Ah so that’s why…!

I do love a good neurological explanation for behaviour which is why a couple of years ago I enjoyed listening to Tina Payne Bryson (author of ‘The Whole-Brain Child’) as she explained exactly WHY a toddler goes crazy ape bonkers when their cookie breaks (and other seemingly illogical meltdowns) – which I very much appreciated at the time with a 2-year-old in the house.

I mentioned in my last post that I recently read an interesting book – ‘The Power of Habit’ (Charles Duhigg) which describes the neurology behind habit forming (and habit breaking!). So habits, apparently, are stored in the most primitive part of the brain and don’t require much if any ‘thinking’ to take place (which explains why you might forget if you’ve locked the door/turned the light off….etc because it is possible to do these actions without actually ‘thinking’… and which is why habits can be so difficult to break). In this way, (some) habits are actually pretty handy as they allow you to use your ‘higher’ brain for things other than for performing repetitive daily chores. AND SO it dawned on me that moving to another country (and thus disrupting ALL of the daily routines and habits) requires a great deal of mental power (the ‘higher’ part of the brain/cortex)………..and so I have a neurological/scientifically-based explanation for my brain fog over the past year! I am not losing my mind.…..

Speaking of habits, I’d been passing this long green vegetable (below) at the markets for months but didn’t have the habit of using it. Thanks to my recent cooking classes it (garlic stems) has become a family favorite. Simply wash, chop, wok! (with a dash of oil and pinch of salt)


And during the classes I also produced (with much help) some xiaolongbao:



My son was SO happy to have the class mascot (POLO the panda) last week-end.


I found this on the table – my daughter has been practicing writing Chinese characters (with auto-correction)

It is ‘hairy crab’ season in Shanghai in October and November and one of Sebastien’s colleagues kindly offered to take us to a famous lake (whose name escapes me) where we could discover them ‘at their best’ (although she admitted that all of the best crabs are sent to Beijing)






Served ‘Shanghai style’ with black vinegar, ginger, dash of soy sauce. Female left, male right.

Shanghighs‘: The weather has been PERFECT. For those planning a visit, October is the time.

Shanglows‘: My son bit me today! …. is there a neurological reason/excuse for him?

Shangunusuals‘: I think it is scaffolding season here….bamboo poles are cropping up everywhere and making walking on footpaths even more hazardous than usual.



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