"The most entertaining book I have ever read about China from a woman who consistently tests herself and not the people around her." --Bruce Feld, co-author of"The Givers and the Takers""Love....love....love...the book! I started your book, and could not put it down...I've been up late every night reading!I'vecried, laughed and completely understood so many things"--Deborah J."I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your book Chopstix tremendously. It made me laugh, cry, think, and most of all FEEL. Thank you for writing it, but you must update me on your friends from China. I hope you are working on a sequel. I fell in love with... Robert and Bruce and Jacqueline, as well as your daughter and sons. I must know how they are doing!"--Miki M."JoAn Smith writes ...with much insight, sensitivity, and occasional bits of humor which had me literally laughing out loud. When I started reading, Icouldn'tput it down, and finished the entire 400 pages within a day... I give it a "two thumbs up". Disclaimer: I am not an unbiased reviewer. I began to teach at SIAS the same year JoAn did (2005), and I still teach history there. I know all the people and places she talks about, I even appear as a minor character myself...!"Gary Lee Todd, PhD"A warm and engaging account of a life-changing adventure..." DeborahFrom the Inside Flap Divorced after 27 years of marriage,a typical mom from a small community in Michigan, finds herself at the gates of an unknown university in the heart of mainland China. A Craigslist ad--Teach English in China--leads her to the other side of the world, to a place with no familiar faces and no memories that would remind her of the all-American life she once had and all that she has lost. In China, she hopes to disappear forever among 1.3 billion people. Instead, she discovers the most unusual place for her reconciliation with life: SIAS International University. From the moment she sets foot on land and catches her first glimpse of China and SIAS, Joan senses that she's is in for a most extraordinary experience. A series of unexpected and valuable life lessons unfold as she starts her new life on the campus just outside the rural town of XinZheng, in Henan Province. Tall, slim, and blonde was nothing notable back home, but in XinZheng, Joan stands out as a spectacle among the locals, many who have never seen a Westerner. And she finds a new name: JoAn. Same spelling, different emphasis. And a new start in life. Little does she know that this is the beginning of an incredible journey into the unknown, that she will experience heartache and love, face danger and uncertainty, and she will stretch herself in ways she never thought possible. Joan, the suburban mother becomes JoAn, the teacher--and the unwitting student. As she becomes acquainted with her many students and adapts to the cultural differences that she finds, at times, unbearable, she learns many lessons herself. Still overwhelmed with the wounds of the past, she gradually adapts to China and accepts her new life and the lessons it has to teach. She befriends other members of the foreign faculty: Bruce, the sophisticated but eccentric L.A. movie critic; Jacqueline, the fiery redhead from upstate New York; Lee, the strong-willed Texan. She also meets Robert, a handsome executive from Michigan, now living in Shanghai. And, of course, the two China dolls, Kitty and Allie, who become JoAn's surrogate daughters. The heartache that pushed JoAn over the edge and into a desperate escape to China continues to surface as each day brings her a new healing message and a step closer to reconciliation. On the road to self-discovery, she learns what is most important in life and who she really is. Moment by moment, piece by piece, bit by bit, the struggles and wondrous experience of living one day at a time in an unpredictable world leads to renewed confidence, love, a sense of adventure, and a new appreciation for chopsticks.About the AuthorOne could imagine that growing up in Motown during the 60's with an American Armenian father and French born mother would be more than enough culture shock for any one person to endure in a lifetime. That, however, proved to be a mere introduction for what would develop into a life of cultural diversity and exploration. Married at 21, I had put my formal education on hold to raise a family. Some 30 years later, I returned to Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan to finally finish what I had started decades earlier - a BA in French Language and Literature and a BA in Communications. The aftermath of divorce then led me to take time off from the American Dream and in 2005, I left for China. I moved to XinZheng, a remote village-town in Henan Province, and worked as a University Professor teaching Business Communications and Oral English. When I returned to the states two years later, I gave "birth" to my first book, "Chopstix - Healing my Heart in the Heart of China", which documents my struggles, my pilgrimage and my discovery of new cultural and exotic experiences. Since that time I have continued my journey of personal healing while developing an insatiable appetite of cultural wanderlust. More adventures and opportunities have taken me to live and work in such romantic and exotic countries as France and India. Writing has now become an important part of me. It is my new beginning, my second life and the start of a new family. My "children", born of love and passion, are now the books I create. I currently live in Los Gatos, California and have started several more writing projects. My cultural background, my family, my travels, the peopleI'vemet and the experiencesI'velearned from along the way provide the material for a plethora of stories worth reading. Keep watching... this is only the beginning! what are the top selling items on 2018 Chopstix, Healing My Heart in the Heart of China
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. Chopstix: Healing My Heart in the Heart of ChinaBy Gary Lee ToddIf you have suffered a tragic loss like an unwanted divorce, this book is for you. If you have ever thought about teaching overseas, especially in China, this book is for you. If you have ever heard of Sias University in Henan Province, this book is definitely for you. JoAn Smith writes about all these things with much insight, sensitivity, and occasional bits of humor which had me literally laughing out loud. When I started reading, I couldn't put it down, and finished the entire 400 pages within a day. While I read from 30 to 50 books a year (mostly history), I can think of very few which kept me captivated the way Chopstix did. I give it a "two thumbs up." Disclaimer: I am not an unbiased reviewer. I began to teach at Sias the same year JoAn did (2005), and I still teach history there. I know all the people and places she talks about. I even appear as a minor character myself, so maybe my delight is partly based on sharing common experiences. But Chopstix is still a lot of fun to read, and other people who don't share my biases have told me they agree.3 of 3 people found the following review helpful. Chopstix Finding My Heart In The Heart of ChinaBy debbietheteachChopstix Finding My Heart In The Heart of China was an amazing book. I highly recommend this book to all women who have gone through the pains of divorce and are finding themselves again. It is especially touching for those who have traveled to China before, or for those thinking about going. JoAn writes from her heart and does an amazing job in this book. The Chopstix refelections (must read to know what I am talking about) are amazing adnso healing! After facing a divorce myself and contemplating going to China to teach, I discovered JoAn's book and am convinced that I too can find my heart! Thank you JoAn0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. Slow start, but good once she was in China.By buyerThis book started slow for me, but once she was in China, and began developing friendships and went on tours and excursions, I enjoyed it.