You and me, it was love at first sight. You offered me new opportunities, a new culture, a new country. I had never lived more than 4 hours from where I grew up and frankly, I was scared out of my mind. But you dazzled me from the moment I stepped off the plane. Your beautiful skyline, your delightful foods, and your endless possibilities.
You've taught me so much over the past three years. Sure, sometimes you made me feel awkward and out of place but you also showed me that I'm stronger than I ever thought possible. You forced me to try new things and embrace new cultures. You even convinced me to eat pork again.
You haven't always treated me the best. There was the case of e.coli and numerous bouts of food poisoning. And sometimes you made it toxic for me to breathe. Other people didn't always understand my fascination with you or my ability to look past your faults. But I thought those flaws gave you character. The spitting, shoving, and public defecation. Those were just your ways of asserting your independence. Your unwavering lack of interest in conforming to others' standards.
And through it all, I loved you. Your weird smells, your bustling streets, your cultural differences. I learned to embrace them all. Heck, I even started to do some of them.
But now Shanghai, it's time to move on. You'll always hold a special place in my heart, one that I didn't know was empty until you came along. I hope this isn't goodbye forever. I hope I come back to you. But life happens and it might be awhile until I see you again. I hope you won't forget me. Because I will never forget you. You've changed me, and it's for the better.