Being Above Ground in Fujian: A Travelogue


Very unique. Not like being above ground in other places.

DAY ONE: took the metro to the far corner of Shanghai to fly SHA>>XMN. Just the journey to the airport itself took nearly two hours. Shangers is ridiculously large. Man sitting opposite me clipped his fingernails directly onto the floor. As one does on the subway.

Flight was comfortable, minimal amounts of stares directed at the tall white person sitting 24C.

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Seven Treasures of Qibao, Shanghai


Where do I even start with this one?

The aptly named 七宝镇//Qi1bao3 Zhen4 (lit. Seven Treasures Town) is an absolute must-see. Shanghai’s closest water town isn’t just that. It’s a snack food paradise and a barbecue lover’s fantasy, a photographer’s dream, an architectural wonder, a relic of ancient China.

Qibao is by far Shanghai’s coolest water town. Wandering through the Old Street will take you the day if you plan it right, but I strongly suggest throwing out those plans. Most likely, you’ll be enticed by every other storefront selling Chinese-style sweets. Don’t stress about it too much. The sooner you accept the fact that you’ll have to make multiple trips to Qibao to truly be “done,” the sooner you get try that curious-looking meat on a stick.

Speaking of which…

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The South African Media Waltz: My Favorite Four Steps


Studying communications at California Lutheran University has prepared me to be media literate.

I learned the dance and tricks of advertising and marketing firms in America and could withstand the wooing of brands claiming to give me everything I want with a simple swipe of a credit card. After being taught the dance, and the importance of not falling for the romance of marketed desire and greed, I have come to love my new dance partner: South African media.

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10 Key Lessons Learned in Shanghai


Within the span of two months, I’ve transformed into a local.

The only differences are the shock of blonde hair, physical stature and skin tone, and the curious habit of speaking in English interspersed with mispronounced Mandarin.

Alright, so maybe I’m not a local. But I like to think that I’ve adapted relatively well! At any rate, I’ve experienced quite a bit since my wide-eyed arrival.

Here are 10 lessons learned in the mega-city of Shanghai:

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Gambling on an Experience


When I found the position with the ELCA as a global missionary I almost lost my breath in disbelief that such a job would exist.

The description was exactly what I had studied as an undergrad at CLU. The job was in one of my favorite countries I visited when I studied abroad with SAS. The organization was through a church that I am proud to be a part of. It was a dream job.

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Middle School Nostalgia as a Foreigner


Coming from a small town, being on display is nothing new to me.

It seems that everyone else is secure in who they are to the outside world. They know their place, where they are, and what it means to be South African. I’m still discovering what it means to be American, and yet I’m not just on display, but I’m also a window into the USA.

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