Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?
I live in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the UAE, but whenever anyone hears me say “Abu Dhabi,” the association is immediately Dubai, the “big city” to the north of us. (Yes, Abu Dhabi is where the second “Sex in the City” movie was supposedly set…but it was filmed in Morocco!)
No, I’m not from here. I grew up in Illinois, went to college in Boston and lived there for a few years, and moved to Manhattan in 1988 to get my doctorate. I intended to live in New York only until I finished my degree…but I never left! So I think now I’m officially a “New Yorker” who moved to Abu Dhabi in 2011. My husband and I teach at New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, which is a four-year college that just started last fall (2010), so it’s a brand-new project and very exciting.
What language(s) do you speak?
I speak English. And faux-French (which is to say French with such a bad accent and such poor grammar that my French brother-in-law almost winces every time I open my mouth). My kids are learning Arabic (more…)
Photo of the author and her father at the Great Wall of China in November.
I landed in China after a thirteen hour non-stop flight from Chicago, feeling elated, excited, tired and uncertain about what to expect. I had been to Asia before with a visit last year to India and Nepal and trip to Japan years ago.
I’ve found these countries fascinating, yet, for some reason, I was unsure what my expectations would be of China. I had heard a lot about it both, good and bad. It was time for me to experience it for myself.
I knew there would be tons of amazing history and culture to see. Not many other places in the world can boast about having a 5,000 year-old civilization. Yet, I also read it would be crowded, polluted, controlled, different, and, perhaps, confusing, given the huge paradox between the old and the new.
As I got off the plane and entered Beijing’s new Terminal 3, one of the largest terminals in the world that was completed just before the 2008 Olympics, my eyes widened. It was so huge, so modern, and so clean. It caught me by surprise. (more…)