By GalTime Correspondent, Lindsley Lowell, for GalTime.com
What happens in China stays in China?
So many hoped this was the case on my recent trip there with my husband and his MBA group. The schedule was a packed five-day extravaganza of tours, meetings and events in Shanghai with local companies. As the little wife and avid traveler, I came along for the ride.
The group had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. China is not exactly a hop, skip and jump from Los Angeles. A few others brought along their spouses and tacked on additional cities to make it a vacation, but most came solo to fulfill the trip abroad requirement.
I was looking forward to having some time with an intelligent, mature group of people. Many were, but many more were ready to party and saw their airplane ticket as a golden ticket back to adolescence. I was amazed at the debauchery.
This was technically a student trip, but about eighty-five percent of the group were professionals over 35-years old who were married with kids. To me, this should mean that they might be over their crazy party days and would take the five days seriously. Boy, was I wrong. Many times when you take someone away from their home turf and a regular schedule and throw them into another country, there’s bound to be trouble.
I recall my college days where drinking to excess at parties was not only encouraged, but demanded. I thrived at this task – so much so, that I decided to carry it into my late 20s in New York City, and early 30s, as a single gal in Los Angeles. But here I was, over 40, in the middle of Shanghai, feeling the peer pressure. I know no one meant any harm, but every night, there were bar crawls and nightclub expeditions that I frankly wanted no part of.
Sure, I love some cocktails and a cool scene, but wanting to party like a rockstar when you’re our age just seems, well, lame. Maybe the fact that I spent my twenties in New York, where chic nightspots, gorgeous people and partying till 4:00 a.m. was de rigeur made me a little jaded. Most of this MBA group live in the suburbs and we all know how stir crazy that can make people. I had expected we would live it up at the final party on Saturday night and go out for some fun dinners, but wanting to reenact a scene from “The Bachelor” every night seemed a bit much.
Plus, how were they going to retain anything from the program each day with a throbbing headache? I admit that my husband and I gave into the peer pressure and wound up dancing the night away rather than getting a good night’s sleep. Would I have preferred sleep? Probably. Yes, I’m that old and boring these days.