a transplanted life in China 

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Paris, Paris

Published on July 27, 2015, by in Food, France, Travel.

    I knew that Paris would be different – no place stays the same, and with the passage of over 30 years I was a different person than I was in my 20s. There are a lot more chains and franchises now, the ubiquitous Starbucks, KFC, and Subway; the seedy areas I remembered from long ago are now upscale and stylish. There was also a heatwave, with temperatures in the 30s (Celsius), and almost as much English and Chinese spoken as French. It was, after all, the height of the tourist season, and not the optimal time for experiencing “typically French” atmosphere – if, in fact, there ever is such a time in the most-visited city on earth.   I was gripped by melancholy a few weeks before my trip; memories and regrets of my youth , a Christmas spent in Paris with my brother and our mother in 1979, worries that I would confront fragments of my lost self at every turn. Instead, I simply enjoyed myself. Yes, Paris is in many ways just another big and indifferent city, but my focus this trip was to see things I had missed before, and to enjoy the first trip of my life not regulated by constant money concerns. Above all, I wanted to eat.       I was actually in Paris twice, for 4 days each time, bookending my visit to Provence and a week in Marseille in between. It’s just the way it worked out. I stayed

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la belle France

Published on July 18, 2015, by in France, Travel.

 Cafe Le Refuge, Paris     I’m taking a well-deserved break from both the stresses of a new teaching job and the completion of my M.A. dissertation, and spending 2 1/2 weeks in France. It’s a sentimental journey, my first time here since the 1980s, and the sensations and memories are sometimes overwhelming. Paris, Arles, Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence are my destinations – I spent 6 months in Aix as a student long ago – and the whirlwind tour is exhausting me. I’m currently in Marseille for a week, and the heat, humidity, and burning Mediterranean sunlight are sometimes brutal. Just as exhausting is trying to consume all the food I can in this short time – seafood, couscous, bouillabaisse, and Provencal dishes – not to mention stocking up on olive oil and French delicacies. As I slow down my pace a bit, and carve out a bit of time for writing and posting, I’ll shaer some of my experiences and the photos I’m taking with my fabulous new Fujifilm X-T1 camera. In the meantime, here are a couple of selected images.      Metro Sentier, Paris        Saint Trophime cloister, Arles       Mediterranean view, Marseille    

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Shanghai, old post office building

Published on April 3, 2015, by in Photography, Shanghai, Travel.
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random Chicago image

Logan Square corner

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Suzhou

 北寺塔 North Temple Pagoda, Suzhou   I’ve now been living in Suzhou for two and a half weeks. At long last the trials and tribulations of the visa process have come to an end, the car drive across China from Chengdu to the east coast has been done, and I’ve settled into my new apartment. In the midst of all this, three wonderful weeks spent in Chicago passed like a dream. As of this moment, I’ve met all of my EAP (English for Academic Purposes) students, approximately 80 of them divided into four classes. I have each class for four hours a week, which comes to 16 hours of teaching, plus office hours. Between classes I’m in my private office in the Science Building, complete with brand-new large-screen computer and a printer. I keep wanting to pinch myself – did all this really happen, despite my misgivings and uncertainty about ever obtaining a work visa? I guess they did.        Location of Suzhou in China     A short recap: I was offered a two-year teaching contract as an English Tutor at Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University, located in the section of Suzhou known as Higher Education Town, in the southern part of Suzhou Industrial Park. It’s a vast suburban sprawl, but with some stunningly beautiful landscaping; the whole area, so I’ve read, is a joint venture between Singapore and China. Fortunately, the apartment I found is three bus stops away from school. The dog and I have settled in

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