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Drea's Overseas Journal

January 18, 2021

Drea is a Chantale Nadeau model, currently in Shanghai, China with Esee Models.

I can't believe it's been a month already. I can't believe I'm here sometimes you know.

I haven't had the energy to sit down and write for weeks. Time I have... but time means nothing when you are drained from castings, work and living on a schedule you wait for every night before you go to bed.

Instead of writing in my daily journal I've decided to make mental notes of everything. Mental notes of every small gesture, every utterance, every facial expression I see. I've become a new kind of artist this way. I don't really have the words to describe what I'm doing exactly, but I am confident that later when I feel the need to expose everything I shall have what flair it takes to do so. Oh the many things brewing in my mind!!!

It took me a few weeks to really adjust to Shanghai. I felt like I was in another country altogether. I wasn't being very social... just doing a lot of thinking which lead to more thinking. I didn't want to infect anyone with my mood so I stayed low and kept to myself. I don't really know what got into me. If you know me in real life, you know what kind of outgoing, crazy-happy person I am. I just wasn't feeling good and I couldn't tell anyone because I didn't know what my problem was. I talked to Chantale and she told me to enjoy the experience because I will look back on all of this when I'm older and appreciate the whole opportunity I had. I snapped out of my mood very quickly.

And boy am I glad that I did because I have been having such a great time ever since!!! I think my mood was a mix of being home-sick, Lauren-sick, being the new girl and adjusting to the new weather.

I got to really know my roommates. One has left, but already called us three times from the Czech Republic! I was sharing a room with her and we talked on the phone about how we miss our strange dream salutes before going to sleep. I would tell her to dream of pink elephants and polka-dot kangaroos, and she would tell me something even more stupid which would lead to hilarious never ending laughter and no sleep! Haha!

Confucian Temple
My other roomie is from Canada, Jen from Sutherland - woo Jen! We managed to find another Canuck, Nick from Ford and decided to take the most random day trip of all of our lives put together.

I don't like to think of myself as a risk taker - but somehow I'm always at the center of uncertain situations. We wanted to go to a temple and read about the JAIDING DISTRICT Confucian temple in one of Jen's traveling guides. It sounded so exciting... and so in the middle of nowhere. I have no idea how we figured out how to get there or why we didn't turn back after sitting in a rocky city bus for an hour that felt like a terrifying raft ride in the River of Death (I made that river up for imagery).

We got there and it was so enchanting!!! I can see it so clearly right now! Jiading is home to one of the few Confucius Temples in the WORLD. It was built about 785 years ago, and has 72 lions outside, representing Confucius' 72 best students. We missed the lions somehow (don't even ask), but the rest of everything was so beautiful. I felt as if I was breathing a new kind of air walking amidst the temples and figures. The sculptures were crafted with such delicacy and precision. I have never seen anything like this before.

After taking everything in, taking a million pictures and being quiet for so long we decided to do some more exploring - like trying to find the lions - and going into the local markets. We looked SO out of place, but so in place at the same time because we're all Canadian and really cool.

Nick bought some Chinese flute from a man at the market. Ah hahaha... sorry I'm just picturing him playing it and how awful it sounded. The Chinese man showed him how to play it at least five times, and every time Nick blew into it - it sounded like a dying animal. Jen and I were in so much pain from laughing so hard!!!

Nick on the flute
It was getting cold, and our lion search came to and end. We took the bus back where Nick entertained everyone with his flute playing skills. It was such a great day!

Always... and I mean always - no matter where you are - take the opportunity to do as much as you can! I could have stayed at home again and sulked... but I went out and I'll never forget that day... or that terrible sound from the Chinese flute.

Each day is like a gift, a great gift that I shall carry with me as an ever present reality.

And each phase of it has been followed by another that makes everything that has gone before seem dreamlike. Is this even real? I have one more month here... and I don't know if I want it to end sometimes.

Work has been going very well too! I've been doing a few catalogues, but mostly editorials and fashion shows. The editorials are just astounding. Everything from make-up to styling to the photography! I can't wait to get them for my portfolio. I got a sneak peak of some of them and I can't believe it's me. Communication is getting a lot easier as well. I've picked up some Chinese, but it's more about having a connection and really immersing yourself into the project. I've always done that... but here more than ever. I know I have become a better model. It will be cool to come back home and work. I have a whole new feel on things. It's so refreshing. I'm looking forward to... I don't know what exactly, but something good.

You know... there was a time in my life where I thought I had to come up with a multitude of dazzling ideas each day. I'm even more patient than I was before and I've stopped to smell the flowers of life. Really smell them. I see so many things. I see the same man selling his bright sweet smelling fruits on the corner of my street everyday, the hundreds of restaurants on one small street cooking the most delicious of dishes despite the cold, the old lady balancing too great of an amount of folded cardboard on her hurting hunched back to who knows where, the couple playing music for me and others two blocks away on a two thread violin, the businessman flying to his next meeting in downtown Shanghai, fluorescent buildings blinding me at night time... and the roof of my bunk bed before I close my eyes to sleep. And now I feel like a wide stretch of dried crops where nothing grows... but will grow into a whole new crop at a perfect pace because the sky is my limit and I am spanned by a high wide one.

This is better.

I am smiling now... like I'm up to something. And maybe I just am...

Happy New Year.

Until next time...

More to follow...

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