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4 posts categorized "Erick Bilides"

Canvas: Is there room?

At times, the city can be mesmerizing.

For me, Shanghai has achieved tangible time travel. It is the closest humans have ever come to bridging the gaps. There is a consistent push and pull felt amongst its people. While the young are disconnected from its history, the land itself has its roots layered in the past. Extensive changes have quickly ushered in an imbalance that is palpable.

It is here, in this exact notion, that I find myself captivated.

Shanghai is currently fighting a war on ideals. Morals, and cultural normalities are the blocks in transition. The players in the arena are comprised of the young and the old. Different generations fight for supremacy. The young wish to move, while the old hold on to a China that is no more.

Why?

If generational shifts are a global phenomenon, then why is it found to be more pronounced here?

All in all, Western influence is the culprit. China’s tumultuous 5,000 year history is bathed in tradition. It is not until recent that the nation has begun to reorder its closed door mentality. In a handful of decades, the asian powerhouse accomplished what takes centuries, for most. 

Pandora’s box has been opened, and at the end of the day, the lid cannot be shut. The nation’s young will make sure it stays that way forever. I am not wondering whether or not the land will continue on its path of media assimilation. Rather, I am curious to see if past traditions will come along for the ride.

It just seems, that the car is too damn full.

[Erick]

A Restless City

Accessibility is a common trait found in an urban environment. If so inclined, everything rests at your fingertips. Shanghai, is no different. Whatever interests may arouse you, rest assured, a niche for it lies in wait.

The heart of Shanghai bleeds opportunity. Pure, clean, and undiluted. Early on, the night lights may hold your gaze, but until you meet the belly of the beast, you’ve yet to settle in. Here, in the confines of the landscape, ambition becomes your only friend. Use it.

One hobby that I partake in is skateboarding. A goal of mine was to find a community of riders upon arrival. Before coming, I discovered the sport was not particularly cared for. Though, to be fair, reception has begun to rise recently. Be that as it may, not many skateboarders can be found. With a population of 20 million people, only a 1,000 claim to follow the sport. Roughly speaking, in a crowd of 20,000, only 1 skateboarder exists.

My prospects for continuing the activity was not a hand I’d safely bet on. But, as with most hobbies in Shanghai, if you look for it, you will find it. After a week of research, a board was bought, and a club was joined.

As mentioned previously, your opportunities are endless.

All that’s required is effort. 

Just move.

[Erick]

Time In

Greetings.

Many days have followed since my last. As of now, I’ve been in Shanghai for a month. In some ways, it’s difficult to write on what has occurred. Even still, I am uncertain I’ve the energy to word my thoughts.

At its core, I am quite tired.

The first month hits the unprepared like a wave. Do not get me wrong. This does not mean that I’ve yet to enjoy the moments that pass, rather, I am just exhausted. The company I work for handed over a robust schedule. Most teachers will be clocking in eight hour days. You may be thinking, “Erick, get it together, this is an international standard”. In that regard, you are correct. Unfortunately, these days are filled with teaching at multiple schools. Traveling back and forth throughout the day is tiring to say the least. Not to mention, my colleagues have just one day off a week. These schedules, coupled alongside a new environment appear, difficult. Well….no. Terrifying, yes, terrifying is a better fit.

Yet, once accustomed, you realize the worth.

I find this to be an important factor. The first month will be tiresome. But, do know, the days here have so far been great. Although draining, rest assured, it is one hell of a time.    

[Erick]

Beginnings

It seems, that for those of you who are reading, a new horizon is on the fold. If accepted you will welcome in changes, that for some, may usher in anxiety. For this reason alone, I would like to share with you my personal experiences that will succeed in due time. The following posts will hopefully offer up advice on how to prepare for your own departure at a later date. Please note that I am in no means a widespread traveler, or for that matter, an expert on Chinese culture. Rather, I am someone who simply wishes to pass on the proceeding days that await me.

For the rest of 2016 and the spring of the budding new year I will be teaching English in Shanghai. Throughout this span of time I will post both frequently and consecutively. Logistics aside, I have yet to construct an overall map of what my writings shall entail. However I do know that these pieces will attempt to cover a wide range of topics. In the end my primary concern is to share with you what it is like to live and teach in China. If at any point in this journey you would like me to write on a subject that interests you, by all means please let me know.

And with that, enjoy the days ahead.

[Erick] 

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