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The Usual, Please

In The Art of Travel, 12. Strangers, Shanghai by Irina1 Comment

Drinking coffee is a large part of my morning ritual. When I first arrived in Shanghai, I knew that it would be important to find a place near school to grab a quick cup. Luckily, the NYU Shanghai campus has both a 7/11 and a Family Mart(a popular Chinese convenience store chain) that offer super cheap Americanos. I don’t remember …

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The Climb of My Life

In The Art of Travel, 11. Travails, Shanghai by Irina1 Comment

My trip to Huangshan Mountain last weekend was amazing- full of nature and short on mishaps- until I got food poisoning. Our journey to the scenic park was planned in a blur. Realizing that few free weekends remained, my boyfriend and I decided last Tuesday to book our train tickets. Our tickets were for Thursday evening and we would leave …

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Fried Eggs With Chopsticks

In The Art of Travel, 10. Books (2), Shanghai by Irina1 Comment

Polly Evans’ Fried Eggs with Chopsticks is a hilariously relatable account of her trials and travels in China. Her ambitious itinerary starts in Beijing, goes through several smaller rural towns to arrive in Xi An, then continues to more cities to get to Shanghai, and many more after that to arrive in Hong Kong, her final destination. It is a …

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Flies & Fields at the Power Station of Art

In The Art of Travel, 9. Art & Place, Shanghai by Irina1 Comment

Upon entering the Power Station of Art, I was greeted by a huge swarm of insects. These insects were large sculptures, hung from museum’s high ceilings. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that they were actually half-human, half-insect. These hybridized creatures were grotesque- they had the torso and legs of a human but the head and wings of a dragonfly …

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Just Keep Swimming

In The Art of Travel, 8. Bubble, Shanghai by Irina1 Comment

In Pixar’s Finding Nemo, all of the sea creatures live happily on the coral reef, never daring to swim into open waters. Nemo is the only one brave enough to swim up to the boat and thus wins a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Sydney, Australia. I feel that NYU Shanghai has become like the coral reef for me- a safety net …

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The Power of Collectivism

In The Art of Travel, 6. Book #1, Shanghai by Irina2 Comments

I sense that the common theme in Jack Livings’ short story collection, The Dog, is the power of collectivism in Chinese society. The various protagonists in his stories deal with the pressures and expectations of belonging in a community or family. The concept of “saving face” plays a large part in these stories as characters’ thoughts seem to contradict their …

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The Cat of Century Ave

In The Art of Travel, 4. The Spirit of Place, Shanghai by Irina1 Comment

In the hedge that separates NYU Shanghai from its office building neighbor lives a little cat. I’ve seen this cat a couple of times while passing through to enter the building’s hidden 7/11 convenience store but only recently started sitting down and petting it. I’ve often seen her basking in the sun, enjoying the attention of NYU students and office …

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Revisiting the Familiar

In The Art of Travel, 1. Introductions, Shanghai by Irina1 Comment

Returning to study at NYU Shanghai for a second time is like going back in time and refreshing the mind, allowing certain memories that might otherwise be left forgotten and buried under the heaps of junk stored in our brains resurface once more. When one returns home from a trip, it is easy to recall the highlights and adventures, often …