3 Gems in Shanghai

With 27 days left before I leave Shanghai, my mind has really been busy planning. Then I thought, why not share some insights I had during my stay here? Then I agreed with my own thought, haha! So here I go.

1. Smile is the simplest yet sweetest form of communication.

When you go to a foreign land, whether just visiting or living there, language is really a huge barrier. In Shanghai, everywhere I see and everything I hear is almost always Chinese. I remember my first few days here when I went out to buy food or some things I needed, the moment I spoke in English, they got awkward as if they were the ones that were put on spotlight. So I smiled and tried to explain slowly while doing some gestures. And the minute I smiled, I can see their faces lit and I believe anyone who has witnessed those conversations could testify how the atmosphere shifted from “uneasiness” to “friendliness”. It is very simple but it helped to break the barrier somehow.

Now, every time I buy bread, the sales ladies welcome me with all smiles or every time I buy vegetables from this small stall near my place, the elderly couple greets me with all smiles or whenever I buy fruits, the salesman approaches me with all smiles. No more awkwardness, just smiles. Well, they continued to speak in Chinese while I continued to respond in English plus gestures but it was really fun and welcoming. We technically didn’t understand each other but it’s always a success (thanks to my friend who also thought me Chinese numbers and few words).

2. Season changes and you got to ride on with the changes!

I grew up in the Philippines and stayed in Singapore for seven years with almost the same season (dry and wet season) but it’s my first time to live in a place with 4 seasons.

This is what I was reminded of. Season changes and you got to ride on with the changes! Oh, I am so sure everyone knows this. Why wear thick coats in summer or sleeveless in winter? This is a no-brainer choice but sometimes, we miss this basic principle in life. No matter how unprepared we are, seasons still change. Or no matter how much we want to avoid changes, when it passes you, it passes you.

This is why it’s very important for us to know our own season in life. Is it time to move? Or time to stay? Pray. Seek God. Inquire in HIS temple. Godly counseling is also good.

Jesus, speaking to the crowd, “You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don’t tell me you can’t tell a change in the season, the God-season we’re in right now.” Luke 12:56, MSG

3. When you don’t know what’s going on, just keep on!

I was walking in a subway one time when I realized that I was in a big crowd. Some were rushing while others were busy talking on their phone. I didn’t know what they were saying. Sometimes, I wish I could hear some familiar words but well, I am in a foreign land. I looked around and all the signs I could see were in Chinese characters. This is actually almost the same case when I use the subway train. I didn’t know what was going on around me but as long as I have my train station guide with me and as long as I know my next stop and my destination, I will never get lost. I think this is the same thing in life. Sometimes we don’t have to know and understand all the things around us as long as we have God’s guidance and know our vision; we will never go off track. We can take one station at a time. Let us not get caught with the noises of the crowd but keep our heart and mind focus on where God is leading us. So when you don’t know what’s going on? Just keep on!

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