofia could release energy before getting stuck in the small space. Although she’s under 2, I still bought a seat for her because at this age, I can’t imagine having her on my lap for the entire flight.

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for take off I gave her candies. It was her first time and it entertained her for a good 15 min. :)

Food: she didn’t eat the food served on the plane because she’d snack here and there, as part of her entertainment activity, so by the time the food comes, she’s not hungry. But she couldn’t pass the ice cream. :)

Favorite snacks: puffs, raisin, crackers, seaweed, dry fruits.

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she doesn’t normally eat ice cream, maybe the first time ever? so she was very entertained by the experience.

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another advantage of getting her a seat is that between two of us, we had three seats, so she could lie down completely to sleep.

Sofia took her normal nap at 3pm for 2 hrs.

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and night time sleep was wonderful, 5 hrs straight, almost until we landed.

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we had two hours between connection at Tokyo airport. It has a playground for kids! WONDERFUL!!!

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we spent most of our connecting time there

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unfortunately our flight was delayed for two hours… and we were both exhausted.

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look how cute is the child food serve by ANA.

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So, how I entertained Sofia during the flight? I’d say she slept half of the long flight (14 hrs), the rest was spent between snacking, reading books, playing stickers, bothering other passengers, diaper changes, walking around, making huge mess with drinks.

I was exhausted by the time we arrived because I couldn’t close my eyes all this time, not even when Sofia was sleeping because I was afraid that she’d fall down the seat. But overall it was not as bad as I thought, and it gives me confidence to travel again with her in the future.

Packing tips:

Since I was traveling with Sofia alone, I didn’t had carry on. Instead I had a backpack and a handbag. Things that I packed on flight:

  • diapers (1 every fliying hour)
  • wipes
  • changing pads
  • snacks
  • two bottles (1 for milk, 1 for water)
  • books
  • stickers (these are life savers)
  • hand sanitizer
  • paper + color pen for drawing
  • iphone (to show her pictures and videos)
  • portable battery for iphone
  • 1 set of changing cloth
  • blanket
  • makeup bag
  • utensils for Sofia that she didn’t use
  • umbrella stroller
  • documents (passports, travel authorization for Sofia, birth certificate)
  • spare bags for trash
  • bibs
  • ibuprofen for children and nose spray

 

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