When Rosemary Ann Baker moved to Shanghai, she never even considered that she would potentially start dating again. Her ex-boyfriend had dumped her two days before she hopped on a plane to China. He was really disappointed that she was actually leaving and couldn't actually stay with her because of the distance. But, that didn't stop her from enjoying her time, setting up her coffee shop and hanging out with her good Shanghainese friend, Yu Jingyi. Jingyi and Rosemary met at college in business school in the United States. Jingyi actually somewhat convinced Rosemary to go try to set up her business in Shanghai and that she could help out. Jingyi had been living in Shanghai, doing her own work at her business for the past few years and hadn't seen her friend since she's graduated.
After one year of preparations, eventually everything worked out for the best and Jingyi found a place in Putuo district for a coffee shop. Jingyi used her connections and had everything finished in two months. After a month of preparation before leaving, Rosemary flew to Shanghai, to her new apartment, and new shop named, "The Mitten Coffee Shop."
She was proud of this coffee shop. It was almost like home was with her. People from Michigan are too proud and love their home. So, on the walls there are Michigan photos, Michigan maps, everything that represented her home state.
Being twenty-seven and unmarried in China was something that didn't cross her mind until after her first month in China. She went on two dates with two separate men, both European, but they were not her type. Jingyi suggested for her to date a Chinese man, but Rosemary wouldn't hear it. Even though Jingyi is married to another Shanghainese local, the idea of a cross-cultural relationship never crossed Rosemary's mind. She never even thought to date a Chinese man in her life. Rosemary knew that her long blonde hair, coffee brown eyes, and semi-curvy figure would give her a lot of looks on the street and stares of most men. Especially when some people would come into The Mitten just to take her photo.
Then, there was Chen Ziheng. Just after her first month, she met him. He walked into her shop at 8:30 in morning, wearing a black suit, sporting a crisp haircut, chiseled jaw, soft spoken eyes, and no smile. He was one of the first handsome Chinese men that had gotten her attention since she's arrived to Shanghai. Jingyi was working with her behind the counter when Ziheng came up to order.
"I want to order a black coffee to go. No cream, no sugar." He speaks directly to Jingyi in Mandarin, ignoring Rosemary. She has been used to it since most of her customers are curious Chinese people.
"Okay, that's going to be twenty yuan." She replies back with a slight smile. He doesn't smile back, just holding out his phone to be scanned. Using Wechat or Alipay was a common form of payment in China nowadays.
"What did he order? I think I heard black coffee." Rosemary asks her confused as usual, perplexed by his Mandarin.
"Black coffee, no sugar or cream." She smiles at her friend.
"Awesome, I'll get it ready!" she grins, beginning to pour coffee from the pot into a coffee cup.
"Alipay or Wechat?" she asks him.
"Alipay." He replies smoothly.
She scans his phone with a scanner and says, "Okay."
"Thanks," he replies, still no smile.
Rosemary hands him his coffee and he takes it, looking at her in the eyes. She smiled at him and he smiled slightly back.
"Zai jian," goodbye, she said.
He holds up his coffee to her and said, "Zai jian."
When he walks out the door, Jingyi laughs.
"He smiled only at you!"
YOU ARE READING
Rosemary Ann Baker, a new expat in Shanghai, China, has opened a coffee shop with one of her college best friends, Jingyi. One day, a mysterious and handsome Chinese man named Ziheng Chen came for a coffee. Although Rosemary's Mandarin skills are la...