By beginning, I don’t mean that the second year has ended. Oh no! A lot more has yet to happen.
Helen, the Master of Connections invited us to a party one night. I still have no idea how she find all these events.
“Girls! I found an awesome group of people! I went to one of their birthday parties last week. They are so awesome! We must join their awesome group!”
When she was with Carlos, Helen stopped going out and did whatever he wanted. However, since the breakup, she’s back to her old self. And that girl is on the prowl! No one can ever accuse her of not being proactive…
Helen went on to explain that another person in the group is having a birthday. Basically, it’s always someone’s birthday.
We were at yet another Girls Only Dinner, where we’d bitch endlessly about the men (or lack of quality men) in Shanghai.
“I’m all for crashing parties, but…Are you sure it’s ok to bring this many people? None of us knows them except you…” I looked around at the other girls who were equally hesitant.
“Don’t worry about it!” She said confidently, “They are Awesome!”
Well, we were dressed up already. Just because it’s Ladies Night doesn’t mean you can’t look nice for your friends!
After dinner, we all walked to Three on the Bund, a restaurant overlooking, well… the bund. We found the rooftop terrace where the party was supposed to take place, but Helen was unable to identify the birthday person.
“What??? I thought you knew the birthday person!” I freaked out.
“I met him once! I forgot what he looked like!” she admitted.
“So none of us knows the host??? This is just too weird!!!” I started to back out.
“It’s ok! I’ll look around for my other friend!” Helen was determined.
“Ok, well you look for them. I’m gonna go to the washroom. You text me when you find them.” I went to hideout, while the others girls started to follow.
“Oh there they are! Relax and come with me!” She led us to the group congregated by the champagne buckets.
You’d think that having been in Shanghai for this long, I’ve lost all ability to be abashed. However, I still felt shy going up to a stranger, wishing them a happy birthday, followed by “Nice to meet you by the way.”
The other girls clearly felt the same way as Helen had to practically push and shove us towards the birthday group.
“Hi, nice to meet you! Helen said it’s your birthday and invited me along! Hope that’s Ok!” I was apologetic but quick to point out that I had a connection, and not just another expat party crasher. Even though I kind of was.
Luckily, being in Shanghai after all, everybody was exceptionally welcoming.
“No problem! Thanks for coming! I’m Jasper.” He shook my hand and said “Would you like some champagne?”
I let out a breath of relief, “Why yes, I would love some champagne!”
I went on to mingle with the rest of the party guests, and everybody was indeed Awesome like Helen said. However, it is Shanghai after all, everyone seems awesome at first.
We then moved downstairs to a Spanish club called Unico, where more champagne lay waiting. While everything was extravagant, it was tastefully done and nobody was spraying champagne in the air like a frat brother. I found out that Jasper, the birthday boy, was a pilot. I’m sorry, but that is just too cool.
Jasper was also extremely inclusive and introduced us to more people. He had many good looking male friends. Too bad I was not interested in dating anymore.
Among them was a South Asian looking guy who seemed familiar to me.
“Hi, nice to meet you.” He held out his hand.
“Wait, I know you! You’re Fredrik’s next door neighbor aren’t you?” I shouted enthusiastically over the music.
“Yeah… How…” He was taken aback and clearly had no idea who I was.
“Yeah! You’re Julien the lawyer!” I remembered because I also crashed his house party that one time.
“Um…” He looked embarrassed “I feel so bad that you know so much about me, but I don’t…”
He seemed like a really nice guy, so I let him off the hook “Oh don’t worry about it. I’m Kathy, we only met briefly anyway. I think it was your roommate’s birthday.”
“Oh wait! Now I remember!” His eyes lit up “You asked me if my life was like that TV show! What’s it called…”
“Suits!” I laughed, then asked deadpan “But seriously…is it?”
The two of us really hit it off, and ended up talking only to eachother the whole night.
“Where did the time go?” He said when everybody started leaving.
“Guess time flies when you’re having fun!” I never seem to run out of clichés.
“Well, it was so fun talking to you! We should meet up again!” He said as we exchanged Wechat.
“Of course!” I said, “Could always use another friend in Shanghai!”
As I sat in the taxi home, I was elated to have made new friends.
That’s exactly what I need right now, I thought. Friends. More friends. And nothing more than friends.