Violet Eclipse

I remember when writing a blog about teaching English in China was a new idea. Blogging itself was new back then. We felt that people in the States needed to know about the Chinese hellos and the crazy food and the linguistic torture. Nowadays, though, there is no shortage of this type of blog. As lone administrator of the China Blog List, I see quite a few. I certainly have nothing against them, but after seeing so many, I start to lose interest.

Until now! One of the newest additions to the CBL has me rediscovering China all over again from Shandong, and starting all over with the language as well. Meg at Violet Eclipse writes with enough charm and good humor to make me ashamed of the dry, linguisticky discourse that passes for blog entries these days on Sinosplice.

She shares lots of the everyday:

> Fresca and I wandered in to a Qingdao street market as part of our ongoing quest to try all the barbarqued tofu in Shandong. We bought scallion bread and rice dumplings and strawberries, which was a lot harder than in sounds. First, because we can’t understand what they’re saying with Qingdao accents. Even when we use the Chinese handsigns for what we want and how many we want, the vendors seem to interpret “2 dumplings” as “Please call the rest of your family over to see the Americans. Really. And touch my hair, I love that.”

And even the occasional “romantic” story:

> The shopkeeper called over an interpreter from another shop, a younger man who said he speaks English. He speaks English the way some of us can remember a bit of bit of our high-school French or Spanish, only his high-school English teacher was not only not a native speaker, but had probably never met a native speaker. Anyway, he was able to ask us questions as long as we wrote down the answers in block letters. The two men were shocked to find out how old we are, and then the interpreter started to practice his next question.

> “Marry. Marry? Marriaige? Marring? Marry?” he says to himself. Just when we think he’s going to propose, he asks us if we’re married.

So check out Violet Eclipse, the best of its kind since*

* You know you’re old skool if you get that reference.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Does this mean less linquisticky blog entries now?

  2. I know many China blogs that are not in CBL (specially in Spanish), but I don´t know if I can enter them in the list or is personal decission of their creators. Can I?

    BTW, my blog Fotobroto, dead long time ago, is still in the CBL, and in the third place… Please, I want to remove it…

  3. Probably not. But I hope to do more of other kinds of entries.

  4. chinochano,

    OK, I deleted Fotobroto. You can request that a blog be deleted from the CBL on the blog submission form. You can also submit any blog you want (it doesn’t have to be your own). If the owner contacts me saying they don’t want to be listed, then I’ll remove it.

  5. Violet Eclipse is good! One of the better new China blogs I’ve read. Thanks John (though man I do really, really miss

  6. Violent seems pleasant and upbeat, but a blog written by a newbie seems a bit hohum to a battle-hardened returned vet like me.

  7. Da Xiangchang Says: May 17, 2006 at 2:34 am

    Is it just me or does Violet look kind of Chinese in her photos? And let’s face it, John, you’re interested in her blog at least partly because she’s kind of hot. Reminds me of a few years ago when I was going through the net trying to find nudie pics of this Playmate when I came across this guy’s site rhapsodizing about this Playmate’s “intelligence” and “inner beauty.” GTFOOH!

  8. awww, you’re so super cool paz. you make me want to write again! and i should be so i feel kinda guilty….

    are you EVER going to call me when you are in the states? i thought you would this time? i had mad visions of drunken go-karting.

  9. Sonagi,

    I don’t know about “battle-hardened,” but I’m no newbie, and I enjoy her blog.

  10. Good find JP. Not since Greg graced us with SINOBLING has there been a more appealing blog about teaching English in China. Or one worth reading period. I hope she sticks with it.

  11. Ditto to DaXiangchang’s comment. Dang, is that Shutty checkin’ in, from the states?

  12. Wilson and DXC,

    One word for you: projection.

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