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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How to speak to a person who is learning the language you speak

Introduction placed underneath the tips. 1: Avoid figurative language such as expressions & idioms It’s extremely difficult for foreign language speakers/listeners to understand figurative or abstract language. With this, I mean fixed expressions, idioms, sayings, proverbs, interjections. Anything not literal. Obviously, this applies to complex sayings like “You catch more flies with honey than with […]

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I don’t miss teaching, but I do miss the students

I won’t be teaching any marketing this semester because my visa doesn’t allow it. I won’t miss the two-hour inner-city travel from Yangpu to Songjiang, I won’t miss the meager pay, and I won’t miss the weekends spend working on Keynotes and homework. But I will miss all 24 students, enthusiastic and cleverly crazy, each […]

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1989

I was born four months before the Berlin Wall fell, two days before the B-2 Stealth Bomber made its first flight, and a month after the wreckage of Germany’s Second World War battleship the Bismarck was found, 650 kilometers west of France and 4791 meters deep into the Atlantic. That same year the World Wide […]

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Everything is environment

In ‘The Nurture Assumption‘, Judith Rich Harris challenges the idea that children are mainly formed by their parents. In 462 pages, Harris goes over many ideas, the main one being that the environment in which children grow up has a much bigger influence on children’s future than their parents. It’s an appealing idea that should […]

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Why don’t we___?

Why do we produce luxury cars while people are dying in poor countries? Why do we work on missions to Mars while our own planet has problems? Why is Starbuck’s revenue is 26,5 billion dollars, while malaria would cost 8.5 billion dollars to eradicate? Why do we worry about climate change if nuclear weapons are […]

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You cannot love what you want to change

We can improve the way we love when we stop looking at love like a kind of work, the way we may look at careers: how to mold the perfect child, how to have the perfect partner. Modern lovers search for their perfect romance and *the one*. Young girls try to live up to the […]

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