Life on the Move: Winter 2015

The first two months of the year saw me on three continents … and it’s taken till the fourth to write about it.

I love monthly recaps and it’s atrocious that this one’s a quarterly — but let’s make up for it with snappy photos and snappier text. It’s a speed round!

Here we go: the highs, lows, and alllll the travel from the last three months:


Bondi sunrise by Expat Edna BBQ on the balcony, Sydney by Expat Edna Outside the Opera House, Sydney by Expat Edna Flying over Sydney by Expat Edna

Sydney: Starting off the year with a coastal walk along Bondi, a barbie on the balcony, beach sunrises, and general frolicking in the Australian capital.

Elementary school dance, Longyou by Expat Edna

Longyou: From sunny Oz to rural China to film a video for work. It was freezing, but at least the kids were cooperative and cute (this is a choreographed dance they do every day after school).

Lamma Island, Hong Kong by Expat Edna Lamma Island Hong Kong by Expat Edna Lamma Island boats at sunset, Hong Kong by Expat Edna The Peak climb, Hong Kong by Expat Edna

Hong Kong: There was a week in January so distressing, Joe took me to Hong Kong for a much-appreciated weekend away in nature, to see friends and clear my head.

Xi'an at noon by Expat Edna Xi'an Warriors by Expat Edna Xi'an Muslim street by Expat Edna Xi'an with Lost Plate Food Tours by Expat Edna

Xi’an: But Hong Kong wasn’t a total cure. So the following weekend we flew to Xi’an to visit my good friend Brian, and test out his new food tour company. (It’s really solid, guys.)

That was January.

Venice on Valentine's Day by Expat Edna Venice cheese welcome by Expat Edna Venice through the bridge by Expat Edna

Venice: I arrived in Venice on February 14, and was promptly greeted by ham and spritzes and TRUFFLE CHEESE and a second year of celebrating Carnevale wtih friends. Best Valentine’s Day evar.

Chinese New Year champagne and oysters in Paris by Expat Edna Galeries Lafayette terrasse in Paris by Expat Edna Chinese New Year in Paris by Expat Edna Ferrandi tarte au citron by Alexis Faughn, Paris by Expat Edna Bartenders Piotr of Little Red Door and Dmitry of Candelaria, Paris by Expat Edna

Paris: After nearly a year away, we came home and felt like nothing had changed.

We stayed on the island, of course, across the street from our old apartment. We went to potlucks at Sara and Michael‘s and spent late nights at Red House with all our bartender friends (that’s Piotr from Little Red Door and Dimitry from Candelaria having a bartender battle above).

We celebrated Chinese New Year with a champagne picnic on the balcony — and again with Sara and friends at a Chinese restaurant in the 13eme, just like our old dim sum days. We ate six dozen oysters in nine days.

That was February.

Old China in a Beijing airbnb by Expat Edna Beijing nights by Expat Edna Edna and Joe in Beijing by Expat Edna Beijing blossoms by Expat Edna

Beijing: My first Literature Festival appearance doubled as Joe’s first trip to Beijing. We found the coolest airbnb in the Diplomatic Compound and enjoyed the spring blossoms. Hey, Beijing’s not so bad in the spring.


Shanghai by night from Hotel Indigo by Expat Edna Year of the Sheep party at Hotel Indigo by Expat Edna Costume party at Hotel Indigo by Expat Edna

Chinese New Year: In China, the big holiday shindig isn’t Christmas, but Lunar New Year. Our company took over the Hotel Indigo bar and saw in the Year of the Sheep with a masquerade party. I even won one of the raffle prizes, an ¥800 public transpo card (about $130, or enough that I won’t have to pay for the metro/taxis for at least six months)!

Polaroid cocktail party by Expat EdnaBirthday hat party at Pistolera Shanghai by Expat EdnaFather Ted night by Expat Edna

Shanghai: Cocktails & Polaroids night (the host provided the booze, we provided the recipes); a Colombian hats-required birthday party, and Father Ted night with the Gaelic team — all made the Shanghai winter a little more bearable.


