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Me! Featured in Ephemera and Detritus!

I’ve been following A Totally Impractical Guide to LIving in Shanghai, also known as Ephemera and Detritus, a fabulous, eclectic and highly personal Shanghai blog written by perpetual traveller MaryAnne Oxendale, for quite some time. She’s a great writer who manages to capture the highs and lows, and the swings in between, of Shanghai life in all its manifestations. So imagine my surprise and excitement when she asked if I would be interviewed for her current series on life as an expat, warts and all. 

Expat life, exciting as it might seem to those at home, isn’t all beer and skittles, when you consider the isolation, dislocation and loneliness, not to mention a lack of lamingtons and Cherry Ripes. Being a perpetual foreigner, being perpetually misunderstood, and being an outsider in someone else’s country can be a difficult place to be.

The interview was difficult to do, mostly because it forced me to really deeply evaluate why I’m still here in China, fully fifteen months after I should have gone home. I have a small twice weekly crisis about whether China is the best place for us to continue to live, for lots of reasons – the pollution, the internet censorship, the Nobel Peace Prize winner in prison (now there’s a combination of words likely to get the censors excited) and so on. In the main, it’s an incredible place, whose people, culture and food (ah..the food!) I love…but….but….the niggling doubts are always there. 

You can read the full and frank interview here.

  • MaryAnne

    Oh, Fiona, thank YOU for doing the interview! I think I related to your answers the most of all of the ones I read, possibly because we both live in this city, possibly because we're quite similar on many deeper levels. I think if I'd been in your situation (i.e. not being able to work and still dealing with Shanghai with a lot of free time staring me in the face) I'd have done the same. I think you've done very well with what you've been dealt. I'm up for regular coffees if you are!

  • Liz Mollica

    Hi Fiona! Great interview, and nice to find another great bolg from MaryAnne.
    I had no idea you were out on another adventure – 3 weeks phew! Your 3 day hike wore me out!Good luck with the rest. See you soon.

  • Fiona

    Thanks Liz, and thanks maryanne! Even though they grow coffee in Yunnan, I am growing desperate for a really good flat white. See you back in Shanghai!

  • Louise

    Such well deserved recognition. I think your dreams of a book on chinese food and eating is more than possible. Or a memoir about moving to China? There are 6,000 published each year about moving to Paris or Italy it seems, why not one about Shanghai?

  • Fiona

    Now there's a thought. A Year in Shanghai. Under the Shanghai…er…Smog. Au Revoir Shanghai. Almost French…Concession. I think you might be on to something!