Architectural Digestif

I’ve been waiting for Mila Kunis to appear on the cover of a magazine other than Cosmo or Nylon for the past…well, like three weeks really, but it’s felt like so much longer. Ever since I saw Black Swan I’ve been a bit obsessed, because we’re sort of the same person. How so, you ask?

1) A friend told me via Facebook that she and I are, “basically the same size.” I like to think “psychosexual ballerina” is a step up from “elf lord (children’s division)”, so I’m going with it.
2) We’re both brunettes.
3) We’re both funny and sexy; it’s too much, stop it!
4) We both have ethnic-sounding last names.

That’s one more than I thought we had in common when I started writing that list! The issue also has a profile on Nicolas Ghesquière that handily covers his entire career up until now, but I was most impressed with what I found in the back of the issue.
According to an article titled “Where In The World is David Adjaye?”, the architect is slated to break ground for his National Museum of African American History on the National Mall next year, with completion scheduled for 2015. As a person who lives in the shadow of a giant unfinished construction project, I have to wonder – will Adjaye’s vision come to fruition or run out of resources and funding? While living in China I noticed that big projects just don’t run out of money. Construction seems to have special funding from some deity who’s really keen on development in Asia and every major city feels as if it exists simultaneously in two worlds, one light years ahead of the other. Acutely modern design is apparent everywhere, on a more intimate scale at spaces like Beijing’s Green Tea House restaurant, where I dined and where months later designer Phillip Lim would celebrate his label’s fifth anniversary (do you like how I subtly drew that parallel between myself and an important, successful person?) and Philippe Starck’s swanky Lan Club, as well as the country’s well-known public buildings, such as the National Center for the Performing Arts, the CCTV broadcast building and, of course, the Bird’s Nest. That’s not to mention Shanghai’s famously futuristic skyline or Hong Kong’s contemporary icons of modern architecture. Taking it all in I couldn’t help but wonder, why do I feel as if New York hasn’t gotten a big budget update in the last half century? I can’t think of a U.S. city that has space for developing gorgeous new buildings on a whim (or one willing to relocate the poor to make space, as happened in China for the Olympic stadium as well as the World Expo.) The most interesting U.S. design project I’ve recently read about is a parking garage in Miami, of all things, so needless to say I’m rather “stoked” for this museum. Let’s all take up Buddhism in an effort to confuse the gods and try to siphon away some of that inexplicable funding…

The guy who designed this is coming to America!

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Kicking Back

I recorded another vlog, just for you! And you, and you, and you!

P.S. Yesterday was the Chinese New Year! AND it’s my animal sign year! Hooray for rabbit people. Click here to check out my time celebrating the holiday in Beijing last year (use the arrow at the bottom of the page to scroll through every day), and here to view a video of the intense fireworks action.

掰掰 Twenty-Ten!

I decided over the break that I should have a “farewell last year!” post, in the grand tradition of various ways to celebrate a new year. I realized that I only lived in the U.S. for two weeks of 2010! Crazy, huh? And I was out of the country for a grand total of 14 months, twelve in China and two in Europe. Woo! But now I’m back in school and…oh wait, that’s something else. But now I’m back at home and trying to find out what to do with my life. To celebrate, let’s take a trip down memory lane…
I landed in Qingdao, China on September 27th, 2009. This is a picture of the mountain that was right behind the first apartment I lived in (I know, “in which I lived,” so sue me).

Then there was my first trip to Beijing back in February ’10 for Chinese New Year…(to read through the entire trip, click the “Liveblogging Beijing: Day 2,” etc. links at the bottom of the post)

My trip to Hong Kong, a place I loved, but two of my friends came away unimpressed…

The start of my fashion editor career for Redstar…(and the middle…and the middle part 2…and the end)

The ups of teaching in China, and the downs

Hanging out with friends (I can’t find this post, haha oops…)

Hanging out in 青岛 (that’s Qingdao, fyi)…

My trip to Hangzhou

More fun in Qingdao and time spent with students

Going back to Beijing to visit the Great Wall

Seeing the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an…

And seeing pandas and the giant buddha in Chengdu…and, of course, seeing the Bund in Shanghai and visiting the World Expo there.

