small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

O Holy Night, The Disco Ball is Shining

I grew up with Christmas Eve being calm and serene. There was a hush that seemed to fall over all the land as people went to Christmas Eve services in quiet churches where congregants held glowing candles and sang “sleep… Continue Reading →

The 10 Craziest Questions I’ve Been Asked in China

Being white in China, especially in off-the-beaten path areas of China, seems to make it fair game for any stranger to ask you any question about America. This can sometimes be awkward or weird, especially if you are a white… Continue Reading →

Figuring out Thanksgiving Far from America

It’s turkey time! If you’re an American living overseas, Thanksgiving is often the hardest holiday in terms of logistics. Is it worth the hassle and expense to get a turkey? How will you cook it in your EZ Bake oven?… Continue Reading →

50 Smells You Can’t Forget if You’ve Lived in China

They say smell is the sense most closely tied to memory. If I could make your screen scratch-n-sniff, I would, and you’d be instantly transported back to the Middle Kingdom. Chou doufu Mosquito coils Getting caught in a cloud of… Continue Reading →

Are They All Yours?

Early on in my Mandarin studies, I learned the word 都 dōu. Although it can mean “both”’ the meaning that stuck firmly in my head was “all”’ as in: “All the Americans in Nanning love to play Ultimate.” “All of… Continue Reading →

Rambutan in a Foreign Land

When was the first time you saw an avocado in China? Or a bag of Doritos? Or a can of Dr. Pepper? You were probably elated and amazed. You probably bought it despite the hefty price tag. You may have… Continue Reading →

While You Were Out, These 15 Things Exploded in the U.S.

At some point or another, American expats come home. When you do, you’ll face some level of reverse culture shock as you try to figure out how your country has changed while you’ve been off galavanting around the globe (not… Continue Reading →

Mooncakes by Mail

A couple of years ago, I was happy and proud that we made our own mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival. From scratch. By hand. 100% homemade. Like Martha Stewart, but in Asia and without felony charges. They were pretty tasty and… Continue Reading →

8 Ways China is More Environmentally Friendly Than the U.S.

Any expat who lives in China can easily rattle off the ways China is harming Mother Earth. (air quality index, anyone?) But there are also plenty of ways that the laobaixing incorporate environmentally friendly habits into their everyday lives, even… Continue Reading →

9 Preschool Safety Tips from Chinese Youeryuan

I was sorting through a box of old books and happened upon some of the workbooks my kids used in youeryuan (Chinese preschool). One of the books was called Safety Education. It teaches kids some basic safety tips with illustrations… Continue Reading →

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