Welcome to My Travels...
In middle age, my strong desire to travel and live outside the United States catapulted me outside the cozy confines of a traditional life as wife and mother. In 1983, at the age of 40, I went to live in Israel as an immigrant. That was the beginning of new adventures I could never have imagined. A fascinating visit to China in 1988 set me on a nomadic path, teaching in several parts of Asia, but returning often to a constantly changing China. What began as a love of travel evolved into a way of life.
The metamorphosis of China has been stunning indeed, but very few westerners have any concept of what led up to the modern, thriving China of the new millennium. Through the depth of details recorded in the journals that were my constant traveling companions, Memoirs of a Middle-aged Hummingbird chronicles China’s rise to power and prominence through the lives and experiences of my students turned friends during 16 visits between 1988 and 2010.
Many journeys exist in my book simultaneously
Themes of identity, roots, home, and an array of colorful characters I met along the way
Geographical, personal, emotional, spiritual,
cultural, and historical journeys
Chinese Translation (PDF File) of
"Memoirs of a Middle-aged Hummingbird"
Table of Contents - Chapters
JAPAN HONG KONG CHINA 1988
TEACHING IN CHINA 1988
HONG KONG BALI SINGAPORE THAILAND 1989
CHINA March-May 16, 1989
CHINA HONG KONG ISRAEL U.S. 1989
TAIWAN Feb.-July 1990
HONG KONG CHINA TAIWAN 1990
CHINA TAIWAN 1991
CHINA MACAU Summer, 1991
HONG KONG MACAU 1992
CHINA MACAU ISRAEL 1993
CHINA MACAU MALAYSIA 1994
BALI AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND FIJI 1995
CHINA KOREA EUROPE TURKEY 1997
CHINA VIETNAM RUSSIA 1998
U.S. ICELAND "DOWN UNDER" ASIA 1999-2005
What Readers Say...
"Every time I picked up the book, I entered a different world."
"I like the hummingbird image - it's light and airy, able to observe everything in a non-threatening way."
"The book flows very smoothly. I felt like I was there, looking over the author's shoulder."
“The depth of the experiences recounted in the book surprised me.”
“I am in awe of the detailed descriptions.”
“I hated for the book to end.”
“I wish I had traveled like that.”
Suellen's book received the 2008 First Place in Non-Fiction award from the National League of American Pen Women. Here is part of a review by Zona Gale which appeared in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of the Pen Woman, a quarterly magazine published by the organization.
“At age forty, Suellen Zima began a personal search for fulfillment, certain that travel was involved. Moving first to Israel in 1983, she learned Hebrew, earned dual citizenship and worked with students. Next she traveled to Asia in 1988, feeling her first accomplishment was conquering the Tokyo subway.
“On to Hong Kong and China, discovering she had a talent for teaching English, she supported herself by doing so from then on, with growing self-esteem. Life for the Chinese was difficult and personal customs were different. A first-time western visitor to remote village homes...of her students, Suellen had many treasured experiences. Though the villagers stared at her, they treated her with consummate hospitality. She was in Hong Kong when the Tiananmen Square massacre occurred in Beijing, June, 1989.
“Wherever like a hummingbird she traveled - Bali, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Turkey, Iceland, Vietnam, Russia and other places - China was often a stopover or destination. Many stayed in touch and she remains a welcome guest in their homes and celebrations.
“Read her book, written in vivid, lyrical language.”
This review was written by a judge for the Writer's Digest 15th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards contest in 2007.
“This was a very well-written memoir of a woman who started late in life to live the life she felt she needed to live. It was written from her journals and her letters and that makes it an even better read. As she said, she didn't make herself smarter in hindsight. She traveled to places a lot of us would love to, but don't have that "thing" that makes you get up and do it.”
More Readers' Comments
“The Chinese have a curse, ‘May you live in interesting times.’ They seem to be living their own curse with drastic cultural changes, and a rapidly expanding economy. The book gave me some unique insights behind the former Bamboo Curtain. While the book's author related wonderful stories of life in Israel and Bali, it was her love of China and relationships with her students that captivated me by going behind the headlines into their homes, customs and culture."
“The wondrous descriptions and tremendous storytelling ability makes it like taking the journey along with the author. The book awakened my curiosity about the countries and cultures in it. I have especially always wanted to visit China. The book brought it to life and made me feel I was in China along with the author throughout the last twenty years. It's a travelogue with a deep insight into vastly different cultures with delightful personal gems throughout."
“I was totally captivated. Since I have traveled to most of the places where she lived, I could visualize them again through her vivid descriptions. I found her observations and perceptions right on the mark. Best of all I enjoyed the descriptions of her relationships with her students. Since I was a teacher, too, I was very intrigued with the depth and longevity of her attachments to her students. They became her family. To my surprise, it held my interest right to the end and beyond. I still want to know ‘what happened next’ to this fascinating woman, so I hope she will write another book.”