A big thank you to all the writers. More than 250 snapshots have been written from the interview reports.


What is Sharon pondering in the photo above? An interview, of course, that she is transforming into a snapshot in English!

Last month we shared work from the French & Chinese writing groups. Here we share some of the wonderful output from our English group. Phase 2 is wrapping up this month, and we will soon be moving on to Phase 3 – editing. Our group of editors is eagerly awaiting the challenge.

My name is Chris and I just let my girlfriend of five years walk away from me. We dated when she was studying abroad. I followed her back to China. I was just starting with a job then, I did not have a lot of money. Her parents wanted the whole shebang — the apartment, the car, the big salary, the glamorous life for their daughter, probably married to a Chinese man. I am not that guy. Her mother was ill with cancer and she just wanted to see her daughter married. So my girlfriend said: marry me by October 1st or I leave. And I let her. I let her leave.

My name is Michael.

One of the things that I learned when I was travelling around so much was how to pack a bag. I became an expert at packing: how to get the bag balanced, organizing and compartmentalizing the contents, keeping the dirty and clean clothes separate, the stuff I need on top, the rarely used stuff on the bottom, smaller bags inside the bigger bags.

This is the way I manage my life: the impression that I want others to have is on top for easy access, the true me hidden all the way down. My home life balanced with my work life on either side.

And then there is the dirty laundry…. So much of it.

My name is Eva. On my first time in Shanghai, I got depressed. I managed to make one good friend, who eventually left Shanghai. I hung out with men who just wanted to get laid. I lost my job. I thought the problem was Shanghai. Jobless, I went back home to my mom’s. She gave it to me straight. She said, “You are a wreck, you let yourself go, you drink and smoke too much, you are a loser. The problem isn’t Shanghai, it’s you.” I looked around me and realized that everything is so orderly, and everyone has got their shit together. I wanted that too. So I went back to Shanghai. Here is my battleground and I am going to claim my victory and get myself a picture-perfect life!
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