Yeah, so wow. That was a lot. I can’t really believe this year included visits to the Forbidden City and Summer Palace as well as contemporary architectural icon the National Center for Performing Arts (the egg-shaped building). Also climbing the Great Wall, seeing the Terracotta Warriors, clubbing in Shanghai and Berlin, shopping in Hong Kong and Florence, getting stupidly lost, learning basic Chinese, making friends all around the world…I did all this and…and I’m still completely dependent on my mom and dad. Joke! Well, I mean, not really, but I’m not as bitter as that sounds! In all seriousness, this past year, now that I look back on it, was pretty spectacular. As long-term followers know and as you can find out by clicking on the “downs of teaching in China” link, this was easily the most emotionally, psychologically and physically trying experience of my life. BUT…I have to say, I’m pretty sure it was all worth it. It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be. Blah blah blah “moral of the story.” Uplifting anecdote, emotions, tears, sunshine. Unicorns for everyone!

Haha, happy new year, everybody!

Three’s Not a Crowd, It’s a Posse

Agh! A post all the way from Shanghai. So delayed! Well anyway, this post is about me meeting up with two Asian bastions of bossness, Aron and Dennis from Lookbook. As soon as I knew I was going to be in the city I sent Aron a message in the hopes we could meet up for a coffee and talk about why he’s the coolest person I’ve never met (well, until I did meet him…er, would be meeting him…?) It turns out Dennis is his cousin and so the three of us met up to walk around the city and talk for a bit about style, China, and being chronically single. (I was the chronically single one. They were the ones who didn’t understand. I don’t know if explaining, “Ok, you know Tina Fey? Right, now you know the character she plays mocking herself, Liz Lemon? Yeah, there’s a starting point” would’ve helped…no 30 Rock in China.) Anyway, the first place they took me was this leather goods store that I’d actually stopped in the day before, Yamado. Yamado had some great stuff that I really wanted, but couldn’t afford. One bag in particular reminded me of this Prada number and made me all lustful inside. They had some other great travel accesories like camera cases and wallets…but I held off (Florence was right around the corner!) Aron and Dennis and I talked some more about what they do (Aron = student, Dennis = Interior designer…if I remember correctly?) and we probably talked about other style stuff but now I’m all emotional because I forget what. I wanted this to be like when Garance Dore interviews some gorgeous Parisian girl who’s like “I have all of Ali McGraw’s wardrobe from Love Story for some reason and I’m best friends with everyone sexy ever,” but instead, ha! It’s really not. I’m gonna go talk to some butter about this.

il Duomo!

 

The really big Dome cathedral thing that somebody famous designed and it's special!

 

inside the cathedral...

 

climbing up the EXTREMELY narrow staircase...463 steps total!

 

on a window...

 

and from the rooftop! bellissima!

 

Blargh!!!!

I hate WordPress right now. My posts have all these weird spaces in them and they’re not uploading correctly and everything is confusing and makes me AngrY so I figured I’d do something reasonable and write this run-on sentence plus start a tumblr. I don’t even know what tumblr really is or how to use it, but there you have it. I don’t know how these two will work together, but I seem drawn to dividing myself. Maybe I’ll be mad at one and use the other and vice versa, just like all healthy relationships. Maybe this is why I’m chronically single?

There Has a Giant Buddha?

the big guy...in the flesh...sort of...

look how tiny all the people are!

now you know I was really there (can you tell I was really there?)

As I said before, the line to see this guy was insane and the actual enjoyment/transcendence derived from being finally in his presence didn’t quite measure up. After I took in all of his glory I made my way out of the park (I’d thought to myself going in, “Oh, I’ll just pass back through all of these little temples and whatnots on my way out”). Little did I know I’d have barely the energy to hold myself up afterwards. I downed a bottle of iced tea and made my way towards the exit, defying hassling taxi drivers who insisted they should drive me back to Chengdu and that really they offered a reasonable price for the service (not). I asked a woman where the bus stop was and after she told me (I understood her pointing) I made my way valiantly and independently back to where I’d been dropped off earlier that morning. I couldn’t figure out if I’d purchased my return trip ticket, so luckily two girls who spoke English helped me figure out where I was going and what I needed to do. We took the bus back to the bus depot and let me tell you – I have never been on so packed a vehicle. I was literally squashed up against some stranger half the ride. Fun! They said it was a happy coincidence (I forget the exact words by now) that we ran into each other – for me it damn sure was, otherwise I’d have had no idea what to do, for them I guess it was because I’m all hot and stuff. From the depot they helped me get myself back to Chengdu without going insane or failing at anything, so thanks (um, Melissa?) and (I think Cindy?)!

me and my friends for the afternoon!

Waiting in Line to See The Grand Buddha, Chengdu

I have a few pictures from waiting in line for the giant buddha (since that was almost six hours of my life) so I figured I’d devote a short post to some scenes from what can best be described as an “artless clusterf*@#”.

the line was more of a mass of people who weren't super concerned about you not dying

isn't this just so sweet?

but also, lady gaga was in line with us, so that was cool.

then we rounded the corner and saw this second part of the line...