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Jun 9, 2018

When my husband and I visited China, I must say that we weren't very organized. My husband was focused on work, but I hadn't done enough research into making our finances(1) work in China. Though I had notified my credit card companies that I would be using the cards in China, I failed to get a pin to withdraw cash. I also was completely unaware of Alipay. And Alipay is everywhere. If you are not yet familiar with it, you soon will be. It is a financial organization, owned by Alibaba, which provides 3rd party(2) on-line payments, with no fees. That means that like using PayPal, you can pay for almost anything without cash or credit cards. Every transaction is done over your smart phone. And let me tell you, the transactions are fast. There is no need for fumbling(3) around with passwords that you might have forgotten, or waiting for confirmation numbers. No, this is lightening speed, and I didn't have it. On a few occasions, I couldn't actually go into places because they only took Alipay. As the few Yuan that I had ran out, I began to feel uncomfortable, and quite silly. What made it worse was that we actually went to the headquarters of Alibaba, the very conglomerate that owns and operates Alipay. The museum we were invited to showcased for us the massive, and complex machine of Alibaba, with its retail, e-commerce, AI, and tech branches. "I really need to catch up," I thought to myself, "on everything!" I left the building in Hangzhou feeling a mix of emotions: very impressed, but very 'behind'. The presenter who took us through the museum, and showed us the evolution of the company, mentioned that Alibaba is focusing more and more on making systems and other companies more efficient. It is also tracking our carbon footprints and planting trees. Ah, now, those two things certainly got my attention. The fact that it is worth over $500 billion, of course is exciting and impressive. But you know me; my heart strings were pulled when I found out that it is being responsible about the well-being of the planet. And one of my favorite combinations of words is 'efficient' + 'systems'. Perhaps I can follow their example, become efficient, and do a bit more research on how to organize my spending before I travel somewhere new!

1. Finances means everything to do with money and its uses.

a. I really need to sort out my finances; I don't know what I have coming in or going out!

b. His life is finances; he lends money for a fee, and also invests whenever he can.

2. 3rd party is a person or organization that helps to organize an interaction between you and someone else.

a. The counselor was like an unattached 3rd party who listened to both people talk, and who simply summarized what was going on.

b. A 3rd party in finances is usually not associated with the seller or the buyer, but provides the service of the transaction and its security.

3. 'To fumble' is a verb which means to handle in an unstable way, almost dropping, and not holding properly. It is often used with the word 'around'.

a. I fumbled around in the dark, looking for a flashlight, hoping that the electricity would come back on soon.

b. She tried to put the key in the lock, fumbling, and dropping them several times.