A Canadian in Shanghai: Interview with Andranik .A

One quality that I really appreciate in a person is the ability to unapolagetically be yourself. And that is exactly what and who Andranik is. I first met Andranik four months ago when I moved to Shanghai and he is a colleague and someone I am happy to now call a friend. Besides fully and always being himself, he is a great conversationalist, gym enthusiast and can give the blue steel look just as good as any model. We love exchanging stories about our very fabulous and hilarious students throughout the day and searching for the best salad places in Shanghai in our off time. I asked if he would want me to take some professional and fun photos for him and we turned it into a morning of laughs, lunch and of course good lighting. After our photo shoot around Shanghai, we sat down over salads and rice bowls and talked life and all things Andranik.

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Jenna F

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“It gets better, just keep going and don’t give up.”

When Jenna and I first met almost three years ago in a drug anthropology class, we could have never anticipated how things would unfold. These past few weeks have brought the past full circle and I couldn’t be more grateful that this human is part of my life. Jenna is a gentle pixie with the heart of a lion and soul of someone who has lived far more than twenty-one years. I was so fortunate to spend these past three weeks in Bolivia with her on a course about democracy and development with an extraordinary professor. It is this professor that started our friendship three years ago in her classroom. One class and one person transformed both of our lives on levels that have impacted us both forever.

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Ron

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“The Women”

I dare you not to love Ron and want to be him when you grow up. It’s not possible because he is one of the greatest humans ever. I met Ron while in Bolivia as he is a dear friend of my professor and has been living in Bolivia since the 70’s. When you meet Ron, you may think he is soft spoken but but his mind anything but. He is one of those people who has truly lived; in every essence of the world and is still going. His style is something to aspire too, always with a hat on top and smile hiding underneath. He is forever a student, fascinated with the happenings of every day, from the mundane to the complex questions he continues to inquire about. If there is one thing I can say about him it’s that he is one of kind.

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Bailee M

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I think back to how I met this amazing human and it comes down to that we were both adopted from China and our paths happened to merge here at CU Boulder. Bailee is an amazing, exuberant lady who has endless passion and is the human version of the energizer bunny. She casually drops that she ran nine miles in the morning before class frequently. Don’t we all. Born in China and raised in Boulder, Bailee is a self proclaimed “boulderite” who is currently training to be a yoga instructor, making her own kombucha and planning a running road trip around the USA this summer. I honestly don’t know how she does it all! One thing I love about Bailee is her spirit of adventure that even comes down to her hair which is currently dyed a vibrant pink. After our physical anthropology class one day, we sat down on a beautiful day outside a talked life, cute running boys and plans for the future. (Ps. She is single).

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Duncan

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They say that college students are getting younger and younger these days. Apparently they really are, to the point where humans who have only been on planet earth for three years are now attending astronomy lectures. I met Duncan, age three, when I went into my astronomy professors office hours to discuss an exam when he dropped by with his mom and proceeded to give me two cookies and a kiss before he left. Already such a lady-killer! The next day to my surprise, little Duncan and his massive personality showed up in my classroom where he proceeded to sit next to me the whole lecture. To be fair, I had fresh-baked cookies with me; turns out that friendship can indeed be bought. He was the epitome of a good student during class. He raised his and asked his papa (the professor) for more goldfish, told everyone his favorite planet was mars and shared with the whole class that he thought we got the answer wrong. This kid is going places. Before class, I asked Duncan if I could interview him and he said yes, if I gave him another cookie.

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Toughy (Aubrey)

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This crazy things happen when you unplug your headphones, stop looking ahead in a dead stare and decide to stop and chat to another human for no other reason but than just because. As I was walking downtown after having an amazing lunch with a friend who just moved to Colorado, I checked out the centre of the 16th street mall and was immediately drawn to this awesome group of musicians jamming out with their puppies and rolling around in these funky, red chairs.

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Amber

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I met Amber through a mutual friend in Boulder and got to know her over a night of playing scrabble, drinking beer and eating burgers at Mountain Sun. My initial impression of her was that she was one of the most poised and eloquent people I had ever met that equally embodied grace and kindness. A week later we were both invited to celebrate our mutual friends families birthday at the Gold Hill restaurant in Gold Hill, Colorado. We ended up sitting next to each other at the massive dinning table in the log cabin and before digging into our food and listening to live music, we talked life.

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Trent C.

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While in Hanoi, Vietnam I had a morning off from work and decided to meander around the city and see where my feet took me with no conscious plans in mind other than writing and enjoying the day. My feet ended up taking me through the twisted streets of the Old Quarter and up a floor to the balcony of a vegan restaurant where I sat perched outside writing and drinking a blended green  juice. Wanting to capture the moment, I went back inside and asked the first person I saw (there were only four people there) if it would be okay if he took a picture for me. Here enters Trent. Trent was one of two bearded men in the restaurant (the other one was wearing plaid) and had he been there a moment too late or soon, I would have gone with the other lumberjack. I’m so glad Trent was there when he was. We soon discovered that we were one of the same and had kindred souls. I have never had a conversation with anyone ever where we immediately were thinking and conversing on the same wavelength. It was inspiring and a unicorn moment to say the least. After realising that Trent was a fascinating and compelling person after a hot minute, I asked if I could intentionally interview him.

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Tom F.

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On an early Friday morning, I sat down next to Tom in row twenty-one on an average day 10,000 plus feet in the air. As I was heading out on a work trip over the winter break, I decided that there was no better place to make a friend than on an airplane. Yes, I am that annoying person on an airplane that you hope and pray that you don’t sit next to because you just want to get through the flight. Like most people, you didn’t come on an airplane to make friends. I may be worse than sitting next to a crying baby. I wasn’t even initially sitting next to Tom, but after my other seat mates stopped conversing to me and went back to knitting and playing bejeweled, I decided to mingle around the plane.

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