Shanghai winter by Expat Edna

I’d be remiss to talk about all of the highlights and not mention that in January, my uncle P died.

He still lived in the Shanghai apartment I grew up in as a child (my grandmother’s); the apartment one block away from the office, where I would stop by for lunch or dinner or a nap. I was so used to him always being there — for 25 years, so close by — that when he fell ill and passed a month later, it was a shock to the system that he would no longer be there.

I took the photo above after coming back from his funeral (a small comfort that I was in town and able to attend, unlike the rest of my family in Pennsylvania). It was strange to see life on our street continuing as normal when one of the neighborhood’s oldest residents was no longer there. Shanghai can be a beast.

The past three months have been full of spontaneity and change — but the next three will have even more. Stay tuned.

How has your year been so far? Does anyone else feel like the year is already flying by?

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  1. I was so sorry to hear about your lowlight when it happened and was sad to be reminded of it again. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to say goodbye to your uncle, but definitely a silver lining that you were in town and could attend the funeral rather than grieving an ocean away.

    Lowlight aside, it looks like your 2015 is off to an awesome start! I’m very impressed with all the traveling you’ve managed thus far, and even more so that you manage to make Beijing—possibly my least favorite city/place on the planet—look appealing. Damn girl, you good! ;)

    • Thanks Steph, and that’s a huge compliment coming from you – I know how much you guys did not enjoy Beijing! I keep telling you, you have to come back to China with me sometime…

  2. Sounds like a solid 3 months!
    BTW, Is that guy throwing noodles?!

  3. Wow, what a winter you’ve had! I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your uncle. I’m glad you were able to attend the services and have closure in that way – sending you lots of love during this tough time. Your travels look amazing! Oh that truffle cheese – how wonderful our time in Venice was! And I love all your Paris photos! I’m so glad we got to catch up and hang out! And thanks for taking us out for Chinese food in Paris when you can get it usually every day :-) Winter was brighter because we got to see you!!

    • Thank you Sara!! It was so wonderful to see you in Venice AND Paris AND attend your dinner party and celebrate Chinese New Year with the gang! You guys made my month in so many ways :)

  4. Wow! You are so lucky! Great places, great pictures.

    My current dream is Paris.. It has been a while since the last time I was there and I start suffering from Europe-sickness. I think I am getting a bit tired of Asia (for now). Good news I am relocating back to Europe this summer! Yay! I will definitely visit Paris as soon as I can ;)

    • I feel the same way! I feel like I’m ‘over’ Asia and can’t wait to head back to Europe this summer. Maybe we’ll cross paths in Paris!

  5. Looks like quite an eventful few months. You still need a trip over to Taiwan. Sorry about your uncle.

  6. Stop hating life so much, love! :)

    Let’s Skype later this week. I’ll email you. Bis.

  7. Edna! So lovely to see you back! Very sorry to hear about your sad news though – but I’m happy that you were able to attend the end of life celebration. Hope to hear more from you soon my love! x

  8. What an adventure! I’m living in Shanghai right now – it’s an amazing city!

    I am dreadfully sorry about your Uncle P. My condolences.

    • Thanks Eileen. And thanks for commenting, I love discovering other expats near me!

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss. The city much seem so much emptier now. I’m also sorry to have missed you in Paris! But hopefully one of these days our paths will cross.

    How did the lit fest speech go??

    • Thanks. It does get quite empty in the winter, it’s too cold to stay outside! The Lit Fest went SO wonderfully — will be writing about it soon!

  10. I love your wrap-up posts. You’re always on the go. And, god, you really make China seem so gorgeous. I’m trying to think of what to do for next winter vacation and really want to stick to somewhere quite close. I’m definitely going to be hitting you up recommendations in the next few months.

  11. I’m so sorry for your loss Edna. xox

  12. Your year is going in true Edna greatness. I wish losing a loved one wasn’t part of it, but I understand the feeling of looking around and realizing that the world goes on even when you’re hurting. I wish you both always the best!! Thank you for your kind words on my blog as well. I hope you know how much they mean to me!