Thursday, May 8, 2014

Two Months in China!

It's pretty hard for me to believe too: I've been here in China already for almost two months!  CRAZINESS!  
I'm happy to say that any culture shock has worn off, and I'm a 'regular' local now.  I am nearly done with levels 1 and 2 of my Chinese lessons, and in four weeks, I will begin levels 3 and 4.  I can read about 150 characters now, and can write about 75 of those.  In terms of speaking: I actually can manage just fine now in supermarkets, in taxis, when trying on clothes, and in general just walking around.  My strive is to complete level 8 over the next ten months and take and pass the HSK 3 Chinese proficiency exam at the very least, nd best case, to take and pass HSK 4.  If I pass HSK 4, my Chinese level is good enough to attend a university here and/or work in a Chinese business environment.  

In some interesting news, I found out that all of my published books are available on China's Amazon.  It's called  That was a pleasant surprise, particularly because many of my English students have been asking where they can buy my books.  I thought they would have to get them shipped via Amazon from the states, but no!  They are available here apparently.  That's cool.  

I must admit that I do miss home.  It's weird that I am not going to be in New York City this summer.  Not going to be in Maine.  Just here, in Shanghai, in a place that is essentially landlocked because the rivers are unswimmable and even though the ocean is about an hour away, I don't really want to swim in it.  I'm hoping to take a flight to Sanya this summer with a fellow English teacher/SCUBA diver.  It is absolutely gorgeous there.  

I want to actually do traveling here, but as of yet, I haven't been able to find the time to get away.  I have had more important things to do here on my 'weekends' (which are Wednesday and Thursday).  Things like: 

a) my accounting.  It's weird having an account at home in the US and another bank account here.  I am getting paid for some things back home, and it goes into my home account.  Then, I am also getting paid from my work here into my Chinese bank.  Paying bills is interesting because it's essentially like I have two separate lives.  I can't use the home account to pay bills here unless I withdraw cash, which I don't want to do, because the fees are steep.  I also can't use my Chinese paycheck to pay any bills back home because they are not linked in any way.  I could do wire transfers, but again, it's pricey.  So I run my life back home separately from my life here, which is certainly requiring a lot of creativity.  In this sense, I do look forward to my eventual return home: I look forward to returning to just one bank account. And one Quickbooks checking account.  

I bought a bike yesterday.  Sort of like a 'hooray' gift but also doctors orders.   I had an MRI of my left leg again (it only cost $55 US, amazing right?  Makes me reconsider our own medical system indeed.  I'm not a fan of Obamacare, but how awesome that a guy with no insurance can get an MRI for a mere $55 USD?!----though the average income here in China is far less than in the US, so that too much be taken into consideration).  Anyway, my leg.  I have been having trouble running for over a year now, and everyone thought it was a hamstring problem, or maybe something with my meniscus.  The MRI results: both my meniscus and my hamstring are totally fine.  No injuries at all.  So the pain, the doc says, is from overexertion, i.e. because my left quad is much less built up (i.e. atrophied) than my right quad.  So he told me he thinks the pain will go away if I can build up my quad strength.  And so I shall.  I bought the bike (with the help of one of my awesome English students--a medical student who also helped me at the hospital--named Samantha) as a way to build up my quads without running.  It's something I wanted desperately anyway, but didn't feel it was a necessity.  Yesterday, I bought it, and rode it 5 miles back to my apartment, and let me tell you--it was a necessity!  How much fun it was.  I forgot how much I missed my mountain bike back home.  I went to a local bike shop (Giant brand retailer) and found the least expensive one for 600 RMB (RenMinBi).  But it was like a citibike, and had caliper brakes.  Suddenly, this Italian guy and his girlfriend came in, and he bought a fancy new one for 3000 RMB.  I asked what he is doing with his old mountain bike---the one he rode their with.  Selling it!  So I had my first business transaction in Italian.  Just 400 RMB and then I had the bike shop owner (Chinese guy) put on a new rear tire, add a bike pump, do a tune up, and sell me a helmet.  No one wears helmets here, but honestly, I don't care.  I still remember when my dad got hit by a car while on his bike.  His helmet is the only thing that kept him alive: he hit head first.  Besides, I feel cooler with the helmet.  Weird, I know, but I do.  

Today is Thursday.  The last of my days off.  I have Chinese writing class from 9am- 12pm tomorrow morning, and then work from 1 - 9.  The job is becoming a routine now: I no longer have questions about where I need to be or what I need to do.  Well, with one caveat: every month, I get loaned out to a few of the other Wall Street English centers in the city for a day.  It's actually pretty cool, because it means I get to see another part of the city on the company dime, haha.  And with my bike, I can tour the city on my down time much farther than I could on foot and far more efficiently (I can see more) than by subway.  

I lost my iPad the other day.  THAT sucked.  But here's something very interesting I learned.  After a day, I realized I can live without it.  It's something I cherished so much, but when I lost it, I realized I could live without it.  On the other hand, my ex girlfriend Louisa: I didn't cherish her while I had her, but as soon as she was gone, I realized I couldn't live without her.  It's hard to believe that it's been a whole two years since Louisa and I broke up.  Or rather, until I started ignoring her and she broke up with me.  I have tried for two years to show her how much I care about her (even flying to Germany twice) but it didn't work.  Nothing worked.  I thought quitting my law job in NY, traveling Europe for two months, and moving to China would cure my pining for this girl, but it hasn't.  I didn't think it possible that someone could have left such an impression on me that two years later, I a) still haven't met anyone even close to as awesome as she is, and b) still can't get her out of my head.  I am hoping beyond hope that by the end of this summer, or the very least, the end of 2014, I am no longer thinking of her.  But unfortunately, I find it hard to believe I can ever meet anyone as amazing as she was.  She was my dream girl... and I didn't even realize it until she was gone.  Idiotic me.  Sucks, sucks, sucks.

In positive news, I'm excited to report that my business partner Ronnie and I signed a new contract with a new sales agent in Los Angeles for our film, "You Can't Kill Stephen King"   US DISTRIBUTION THIS OCTOBER BABY!   I also signed another contract with Bob Madia to be my co-writer on two new screenplay stories I have developed.  One is called "Fins" and the other is called "L/K/V".  What are they about?  Not a chance will I tell you, haha!  You'll find out when they are on the big screen!

Anyway, I'm gonna go out and ride my bike around a bit.  It's a sunny day today, or at least, as sunny as it can be with so much pollution.  Oh Shanghai, how I love you, haha.

Monroe Mann, Esq, MBA <--my consulting and coaching firm <--my travel blog

Check out my new books "Battle Cries for the Hollywood Underdog" & "Romantic Suicide" on Amazon and  Read also my bestselling books, "Guerrilla Networking", "Time Zen", and "The Theatrical Juggernaut"!
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