Slightly delayed due to an epic cold (now better)/holiday laziness ... ▪ Happy New Year! Like nearly everyone else I know, I am glad to see 2016 disappearing in the rearview mirror; as it was for so many other people, for me it was a year of change and disruption, expectation and disappointment. Not everything … Continue reading Weekly Wanderings: Out with the Old, In with the New Edition
▪ I spent last Tuesday and Wednesday visiting Penn State, where history professors David Atwill and Kate Merkel-Hess (a fellow UCI History graduate) had invited me to talk with their grad students about getting a PhD and then going into a non-academic career. I also gave a presentation on the Zhang Leping biography that I’ve … Continue reading Weekly Wanderings: Nittany Lions Edition
“The Cemetery Gift Shop Is Open” wasn’t the first thing I expected to see as my mother, brother, and I approached the main office at Laurel Hill Cemetery last Saturday morning. A gift shop at a cemetery? But indeed, we walked into the room and found a small store selling books and postcards of historic … Continue reading The Hot Spots and Storied Plots of Laurel Hill Cemetery
I’ve written here before about how much I love suburban Philadelphia’s Longwood Gardens: the park is beautiful, it’s elegant, it’s timeless. My grandparents took my mother and her sisters there, just as my mother took my brother and me there when we were little, and while some elements changed in little ways over the decades, … Continue reading Nightscape at Longwood Gardens
“No pictures on the scorecard” is one of my father’s favorite expressions. It comes from golf and (as I understand it) basically means that people only see end results, without knowing how you arrived at them. He usually invokes the phrase when someone tries to dismiss an accomplishment as easier than it sounds. (Because a … Continue reading No Pictures on the Scorecard
My mother and I celebrated her birthday a month early with a trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show on Saturday afternoon. This year’s Flower Show theme is “Celebrate the Movies,” so the entrance is done up as a movie premiere, with a marquee and red carpet—and the smell of popcorn wafting through the air. Disney … Continue reading Lights! Camera! Flowers!
Remember how I swore I was in for the winter and had no plans to go anywhere as long as the mid-Atlantic region was doing its North Pole imitation? Well, as Mary Poppins would say, that was a piecrust promise (“easily made, easily broken”), because my mother, brother, and I decided to go to Longwood … Continue reading A Longwood Christmas
A lot of first-time visitors to China exclaim to me that they’re astounded to see so many familiar American chain restaurants. You can find McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Starbucks in all but the smallest cities (and even those will almost certainly have a KFC), but the country’s first-tier megalopolises (Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou) offer … Continue reading A Cold, Creamy Taste of Home