We live in an age where Google Maps lets us peer down on nearly any place on Earth (even if, occasionally, it gets things wrong). Where we can consume innumerable photos and books and blogs about new destinations, sample food from around the world in our hometowns, and talk to people anywhere for free (thanks Skype!). The internet lets us see the world from home, and lets us see home from the world. The world is much smaller than it used to be.
And yet, when I travel to a new place, it still feels like uncovering a new part of my map. For a year, we talked about moving to Shanghai (or Beijing, or Hong Kong, or Tokyo. It was a confusing period), and I drew a picture of Shanghai in my head based on the stories of others. But I didn't really know what Shanghai meant. What it would feel like to stand on its streets, shop in its grocery stores*, talk to its people. What life there would look like.
For those of you back home, here's a glimpse of Shanghai through my lens. To really experience it, come visit!
View from the financial district on a foggy day
A mixture of old and new, near Yuyuan Garden
Playing ultimate frisbee under the watchful gaze of General Mao
*I really enjoy checking out things like grocery stores in new places. Glimpses of normal life. In China, for example, many types of body wash advertise their skin whitening effects, while the fruit stands offer cheap, delicious fruits that we never see in the US.