Lunch (Thoughts of Shanghai)


Late lunch was xiaolongbao from the original spot on Wudong Lu.

Still didn’t take a picture — ate them all with dark rice vinegar (the Zhenjiang variety of legendary origin) before I could even pull out my smartphone.

Later that day I would take a taxi to Pudong with several large bags and check in for a red-eye flight direct to LAX. First, I’d eat these eight dumplings — minced pork mixed with spring onion and aspic set inside circular unleavened dough wrappers then folded and pinched shut — directly from the bamboo steamer. These were the same ones I tried after arriving in Shanghai last year: the ones with vinegar poured in the same saucers, red chili sauce served with the same tiny spoons.

Exactly eight dumplings; no more, no less.

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In One Month


A month of sights, meals, and places.

This past month of travel throughout China, Laos, Thailand, and Hong Kong was incredible. I find myself at a lack of words to describe how grateful I am for the opportunity to visit four stunningly diverse locations.

From city to desert to rivers, hills, and plains, much of what I saw and experienced still needs to be fully cogitated.

As such, writings over the coming weeks will focus on my recent travels. I will highlight some locations with full posts, and upload photo galleries for the rest. Having visited eleven cities, it will take a little while to complete. Thanks for your patience.

10 Key Lessons Learned in Shanghai


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

The only differences being the shock of blonde hair, physical stature taller than the norm, and 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 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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A Quick Thanks


Now that I’ve settled in and gotten my bearings, I can’t help but think about what it took to get here.

It took quite a bit of time, energy, paperwork, and a 14-hour flight to get me to this very spot. Not least of all, it took the efforts of professors, mentors, family, and friends to help me understand the role I want to fill in the world.

For that, I owe them quite a bit of gratitude.

So thanks for the honest truth. Thanks for being in my corner. Thanks for having a hand in all this — this predictably unpredictable journey. It was a twist of fate that spun the world under our feet exactly enough for us to coincide, and it will be another unfathomable turn of events that will cause us to reconvene.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.