Saturday, October 4, 2014
This propaganda poster from the late 1950s visualized China’s goal of surpassing the UK by 1972. (at Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center)

This propaganda poster from the late 1950s visualized China’s goal of surpassing the UK by 1972. (at Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

One Month in Shanghai

I left home roughly four weeks ago on a warm summer morning in Kansas City. I overslept, on no more than 2.5 hours sleep (impressive, I know), finished packing in half an hour and made it to the gate in time. (Thanks, Mom.) Nerves frayed, exhausted, and trying to regroup for a full day in Chicago.

Eight days later, I finally began to pull myself back together after much wandering around the Windy City, a sleepless flight across the Pacific, and four days of poor translations and mostly worse apartments.

I have a home: a simple, two bedroom place, which I share with fellow intern/almost lawyer Max in a safe apartment complex. Our place is ten minutes from the closest subway stop (and a 50 minute ride from the heart of the city), ten from the firm’s office in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, and a few from fantastic eggplant, dumplings, and noodles at a couple of dollars per meal. Even with utilities, we pay less for a nicer place than all-but-one of our other options.

image

(Above: Our administrative assistant, Emma [Jiang QiaoMei] translating our lease.)

We are the only two Americans in the area, and are well watched when we go eat. Frequently, other restaurant patrons with English skill help us order on the request of the shop owner. We have quite the time when we have no translator nor any pictures to point to in the menu. And of the local watering hole…

We have gone into the city each weekend, frequently with Max going ahead midday and me following in late afternoon. My internal clock is set a couple of hours later than his, despite 5:30 am sunrises and 6:05 sunsets. This is a cosmopolitan city — and China’s largest, at some 20 million souls. In several trips to the city we’ve gone to a large photo exhibition, as well as an art gallery, two different ex-pat bar spots, covered the main tourist area from People’s Park along West Nanjing Road to the Bund — then across the river to the famous skyline, and visited our office in the Bund Centre with the firm’s Senior Partner.  Max and I are to alternate one day a week there, for now.

(The Bund Centre, from a distance.)

Speaking of work, it is a mix of little frustrations (try using a computer with it’s operating system in a language you know little of for three weeks), promise of opportunity (in tasks for current clients and the wide universe of potential clients), and small victories. After 18 full-days at work (approximately 8 hours a day for enough money to live), I am fairly content with what we will be doing, especially with Max pushing — as he does well — for operating systems in English (small victory no. 1), a shared electronic file system, and a better company website. Plus, how can I deny the fun of cross-border litigation, transactions, etc.? How often does someone in my position have the opportunity to share dinner with a Malaysian intellectual property lawyer discussing the referral of clients who want to register in each other’s markets?

We are already past the ten percent mark on our nine month commitment, and though Max is certain he’ll leave June 1, 2015—the date of my plane ticket, too—I suspect I will stay at least the summer on this side of the globe. This thought may change, but the earliest I would start work somewhere new is likely next September, so it seems prudent to work most of that time, likely here. We’ll see. So much time between now and then.

In the meantime, congratulations again to my fellow new attorneys. And go Royals! I’ll probably post again after the national holiday Oct. 1-7 if I travel at all (yes, seven days off; but work the Sunday before and the Saturday after). Otherwise, maybe I will put up some more pictures here and there.

Shanghai, June 2012

Shanghai, June 2012

Monday, April 21, 2014 Saturday, April 19, 2014
Interesting find in the official record of #Namibia's parliament: Why ratify a treaty if you can't implement it?

Interesting find in the official record of 's parliament: Why ratify a treaty if you can't implement it?

Thursday, April 17, 2014
Legal discrimination. One of the younger texts I’ve handled while contributing to the LAC’s statutes project, which will produce the first publicly available representation of Namibian law in its entirety.

Legal discrimination. One of the younger texts I’ve handled while contributing to the LAC’s statutes project, which will produce the first publicly available representation of Namibian law in its entirety.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
"Walk now" (at Wernhill Park)

"Walk now" (at Wernhill Park)

Monday, March 17, 2014

I walk every day to and from work, which takes about an hour.  A few pics from ground-level with a cameo by my roommate, Justus (soft ‘J’).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Other than home and work, I spend more time in the grocery store (Typically Shoprite and Pick n Pay, though there is a great organic foods section in Woolworths, which is primarily a clothing store.) than anywhere else.  These would be great places to people watch, if you could feel comfortable stopping at any spot in the store for more than a minute or two; a moment of indecisiveness and I am in the way.

However, the most puzzling grocery practice is the food dump while waiting in line for the register.  Namibians often push their carts and baskets off to the side at this point, too, but more significant is that customers seem to fully examine their chosen items and total cost for the first time in line.  Food deemed over budget or unneeded is discarded into the abandoned carts — and any other possible spots — and forgotten.

Friday, March 14, 2014

From the Gender Research & Advocacy Project (GRAP) office at the Legal Assistance Centre: a great view of most of Windhoek, Namibia.

I love the relaxed environment.  Often people who travel will refer to less developed countries as operating on their own time frame, which is some indeterminate time after the scheduled hour; this has held particularly true during my trips to Southern Africa.  The pace, the people, and the weather are welcome changes.  I like Dianne Hubbard, who is the head of the GRAP, for her ambition and passion, and I enjoy the tasks given to me thus far.  

I have been assigned research to update information on whether Namibia has changed its status regarding international treaties, but also comparative law research on corporal punishment, voter registration requirements for local elections, and bail.  The bail issue relates to the Namibian government’s attempt to make bail more difficult to obtain for those accused of gender-based violence as a way of discouraging more brutal beatings of women and girls.  Unfortunately, when the argument is over less than 2.50 U$Dharsher sentencing, reduced opportunities at bail, etc. are unlikely to solve the problem…

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Camden Market, January 2014.  I have been to London for three short stints — and seen something new every time.  This trip? Borough and Camden Markets, the London School of Economics, a Steve McQueen-themed restaurant, and SoHo.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kolkata, June 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

David Foster Wallace. Beautiful.

Friday, August 10, 2012
A week before I first moved in at KU, I ended my road trip in Chicago. Four years later, it’s one example of how wonderful memories are. Little did I know that life would play out much as I hoped and planned at a macro level, yet how incredible it would be in all the ways and intricate moments that had to be lived — the thrills and the pains both. So much has changed, so much has stayed the same.

A week before I first moved in at KU, I ended my road trip in Chicago. Four years later, it’s one example of how wonderful memories are. Little did I know that life would play out much as I hoped and planned at a macro level, yet how incredible it would be in all the ways and intricate moments that had to be lived — the thrills and the pains both. So much has changed, so much has stayed the same.