Since 2012, I started an annual tradition to provide an update during the Chinese New Year as a way to record my journey of the past year, and share a private update with close friends.
Now I share it with you as a starting introduction of what I have done and where I have come from.
Hello my friends, bonjour mes amies, 朋友们你好！
Welcome 2012 and Happy Chinese New Year! Happy Year of the Dragon! 新年快乐!
Where ever you are now, I have taken a moment to think of you as I hand-selected your email address for this letter. I hope you don’t mind hearing from me, and I hope you will write back to say hello! I originally planned to write this letter in French and Chinese also, but I did not want to delay this message any longer….so here we go!
What a year has passed, filled with magical, serendipitous encounters and beautiful moments! In 2009 I spent half a year in France while visiting other European countries and Morocco. In 2010 I left San Francisco/Bay Area for Beijing, China – from where I am currently writing you this email. Now it’s 2012 already and I’m still here…my how time has flown by quickly.
Last year, my series of serendipitous encounters began with meeting Shirley, now one of my favorite people (also designer and architect) who visits in and out of Beijing, who sat next to me on our international flight on Hainan Airlines. On this same flight, I also met a whole crew of Hainan airline pilots-in-training – I hope you are doing well!
Upon returning from the United States to Beijing, China, I began my adventures working at The Hoffman Agency
after deciding to commit a few years in China to understand this emerging market, and fully submerge in Beijing, the capital city of China. In April, my friend Jack invited me to a party that he hosted at his beautiful courtyard/四合院 as part of the “April Club.” April Club was an organized series of creative parties hosted on every day of April, attended even by Eduardo Saverin, cofounder of Facebook, just one floor above my old apartment last year! At several of these evenings, I was lucky to meet Lijia, who is the author of “Socialism is Great!”, a past speaker on TEDxBeijing and has a popular blog
Summer was a continuation of gatherings. Among dinner parties and summer solstice evenings, many friends gathered on the rooftop of Yin Bar to have cocktails and admire the night scene of the bird’s eye view of the Forbidden City, Drum and Bell Tower… so on. There, I met Larry, a core member of MakeSense.org
, a group of problem solvers for social enterprises that I hope to continue supporting. Friends gathered on my birthday in The Yard, a few days after it opened, and shared cake and wine underneath a walnut tree in the courtyard.
On July 3rd, 2011, I acted as the event manager for the last event of the Year of Australian Culture
where musician Alan David Lee performed beautiful music with a violist and the International Festival Chorus Beijing
in a 600 year-old Confucian temple, paired with images by Australian photographers enlarged and projected upon the back of the temple wall. In addition to red and white Australian wine, delicious vegan catering was provided by Laura, the owner of The Veggie Table. The event was sponsored with funding by the Australian Embassy and over 150+ attendees arrived, among them, deputy director of the National Centre for Performing Arts and around 20 members of ACAA
. You can take a look at the photos of this event here
. We also had some wonderful volunteers who helped make the event happen that evening!
At the end of July and the beginning August, I visited Seoul and Jeju Island in Korea, traveling with my best friend Jing and meeting up with several other Korean friends along the way.September was Design Week, a month of fashion shows, and many friends visiting. In October, my high school friend Raina Hein
, a finalist on America’s Next Top Model, visited me in Beijing with her love Kristof. Later that month, I was invited by a visiting friend to the reception of Prince and Princess of Belgium on their visit to China
. At the close of 2011 was the opening of Jeff’s new bar in Beijing, Mai Bar
, in his hidden hutong venue on 40 Bei Luo Gu Xiang. Last time I went, this good fellow (who once worked at apothecary) spoiled my friends and me with delicious experimental concoctions.
Most recently, I spent the holidays in Las Vegas with my family and visited New York, where I met up with several good friends of friends who shared their perspective about the city. Not long after returning and recovering from my jet lag, I flew to Nanjing and Shanghai to visit family for the Chinese New Year. In Shanghai, I was able to catch up with several close friends.
I’ve also made several new year’s resolutions (my first time!) to boost my health – such as climbing up the stairs to my 21st floor office every day after lunch as much as possible, and trying to maintain a revived blog. I also hope to visit this beautiful library featured last year on Architizer
as soon as the weather gets warmer!
– Note: Although I did manage to climb the stairs to the 21st floor every day for a week, the activity quickly proved to be a health hazard as everyone in the building took smoking breaks in the stairwell after lunch, in the morning, and all the time… and strenuous activity after lunch is generally not recommended. I also obviously did not maintain my blog, but I did visit the Commune by the Great Wall (I believe the library was closed for repairs by the time I wanted to visit). –
It’s now the year of the dragon. What are we going to do this year? Time passes so quickly, and the end of the world is almost here!! 😉
Thank you for being a part of my life. Do keep in touch and let me know what’s going on with you!
Warmth and comfort to all. Cheers to making this world a kinder, more beautiful place.