By GalTime Correspondent, Lindsley Lowell, for GalTime.com
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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.
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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.