Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shanghai, China March 1-June 19 Week 16

This past week has been busy preparing for my upcoming move to Seoul, Korea. Somehow, I managed to pick up many more kilograms of what than I imagined I would, and so I prepared a box to mail of books, CDs, and other random items to ship back to the USA. For some reason it was a half-day affair, mainly because the post office is so chaotic. There are always so many people fighting for a place in line and each customer seems to take at least 10-15 minutes to finish up their business. My box weighed 16 kilograms and cost a jaw dropping 1,600RBM ($240) to send by air. Sending it by ship may have cost much less but I didn’t inquire, because in 2005 I lost an entire box of books, valuable research materials, and teaching documents when I sent a box from Japan to Boulder, CO.
My erhu teacher, Chen Chunyuan treated Zhou Jing and I to a delicious lunch right at the corner of Dongping and Taojiang Rd., a fancy Art Deco building that I’ve always wanted to check out. The highlight of this meal was watching live shrimps get tossed into a pot of boiling water, and the waitress urging us to eat them within a few minutes when they are fresh!


This week brought torrential downpours to Shanghai, and I had fears that my last load of laundry wouldn’t dry before I had to pack everything into my suitcase. It was not only raining constantly in sheer buckets, but it was humid too, making for an unpleasant week running around doing errands for my onward journey to Korea. As a result of the rain, I made extensive use of mealbay.net, an online delivery service that will pick up and delivery food from your restaurant for just 20RMB. I did manage to get in 4-5 yoga classes at Dharshana Healing Yoga Center and say goodbye to my new friends. My last pipa lessons with Shun Yi went well. Just as I began to feel comfortable with the pipa my lessons ended!
In summary, I lived in Shanghai for four months and learned a bit about Chinese music, learning basic technique on three representative Chinese instruments. The first two months were quite difficult, as I struggled to overcome culture shock, air pollution, and bouts of food poisoning. However, the last 6-7 weeks were quite fun indeed, even productive. If nothing else, I did manage to compose five new compositions during my residency (50 minutes of music!) during an intense five week period, almost as much as I compose during an entire year. I’m not sure if I’ll be ready to return to Shanghai anytime soon for an extended stay, but in the end I am glad that I went. If nothing else, I strengthened my relationship with Chen Chunyuan, and this a professional relationship that will likely enrich my life. All I have to do is a compose a few solid pieces for the erhu, and I’m confident that she will herald my music. 
Korea here I come!

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