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Marcos Calo Medina

hey i still have my identification cards dated 1988!!! and i thought i was the only one crazy enough to have kept those things...


Hey Marc - is your photo as embarassing as mine? ;-)

KF Chan

Love that cool photo. Is that the Chairman behind you? Well, one thing for sure... good food awaits you there. I heard vegetables in China is particularly fresh and sweet.

Nate @ House of Annie

I've been to China 3 times, for relatively short trips compared to yours. But I must say that China was life-changing for me as well.

And I do hope to return someday. Maybe for even longer than a little while. Though I'd probably stay away from the big metro areas as much as possible.

Have fun!


Good luck reconnecting with another 'home' of yours. Our relationship with our homes (whether chosen or inherited) are always complex, and I hope your return will be rewarding. And please tell me you still have that Mickey and Minnie tee. -X


Hi Robyn. This is such a great post ! I've saved it for future reading.


Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. You guys were clearly the coolest thing in China. I can't believe you still wear that t-shirt.

Katy Biggs

Didn't you look like Signourney Weaver on that photo?(and take it as a compliment!)

Sorry, I just find it r-e-a-l-l-y funny you had that Mickey/Minnie t-shirt with Chairman Mao behind you! Classic! Can't see what's written on Dave's nothing 'offensive' I guess!

There is always a difference between visiting (short trip) and living in one place. In the former, you stick to the positives and ignore the rest, knowing that you don't need to stay around to put up with the disappointments and miseries - so the memory is usually a fond one. And let's hope this is true to your Chengdu trip too!

You might want to tell KF Chan why the vegetables in China is particularly fresh and sweet??


hi.. i m new here, my name is claire and i m from malaysia.. couldnt help coming here when i read the post title chengde. Been there once a couple of years ago to visit the summer palace... so i tot i would be seeing some pics of chengde here... :)

Katy Biggs

Actually, Signourney Weaver and (beard) Eric Bana in front of Mao... Cool!


wow, cool black n white pics:-)


Never been to Chengdu but completely understand the "Chengdu turning points" in life that you mentioned. Have a safe trip - I'm sure it'll be fantastic and can't wait to read all about it! Cheers.


That is an amazing, hilarious picture. You two were adorable! So cute.

Wishing you a fantastic trip.

Rasa Malaysia

Robyn - I looove loooove this post, and reading through your emotions and love/hate relationships and the oh-so-nostalgic years of when Dave and Robyn met. :)

I love the old picture of you two, too. I am so glad you are going back to Chengdu. Have a great trip there and can't wait for your complete report on the street food (I am sure they are great and I probably went to the wrong places). I loved the 麻辣火锅, it was really so good, and the 棒棒鸡,and all the Sichuan dishes.


Robyn, what a heartfelt and insightful post! I read EatingAsia religiously and this has to be one of my favourites. I've never been to Chengdu but a very dear friend of mine studied there in the early-90's (in fact her future husband is mentioned in Fuschia Dunlop's excellent memoir 'Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper'). It was a life-changing experience for her too - and not just because of aforementioned husband. I'd love to go but feel that the city that she described has all but vanished. Still, can't wait to read your posts...



I wish you all the best and hope all your dreams come true!

Happy New Year!


What a great post. How exciting that you are going back to Chengdu, i will have to take note of where you eat as we hope to get there in the next 2 years.


wow, reads like a synopsis for a biography with a China background. Love it.

Breckany Eckhardt

I love this post, Robyn. I am at a crossroads in my life with my career and many other areas of my life right now and this passage reminded me that life is like a river.

Your writing is nothing less than captivating.

Love, your niece,

Steve Jackson

Hadn't read this before. An absolutely gorgeous bit of writing.

Off to an interview in a couple of weeks in Ningbo, a couple of hours from Shanghai. Working for a British University and living on campus. After a Hanoi there's a large part of me that'd be happy to be able to enjoy the open spaces of campus living. It'd be tempting to just lock out China altogether. We'll see. At 41, and I've been delaying this, it's time to do things for career, cash and savings reasons. All the pictures I see of Ningbo are blue skied but perhaps they just waited.


Hi Steve -- I could never imagine living in China again but I would never tell someone they shouldn't consider it. I loved our first year in Shanghai, till it wore me down. But it all has alot to do with your job (mine put me in daily contact with bureacratic jackasses, which didn't help). I loved being on a university campus in Chengdu (granted, a long time ago and Chinese univ. students are no longer quite as innocent). If nothing else China is interesting, always fascinating. You may fall in love with it, many folks do and stay forever and ever. Or you may want out in two years but so what if you did? If you go voluntarily I would wager it would take a year for the shine to wear off, if it ever did. Why not give it a try if the job and conditions suit?

Steve Jackson

Small matter of getting the job first but - we'd probably go. Another small matter of my wife being brought up to think China is the enemy (by the state, not her parents). If I get the job and the sums add up then I'd go. I always fancied working in a University. By the way, we loved Penang on a recent visit. Very livable.

Re the job - it's a marketing & communications gig - maybe it's the Hanoi influence but the social media clampdown there only makes it more fascinating.

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