I have been in Chicago for a litle over two weeks now. I’m here for two main reasons: to spend time with my brother Kenton, who moved here a month ago from Sioux City, Iowa, and to apply for my Z Visa at the Chinese Consulate, for my new teaching job in Suzhou. Among other things, Chicago is notable for its architecture, and for being a great food city. I also spent portions of my young life here, as a college student, and later during a transitional period in my mid-20s. The city had always held fond memories for me, and is one of those places that keeps calling me back again. To recap my journey thus far, from Chengdu I flew to Shanghai, taking the express train the next day to Suzhou, where I’ll start a new teaching job in a couple of weeks at Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University. During 2 1/2 days in Suzhou I had just enough time, in between rainstorms that alternated with sticky, hot weather, to spend an afternoon looking at apartments. I chose a semi-furnished 2-bedroom unit about 10 minutes from my new university, paid the deposit and first 3 months’ rent, then returned to Shanghai for my 13-hour direct flight to Chicago. I had originally scheduled my stay in Chicago for 10 days, but had to change it to 3 weeks, due to yet more delays in my Chinese visa process. It’s been a long, hard process that
dumplings crew, Chongqing restaurant kitchen
part of our lunch at a dumpling restaurant in Wenshufang, across the street from Wenshu monastery Mápó dòufu is a popular Chinese dish from Sichuan province. It is a combination of tofu (bean curd) set in a spicy chili- and bean-based sauce, typically a thin, oily, and bright red suspension, and often cooked with fermented black beans and minced meat, usually pork or beef. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mapo_doufu
This week I’m highlighting The Spot, a new burger restaurant that opened in the Blue Caribbean Plaza near campus. Their chef used to run a felafel stand on Kehua Bei Lu, which he has since left to join the restaurant. The limited menu hasn’t gotten boring (yet), as I’ve eaten their burgers three (or is it four?) times in the past week. Oh yes, the thick-cut fried potatoes are to die for. Next time I go, I must take my own bottle of French Dijon-style mustard with me. Other than that, today was rainy, and after my class I returned home for an afternoon nap. I’ve just signed my teaching contract for the next year, which includes 12 months instead of 10. That means I’ll get paid all year round, including summer, but I will be available for full-time teaching during July and August. No summer vacation this year, but it will be a great chance to save my money for future travel.
noodle restaurant Today was my birthday. It was gray, cold, and slightly damp, but I went out with my camera anyway. I figured I could shoot in black and white and maybe get some good results. I debated about where to go, not feeling very festive, and ended up at a Lanzhou noodle restaurant (the kind that are hand-pulled). I ate some good 牛肉炒面片 – sliced noodles fried with beef. I started to take a walk, but it was getting rainy, so I bought some food for me and the dog and went home. Tonight the moon is full and and an eerie orange color. Another birthday come and gone.