Sanduny and the Temperature-Controlling Hats

The entrance hall of the Sanduny Bath House, Moscow’s oldest and most impressive banya, is ornate and heavy with patterns. I stand under the archways trimmed in blue and gold, the gold detailing snaking its way across the ceilings in curlicues, forming kaleidoscopic patterns under the dome. The floor underneath my dirty, snow-caked sneakers is…

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Florist Gump

On our first morning in Moscow, Lila and I are left to our own devices because Julien is in Siberia for the week. We have zero food and zero utensils in the apartment, and no clue where to get them. “Maybe… we order?” Lila suggests timidly, wringing her hands, the habit of Shanghai’s utterly convenient,…

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Terracotta Warriors, and Meat on Sticks

The January air is thick and heavy with pollution in Xi’an. A pale orange mushroom hovers over the city, lights from nearby buildings diffused by the haze. Each breath feels so… unhealthy, dirty. We walk around the Ancient City, visiting the pagoda, the bell tower. It’s too cold and too polluted to stay out long. …

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The Moscow Files: Apartment Hunting

We land in Moscow for our voyage de reconnaissance, the obligatory 10-day trip arranged by Jul’s company to our next posting before the actual relocation, meant for scoping out schools, choosing a district to live in, visiting potential apartments, and whatnot. It is 10 days before Christmas, and about 18 degrees lower than Shanghai. Julien…

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From A Great Height

The Shanghai World Financial Center is the second tallest building in the world. I can see it from my balcony, this huge bottle-opener-shaped monstrosity, just a block away. I can’t help imagining natural disasters toppling it over each time I look up at it – it’s so big, we all seem so helpless and tiny…

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Temple Run

It is sweltering hot in Siem Reap in May. Probably not the best time to visit Cambodia, but we make do with the vacation days we have. There is a lot I can personally relate to in this country – the tuktuks, the climate, the physicalities. The food, which is rich and soupy and toned…

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A Car’s Long Weekend Escapade

What’s the biggest thing you’ve ever lost? My answer would be: a car. Okay, I didn’t actually lose it, it was stolen. From our private underground parking lot. Private “securisé” underground parking lot, the one that has two remote control-operated gates. Paris during the school holidays is pretty quiet, so I figured the car thieves thought, let’s hit…

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