Summer is nearly over, and it's back to school again

The summer was no where near as hot as last year, but we did see some interesting developments over the hot months, as well as some unique and record-breaking weather events.

We’re officially in the final throes of summer, with the hottest part of the year behind us and the kids back at school. For some that’s a welcome relief, including me — I just can’t wait until I have to crack out my hot water bottle!

The summer was no where near as hot as last year, but we did see some interesting developments over the hot months, as well as some unique and record-breaking weather events. Today I’m going to summer-ize it all for you.

Jiang Xiaowei

A group of young travelers caught in one of this year's typhoons.

No record highs, but plenty of typhoons!

I don’t know if you remember, but last summer was extraordinarily hot in Shanghai. Multiple 40+ degree Celsius days melted the city — this year didn’t hit 40 even once — and the highest temperature felt here since at least 146 years ago (40.9) kept Shanghai’s air conditioners at full blast.

There was none of that this year, but we did experience some other weather records: four typhoons affecting the city in the space of just one month!

Typhoons Ampil, Jongdari, Yagi and Rambia made landfall starting late July, bringing gales and heavy rainstorms. Heavy measures were put into place, including the evacuation of thousands living in the worst-hit areas and the cancellation of trains and flights, affecting tens of thousands. In the end Shanghai escaped largely unscathed, and the typhoon season came to an exhausted end.

Having fun is the name of the game for most kids during summer holidays.

Kids just wanna have fun!

One of the best times for students around the world is the summer holidays which, naturally, goes for Chinese kids too. Most spend their time swimming, catching fish, traveling, and playing with their friends. But many schools are still adamant on issuing homework assignments for the holidays, interrupting some of the only times we are ever allowed to be truly free in our lives.

Don’t fret, because the kids found a way around those pesky teachers’ assignments: ghostwriters! China Central Television came out with an expose on the matter, reporting that professional writers are making a mint penning homework for 50 yuan (US$7.30) a piece — they’ll even mimic a student’s handwriting for an extra fee if need be.

Since the lid was blown on the ghostwriting industry, teachers may slowly realize that it’s probably best to leave kids alone during the summer holiday, unless they want to give up their precious months off as well — we all know a teacher who boasts about the long holidays as a plus of the job!

Shanghai began planning for the Import Expo

Another thing you may have noticed this summer is Shanghai’s government gearing up for the much-anticipated Import Expo this November. That’s meant a few things, ranging from upgraded Metro lines to tighter rental bike laws (again) to caps on hotel prices in an effort to stop price gouging. But probably one of the most wide-ranging is the crackdown on bad English signs.

It all began in 2015, though, when Shanghai became the first city in China to enact regulations relating to the “proper” use of foreign languages. Now a team of 120 officials and language experts are heading around the city looking for bad English signage and advertising in order to help Expo visitors from being “lost in translation.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ll miss those “slip carefully” (Shanghai began planning for the Import Expo) and “bump your head carefully” (xiaoxin peng tou) signs around town.

We still have a few weeks to go before we really notice any temperature change, but summer is well and truly coming to a close. To be honest I’m getting used to it, and it wasn’t anywhere near as unbearable this time, but that’s probably to do with moving to a place literally right on a Metro exit (and only two stops from work.)

I’m looking forward to autumn, even though it’s only ever a flash in a pan, and then it’ll be time for my favorite season of the lot: winter!

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