Saturday, June 5, 2010

Where has Edna been, and where is Edna going?

That's right, I graduated. The last month has been a weird mix of goodbyes and emotions and silly things like that as I left Etown (and soon, home) for good. I also hosted two visiting friends from Australia, who I'd met in Dalian and had come all the way to Central Pennsylvania to see me graduate/turn 21. First lesson of adulthood: hosting people is exhausting.

Oh, and I turned 21! On the same day as graduation, no less. I have to give a shout-out here, for my family threw me an absolutely incredible graduation/birthday party.

So anyway, the eternal graduation question: What now? Well it certainly isn't more education- after the nightmare that was my thesis, I have no soul left and you couldn't pay me enough to go to grad school.

So where am I going? Back to China is the logical (and correct) answer, but surprisingly, I won't be staying long.

I mean, I'm 21 and I've already spent a year and half of the last four in China, not to mention all the summers I went to Shanghai. If I go back now, I can see myself easily falling back into the China Bubble, oh that dreaded Bubble, and I want to go out and really challenge myself this time. I mean, there's so much of the world to see! So I'm realizing my wish to move abroad again and starting a slow-travel RTW (round the world) trip, beginning with San Francisco in two days. I'll spend a week there, then head back to Shanghai for about five weeks of pure family/friends time, then I'm ....moving to Singapore!

That's all I've got planned so far, I haven't even a job lined up yet- just a three-week volunteer gig with the Youth Olympic Games that will take me to the end of August. I'm tentatively thinking Australia or the Philippines by Christmas, but I mean with these things... who knows? The last thing I want to do is plan too far ahead.

And if I ever need a backup plan...Shanghai's not going anywhere.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Inflatable Rainbows (or: cellllebrate good times!)

Sooo I was gone for a while. I was writing my senior honors thesis and it pretty much ate my soul. There was a rough patch there where I didn't even think I was going to finish it (nor did my professors, great motivation there), and therefore not graduate with honors.

Yeah, April was a long, sleepless month.

But I'm back! I can't promise I'll be around for long- this month is crazy full of graduation prep, including finals and senior week, but at least MY THESIS IS OVER. Nearly. I defend it tomorrow!

Hey, all that aside, here's a colorful picture of some inflatable rainbows outside Xinghai Square in Dalian. September 2008, during a visit from my mom.

So...Celllllebrate good times, COME ON!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Rub Down

A massage parlor somewhere; they're so common in China that I don't even know in which city it was that I took this. If ever there was a good impulse buy, this is it.

They're not always the cleanest establishments, but the service is fabulous; even at 20 RMB (~$3) an hour you get some quality foot-rubs, often with a bit of head and shoulder massaging thrown in too. Actually, even writing about it makes my shoulders ache for one...only 11 more weeks til I go back!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gaelic Football in China

(It was windy, I couldn't get a good photo. Shut up.)

So it completely slipped my mind on Wednesday that I have photos of China that are appropro for Paddy's Day. Namely, the annual All-China Gaelic Games. So here's a belated Irish in China post.

Go Mikey Go! (Game against Shanghai; Mikey's the one who started the Dalian Wolfhounds)

There's a surprisingly large Irish expatriate population in China, and they've of course brought their national sport, Gaelic football, to the Chinese, English, Americans, Australians, and whatever other nationalities will stand for the rough sport. I played keeper in the Games in Beijing '08 and Shanghai '09, both for the Shenzhen Ladies (though I trained with the Dalian team, we didn't have enough for a full girls' team.) I famously fractured my foot in '08 post-games and my appearance in '09 was completely guilt-tripped by my captain, but the Games were ridiculously fun nonetheless (despite my foot wanting to destroy me for making it suffer through an entire football competition).

Also, for anyone who knows me personally, Gaelic football was basically where my obsession fondness for the Irish took root.

Dalian Wolfhounds men's team, Beijing 2008 (check out the air pollution! healthy sporting conditions to be sure!)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shiny Shopping Street

Nanjing Lu, the famous pedestrian shopping street, Feb 2008.

Kind of a cliche photo to post, I realize, but ooh look! Pretty lights!

/Edna runs away to finish her thesis

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Barbie's House

The Barbie flagship store on Central Huaihai Road. Six stories of pink girliness.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

And Scene

A rainy day at the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong. The director was not pleased.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lantern Festival Three-Fer

1: Lanterns within the center court of Yu Gardens (note the Dairy Queen)
2: The massive lines for tickets at only one entrance gate of several
3: Glowing zodiac animals on the water

This could have easily been a 20-fer post; I took so many photos that night. Yu Gardens was so grandly lit you could see it from blocks away, and they had set up entrance gates and charged 50 RMB for tickets to get in (usually it's free).

