Do you remember Field of Dreams? I loved that movie, and last weekend I couldn't get its most infamous line out of my head, "If you build it, he will come." If you read my post from a few weeks back, you know I was worried I had made my dreams too big to accomplish. Last weekend I could not get that quote out of my head, so for a little inspiration, I took a trip back to the 90s and watched the film.
If you remember, everyone thought Ray (Kevin Costner) was crazy for plowing down his corn field to build a baseball field. He was also hearing voices, which did not help matters. Now, my story is a little different, I just bought a lot of things from Taobao and Metro and started making seitan. Instead of me hearing voices, I whispered, "If you build it, they will come," into my husband's ear throughout the day, all day, last Sunday. What Ray and I do have in common is the belief that you have to build something in order to make things happen.
This doesn't just happen in the movies.
Last night, I had the pleasure of meeting a real life hero who built his dream into a reality. His name is Jimmy and he started The Renewal Center, an amazing charity that is doing amazing things for Shanghai's homeless men and women. I listened in awe as Jimmy told the story of how they started the operation 5 years ago. He wanted to do something big to help those in need, so he set about building his dream. The Renewal Center is way more than a shelter. It does exactly what the name says, it renews the lives of those that enter the program. The Renewal Center does so many things, but to name a few, it provides clean clothes, job training, and a safe place to spend time with friends. I am lucky enough to have been there once before. It filled me with so much joy to see how happy the people were. They read newspapers, played Uno and table tennis, and drank tea together. I knew then that I wanted to help.
Last night I told Jimmy about Serenity Seitan, and that once things get off the ground, I would like to donate 1 kuai from every package sold to The Renewal Center. I truly believe in what he has built, a place for those who need it. And they come.
We can build amazing things together.
When I made my first sale over a week ago, I was elated. I had this vision of myself surrounded by ingredients, Katy Perry (don't judge) blasting on the iPhone, and flour dust coming off of the counter in big, billowy clouds. I imagined orders coming in, me barely being able to fill them all. I imagined a lot of things. One thing I am trying to learn how to be is a perfect mix of optimistic and realistic. This has never been one of my strong suits, I am almost always overly optimistic and far from realistic when I get my heart set on something, which can be good or bad, depending on the situation. I hope it turns out to be good in this case.
I have been waiting for a shipment of a key ingredient for over two weeks. My Taobao ordering skills have improved, but I am still a novice. I use Taobao by navigating through it using the translate function on Google Chrome, and it works quite well, but it's not perfect. For example, items are referred to as "baby", as in "search for baby" or "I am concerned about the baby". Apparently I ordered a "baby" that is now stuck in customs as it was shipped from the U.S.
It's funny. In Shanghai so many things move at neck-breaking speed. Millions of people are hustling in every direction, entire businesses appear out of thin air, seemingly overnight. It takes about 15 minutes to get married (I know, I did it), and one second to almost get run over by a taxi (or a motor bike, or a bus, or an old lady at the market). When I began selling Serenity Seitan, I thought it would be the same way. I thought I would debut the product and be covered in seitan dough for the next week. Then reality hit. As much as this city teaches us how to move quickly, it also teaches it to be patient. In my experience, it almost always works out in the end.
I have my kitchen utensils ready, the labels are set, and the packaging ready to be cut. Thinking good thoughts, and hoping for the best, but expecting...reality.
Hi! I'm Lindsey, the owner of Serentiy Seitan. I love feeding people healthy and can't-believe-how-delicious-this-is food. I work and live in Shanghai with my husband and our three pets.