small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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 →

The Great Firewall in a Nutshell

If you’re new to China, you may be wondering why people keep talking about “The Great Firewall.” Are things really blocked? Is your online activity actually monitored by the government? As I was clearing out some old files, I ran… Continue Reading →

8 Foods You Never Knew You Could Make from Scratch in China

When we first moved to China oodles of years ago, it felt like all my cooking skills evaporated. Or rather, that everything I had learned to cook so far in my life was no longer applicable in the new culinary… Continue Reading →

9 Ways China Expats Offend on U.S. Soil

I try to remember how to act American, I really do. But so much of behavior runs on a subconscious autopilot setting, and mine stays set to “China mode” even after landing in the States. Yours, too? It takes a… Continue Reading →

We’re Going Through Transition, We’re Not Scared!

A July fun fact for you: The word “summer” is derived from the Proto-Germanic word sumaraz, meaning “upheaval, chaos, change, uncertainty.” Wait, no. No it’s not. But it sure feels that way in Expatland. Summer is when everyone travels, moves,… Continue Reading →

8 Observations about the First 5 Hours in America

Like many American expats, June is the month our family boarded a plane back to the U.S. It’s always surreal to arrive back in the Land of the Free and Home of the Big Gulp. And there’s nothing like the… Continue Reading →

The Song of the Knivenswain (Or, How to Get Your Cleaver Sharpened in China)

  Getting your cleaver sharpened in China is well worth the price of admission. It’s not expensive, but it’s quite a show. Especially when law enforcement gets involved. Want to get your cleaver sharpened by a professional in China? Here’s… Continue Reading →

Do You Have What it Takes to Drive in China?

  So, you think just because you have a driver’s license from your home country, it should be a piece of dangao to get your license in China? Think again. To get a driver’s license in China, foreigners must pass… Continue Reading →

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