The place was ridiculously packed with people- imagine Times Square on New Year's Even, then multiply that by about 13. I probably could have just moshed on all their heads to get around, instead of trying to fight my way through the crowds.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Zodiac Animal Lanterns

Nothing says cute like zodiac animals made of wire and lights. Look at that fat green snake. Look at Mr. Rooster. Adorable.

Cheng Huang Miao, Shanghai, Feb 2008

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Flashback: New Year Decorations at 城隍庙

Flashback time!

Over the next few days, my posts will be from Shanghai during Chinese New Year 2008, the first and only time I've actually experienced the holiday in China.  

(While the New Year began on Feb 14, the holiday technically lasts 15 days, so I'm still right on time! Technically.)

This photo comes from the famous tourist trap landmark, the Old Temple outside Yuyuan Gardens. 2008 was the Year of the Rat, so those decorations in the water are blowup zodiac animals, surrounded by many friendly-looking, red-wearing, celebratory rats.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dirty Laundry

Laundry in the midst of much dirt and construction in the fields of Fengxian, a farming village outside Shanghai. May 2009.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hello, Little Child (or, Chinese Benjamin Button)

Random child, found with this random painting set-up, in a random deserted garden at the Summer Palace in Beijing.

I'm not sure where he came from, or more pressingly, why he is sporting that impressive mustache. But seriously, how adult does he look with that easel and that facial hair.

Also: I say "Hello, little child" a lot. It comes from this episode of Harry Potter Puppet Pals (Brilliantly funny. You MUST watch. I'll wait.)

...Hilarious, right? So, every time I write "Hello, little child," it's not meant to be in that creepy pedo way, but rather in that puppet-y Voldemort way. And now you know.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Balmy Nanjing

A balmy summer night in Nanjing. I had taken off on a spontaneous two-day trip here from Shanghai; once I arrived and felt the cool temperatures and experienced the laid-back feel of the city, I knew taking off was a great choice. Gorgeous.

Monday, February 1, 2010


A depressingly cold and dreary day at the West Lake, Hangzhou.

To be fair, it was October and I would have been fine had I brought a jacket. However, the day before I'd gone to Suzhou and the weather was just lovely, so naturally, I assumed a city 77 miles away would have the same temperatures.

Moral of the story: If you go to Hangzhou, check the weather first. Then bring a jacket anyway.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Office

[Well, almost. We were in 21, this is (obviously) building 20. However, everyone rode into work, so there were a lot of bicycles around anyway.]

In August of 2009 I started working for some friends who had founded their own start-up; of the many reasons why this new job was awesome and rocked (working with friends, working with iPhones...), the office was definitely one of them:

A renovated first-floor lanehouse in the heart of the French Concession, located in this cozy little alley in a cozy little neighborhood. Nepali Kitchen was directly across the street and Cantina Agave was only a block away (!). Lunch time was always the best time, with all the choices surrounding us.

Also, the walk to the office was pretty cool:

To the normal person, it was about five blocks and took about 20 minutes to walk. But to me, having just turned 20, it was the biggest ego trip: every morning and every evening, I would swing on my laptop bag, pop in my headphones, and walk (or, in my mind, 'commute') from my full-time job (ooo) to my kick-ass apartment (oooo), in the heart of one of the greatest metropolises in the world.

You better believe I walked the streets like I owned those bad boys, cause I felt awesome.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tie A Red Ribbon

As I climbed Mount Tai last May, I found red ribbons tied everywhere, mostly in the temples and especially on trees like these.

I suppose they're for prayers and/or luck, but I personally love the bright contrast of the red ribbons on the green trees. I also wonder how well they hold up under intense weather conditions....?

(More Mount Tai photos here)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Three 太太s

Holy three-week hiatus, Batman. Who knew there was life outside the internet? I kid. Ireland and holidays are fun while they last, but now I'm back at school and have returned to the swing of things, so let the pictures resume!

Here we have three strapping gals, obviously very full of life, taking a break from their Shanghai escapades on a bench in Taikang Lu.

Their feet look 'normal', as in unbound, which most likely means they were born sometime after the 1920s and puts them somwhere around 70 years old.

Really, this photo could have been taken at any point in the last ten or fifteen years, but that Starbucks mug on the table really adds that perfect anachronistic touch that so many pictures of Shanghai now hold, doesn't it?
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