Yangpu during the Shanghai lockdown

Day 50 and I got a rare “临时出门单”, so I walked around the Yangpu district for a few hours, which is the hardest-hit area in Shanghai now.   Main roads have some traffic, but curbs are empty — except for around the area of two hospitals I passed. I saw many seniors who had to […]

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Come rain come sunshine

Living abroad puts you in the middle of two countries, a bit of both but neither whole. I’ve been living in China for four years now, and it’s easy to dismiss my opinion or views from all sides. People from the Netherlands will ask me how I can possibly enjoy a country with such a […]

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Waiting

This piece of calico from Wuzhen is still waiting to meet my mom. I never know what to buy her, but I think she’ll like this, a piece of tangible China bought in June, 2020. Now I’m moving houses again, and again this piece is going with me, waiting, just like me. 搬家。我还没有机会给我妈这块乌镇蓝印花布。我明天又搬家,这块又陪我去一套新的房子,它正在等待,就像我一样。

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想 (Wish)

In English: A rabbit wants to become a hare A dog wants to become a wolf A coat rack wants to be a moose A football player who wants to be a champion A chess player wants to be the best a boxer to be the last man standing A book wants to be a […]

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Learning Chinese at GoEast Mandarin

In the summer of 2018, I moved to Shanghai and actually, I only planned to stay maybe two years in China, so I didn’t consider it necessary to learn Chinese. In Shanghai it’s OK to get by without speaking Mandarin. You either point at pictures, or show the translated sentence on your phone. For some […]

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Thrillers & detectives

I loved plenty of crime novels — Devotion of Suspect X, Journey under the Midnight Sun, In the Woods by Tana French, and several Agatha Christie stories as well as Lee Child, some Stephen King — and I’m now reading The Chestnut Man. The main thing I noticed, though, is that even when I absolutely […]

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In Taicang: Porcelain shards of history

The museum in Taicang (太仓) shows the city’s history, how 1000 years ago — during the Yuan and Ming Dynasty — it was one of China’s richest cities, thanks to its position next to the Yangtze River. But the link between that city and today’s Taicang remains unclear to me, apart from some excavations and […]

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We’ve lived 2021

We’ve lived 2021. In the future, you’ll remember the big accomplishments from 2021, but will you remember how they felt? The worries you felt were significant, the little joys that found their way, the hopes you had. Historic events will be reduced to paragraphs on Wikipedia, your feelings dulled by time. Write them down before […]

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I want to be vulnerable, not strong

There’s a parallel that when you sport and you get bruised, it won’t hurt until after the football match, or the day after the run. There are stories of motorcycles losing a foot on a bend armco, and they won’t notice it until they stop riding and want to use that foot to stand on. […]

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Experience of Spoken Chinese language courses at GoEast Mandarin

This summer, I joined GoEast Mandarin‘s summer intensive course intended for students who finished HSK4. Here’s my brief recap and whether you should do it too. Why Spoken Chinese and not HSK5? Several reasons. First, I live in China, but I don’t need the HSK exam for my visa, nor am I studying at a […]

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