An American Abroad

An American Abroad

The first signs of autumn are always so striking. There’s a certain chill in the crisp apple-cider smell of the Fall air and, to me, a certain New England charm in keeping the windows opened at night.

And so, as the Shanghai seasons change, I also feel that it’s time for a bit of change. Lately, I haven’t been happy with much of what I’ve been writing. It feels as if I am rehashing the same emotions, the same conflicts, the same unrest over living abroad – and this space has become a place where I am setting myself back, rather than living my life on its pages.

I’ve struggled before with the idea of whether my blog is a ‘travel blog’ or a ‘personal blog’ or a ‘food blog’, without really ever settling on one (or doing either of those things well). I love writing about the beautiful and strange way China makes me feel, yet to be honest, after two years, the rawness of the culture shock is no longer there, and I feel that I am having a difficult time describing the intensity and the hyperrealism of everyday life in Shanghai. It no longer shocks me to frantically scooter away from policemen as I weave in and out of traffic on my way to work, to dip tofu skin in medicinal hotpot with jujubes and white fungus, or to barter for bowls with my pottery man down the block. And yet, despite losing that rawness, I don’t want to lose the passion to write about what I love.

This blog has been a representation of myself, but only a single side of myself, which made this space feel incomplete. I want to make this space whole. Honestly, I’m not exactly sure how my blog will evolve, but I know that I want to focus more on daily life in China, the things I see, as well as the things I cook. This is not a transformation into a ‘food blog’, just a shift towards a space that makes me calm and a space that has defined so much of my time here in China.

I’m still finding my voice and my audience, and I can only hope that what I’m doing next will be a true representation of not just what I want to shout out into the void of the internet, but to myself, as well.




4 thoughts on “An American Abroad”

  • Mt blogging is mostly behind me (for now) but I did come to a point where I re-evaluated what it was. And what it wasn’t. I used to do many different types of posts from fantastical nonsense, to photos, to the “proper” stuff I try to write about now. It has served me well as I’ve sifted and pulped them and I now have over a hundred thousand words for what I claim is a book. I’ve been through the first draft – read my own book – and it just needs a bit of finishing off. So we have to write what comes out and what feels important to ourselves.

    Good luck! As someone who also gave up their job, for similar reasons to you, I do feel that you’re better positioned in life to succeed in what you want.

    • I’m looking forward to reading your book when it comes out!

      I think for me, it’s hard to maintain a consistent tone without feeling like I am growing too distant from my writing or exposing myself too much online, so that will be something I work on from now on

      • I assume you mean exposing yourself to people who know you. There are different types of internet identity, with some people being very open about who they are to the more anonymous at the other end of the scale, and I chose the latter because I wanted to write freely about personal things (exposing myself?) but without people I knew reading it because then I’d be guarded about what I wrote.

        It has served me well. I even didn’t use a photo for many years.

        • Yeah! I was very surprised to find that you posted a photo a little while back.

          I think you’re right. It goes both ways. What I was worried about was only showing one aspect of my persona on the internet and asking myself why that was the side I was comfortable sharing as opposed to others

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