The Things We Do for Christmas Trees

Looks like a page from ISpy Christmas. Since I am still in search of Christmas, I join three others to visit the Hongqiao Flower Market, which is now supposedly decked out for the holidays. The sun is shining, and though the air pervades a certain chill that hasn’t been there since I arrived, it’s a…

At Least the Shower Didn’t Melt

I did have a lovely Tuesday night out. The best part of Jinqiao is the availability of what is called “Teacher Nights.” They are nights when hard-working educators are rewarded with excellent food deals and half price drinks. The Fat Olive is a hipster Greek restaurant by Dulwich College (the British School in the area)…

Finding Starbucks

Wo qu Xingbake kafei ting.  I am at Starbucks cafe.  Well, not really, but that sounds good right about now, if only I could convince myself to venture out into the chilly November night. But my bones feel the cold, and I’ll settle for a Starbucks Via tonight. I just wanted to express how unduly…

Duck Karma

Every now and then, Martha’s Law will prevail: Anything that can go wrong in the kitchen, will. It started with my food delivery this afternoon. I had thought, really thought, that the whole roaster duck I had ordered would look like the online picture: no head, no neck, and no feet. Sort of like a…

Where Are You Christmas?

Admittedly, I worried about not being to find things to decorate my apartment with when I moved overseas. Christmas decorations are important to me, but I’m not going to ship them. At some point, though, I will be bringing my ornaments back with me. After all, those are my personal history in ornament form. It’s…

Portlandia

Steel Bridge On my last full day in Portland, I grab a toasty pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks in the morning – standing in line with the millions of other under-caffeinated teachers too – and head to my last few sectionals at the conference. I have my map and my plan in my pocket, and…

Cafe Spotting

Old Signs Day 4 of Portland Here I am, watching Planet of the Apes again on Starz because I’m too lazy to change the channel to one of four English channels I get – though, right now, BBC World News is looking mighty tempting – so I figure I’ll make a cuppa hot tea to ward…

A Pilgrimage to Literary Mecca

Day 3 of Portland After boosting the American economy on Tuesday, it was time to get down to brass tacks. After all, I wasn’t in Portland for a shopping spree, or to bulk up on American goods (made in China, by the way). I was here for a conference, the very same one I mentioned…

Coming to America

Not so much Eddie Murphy style, however. First view of Oregon Why was I back in America, then? After three months abroad in China, I flew back across the great Pacific pond and landed in San Francisco first (yay, American customs & immigration!) before jet-hopping to Portland, Oregon, for the 39th Annual American Middle Level…