Saturday, November 16, 2013

China: Shenyang

I am in Shenyang after 3 flights that totaled 17 hours but the actual travel time from leaving home to arriving in Shenyang is closer to 21 hours and if I count from the time I got up in Winnipeg to the time I went to sleep in Shenyang, it was closer to 30 hours. I left Winnipeg on Thursday morning and arrived here on Friday night. I don't know if I lost a day or part of one but luckily, I'll make it up on my way back.

This trip is mostly work related but I plan to work hard while I am here so that I can spend a few days in Beijing at the end of the trip doing some sightseeing. I am at the Shenyang Institute of Engineering which is a partner college with Red River College. I'll be conducting a Quality Assurance Audit on three programs using a QA tool from another sources that I adapted and refined.

That's the work part that starts on Monday. For the last day and a half, I am I am trying to manage the 14 hour time difference. It's literally day and night. This jet lag thing is nothing to sneeze at and sneeze is what I am doing. As soon as I arrived in Beijing (my connecting point from China), I could smell the air and when you can see and smell the air, that is not a good thing. Shenyang has a similar air quality and there are lots of smokers in public places.

Yesterday Grace (who works at SIE and is kindly acting as my interpreter) and I went to a few of the local markets and we sampled some of the food. I had grilled squid on a stick (similar to a kebab) and it was very good and spicy and tasty!

 Dried chicken & duck

 Dehydrated fish and meat

 Black and gold sesame seed squares


 Street food grill

 Street food - grilled squid


 Sandra and Grace enjoying grilled squid on a stick

 Variety of nuts

 Faux (wax) ham and bacon

 Dried pig (or cow) heart; dried frogs

We went to a market that sells many kinds of flowers and plants and I have not seen so many beautiful and unusual orchids as I saw in this market. And fish. Every unusual variety that you can think of is sold here ranging in price from $1 to several hundred. Grace explained that many families have fish because they believe that if you have a fish, you will never go wanting.
All in all it was a very interesting and enlightening day. By 4pm I was pretty tired so I went back to my apartment on campus and Grace ordered room service for me so I wouldn't have to go out again for dinner.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Finally, my book is released!

I have been working on this major project for about a year and finally I am rewarded with a the final product - my book titled: In Search of the Blue Lotus.
In Search of the Blue Lotus cover
I am always up for learning new things and self-publishing was no different - that is, it's about continuing to learn. But it's not like anything I've done before. It's not like preparing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It's not like deciding to do a PhD while taking care of my terminally ill Dad. It's not like inventing a new recipe or modifying/altering some recipes so that they become mine. It's not like teaching myself to sew.
It's about putting my life on paper in a way that might be interesting to others while staying true to myself. It's about deciding what to tell and what to leave out. It's about not wanting to offend anyone but needing to tell my story in the most authentic way. It's about preparing myself emotionally for what may come next and opening myself up to judgement.  It's about continuing to live my life while learning more lessons along the way. it's about trying to make a difference. It's about honouring my ancestors who went to Guyana and lived in very difficult circumstances so that their future generations might have a better life. And it's about having a better life and leaving a legacy for my children and grandchildren so they might have an even better life.
If you would like an autographed copy, please contact me at and please feel free to share it with others who may be interested (immigrants, women, social justice, race relations, post-colonial politics, creative non-fiction, storytelling, critical pedagogy).