Top swaps of the year

These two years have been eventful, exciting and sometimes frustrating. Going zero waste was certainly no glittering success. Despite my efforts to obtain as many items as possible in bulk, I still couldn’t avoid: bottles of oil and vinegar, coffee bags and jars of spices that I couldn’t find in bulk cat litter and food…

Vos Voix

A l’heure des élections et à deux mois de mon retour en France, je m’interroge sur le pays que je retrouverai, d’autant plus que je ramène quelqu’un (et un chat) avec moi. Je voulais prouver que nous valons mieux qu’un clivage caricatural, et c’est pour cette raison que j’ai fait appel à vos contributions pour…

Les paysans sous l’autoroute

Bien plus que les camionnettes, dans cette ville du sud de la Chine se démarquent les mobylettes et tricycles chargés de légumes dans leurs moindres recoins. Ils font l’intermédiaire entre les champs périurbains et les dizaines de marchés traditionnels dont Ningbo foisonne. Régulièrement, ils récupèrent aussi la modeste récolte des nombreux carrés cultivés autour du…

Eating in China.

Before coming to Beijing for the first time, I must say my Chinese food options in France were bleak. A lot of it was frozen, heated up in a blinking three minutes. I was ecstatic to find out that the real thing was, millions, millions of miles away from my previous experience, especially for a…

Refusing Waste in China

Refusing single-use products –straws, bags, bottles, cellophane, food boxes, paper napkins, paper/plastic cups, plastic cutlery, wrapped up goods- poses a couple of complications everywhere. I dodge the problem by shopping 95% of the time at the farmers market, where people know me and my motivations; the other 5% require a bit more patience, repetition and…

East, West and animals.

Last week I was talking to my 10th grade students about diets around the world. I asked them what questions that they could ask themselves in front of their plate, and obtained correct and obvious answers: Would it taste good? Would it be safe? Would it make me fat? Where did this food come from?…

Staying politically active

I’m very lucky to have a partner who listens to my political rants and discusses them. He faces that burden alone however. As my university circle is long gone and they’re all thousands of miles away, as my other expat friends are leaving the country one by one and the main interactions I have left…

Finding Food.

I used to think markets were a bourgeois gimmick, destined to adults in their forties with proper wages. Plus, dragging your caddie there chills your toes in the winter. Only a few years ago did I start going, listening to the advice of my experienced neighbor who enjoys a good culinary life without spending too…

The mechanics of smog.

Fall drags on with a late summer sweetness in Ningbo, until, in a matter of days, the winds arrive and they drop the temperature by ten degrees Celsius. October proved remarkable in its… misdoings. We failed in getting our oven repaired after the manufacturer failed to deliver the new parts twice. I painfully yielded to…

About shopping.

Till I was nine years old, it was generally my grandmother who brought us new clothes if she’d come to visit. Every time that big pile of pinkness arrived I gasped in wonder at the sudden quantity of newness. Shopping remained a very abstract concept my little mind couldn’t get the hang of. Then my…

My own Rocky Chinese Picture Show.

The legend goes that sometimes your boss screws you over and runs away with the money. Not common, but not unheard of either. Legend materialized for us. Twice. With two different bosses. It all began when our old manager flew away with all the school assets and the car last April. The bastard abandoned his…

About your razor.

I remember thinking for the first time, when I was around ten: “Now I’m mature enough to shave my legs!” I happily proceeded, then even more enthusiastically did one arm, before remembering my mother’s warning that the hair would grow back thicker deeper (thanks for the correction!) and stronger than before and that I’d just…