Patti Isaacs lived and worked as an English teacher for a year at Xi’an Jiaotong University in 1981 while China was still largely a socialist state. When she returned to the same university in 2005 to work for two months, she was able to find several of her former students and document the stunning changes that had occurred in Xi’an as a result of China’s rapid economic development. This blog documents those two worlds.

You may read Patti’s published works here:

Patti is a cartographer whose work has appeared in text and trade books published by McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin,  Harcourt, and Harvard University Press, among others, and periodicals including National Geographic Traveler and Discovery Channel Magazine. She maintains a map design blog Patti also pays the bills by managing digital and print art programs. Learn more about her work at

Patti belongs to a writing group, The Reliable Narrators, with four other members. Those who have blogs are listed here:

Sue Leaf is a zoologist who has published Potato City, a history of North Branch, Minnesota; The Bullhead Queen, a Year on Pioneer Lake, a memoir exploring the relationship between humans and nature through the liturgical calendar; A Love Affair with Birds, the biography of the first Minnesota state ornithologist, Thomas Roberts; and Portage: a Family, a Canoe, and the Search for the Good Life, about a lifetime of canoeing with her husband and children. Sue’s blogs can be found at:

Sue Narayan did public health work in Yemen for a year and a half and has published numerous articles about the Middle East. She lived in Istanbul for three years and is working on a book about her adventures there and adjusting to the role of trailing spouse.

Former member Gayla Marty is the author of Memory of Trees, her memoir of growing up on a dairy farm. It chronicles her life as a child and a young woman from rural Minnesota and offers a personal view of the American farm crisis of the 1970s and 1980s. Here is a link to Gayla’s blog:

Former Member Pam Schmid worked as a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She now is Creative Nonfiction editor for the online literary magazine, Sleet.

In addition, Patti was connected with a group of bloggers based in the San Francisco Bay Area. The point of this group is to share our stories in a freewheeling forum. Patti’s two submissions can be read here:

To subscribe to Time Travel in China and to read updated reports, click on the Blog tab.

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