small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

Chatting About the Weather Isn’t So Foreign After All

“Can I ask you a question?” My language tutor and I had been meeting for several months and were getting to know each other really well. So well, in fact, that she had begun asking me lots of questions about… Continue Reading →

14 Ideas for a Cross-Cultural-Stress-Busting Laugh Break

What do you do for stress relief? Some people go for a run, some people scrub their house clean, some people zone out with Netflix. But sometimes, there’s nothing like a good, long laugh session that leaves your stomach and… Continue Reading →

Misunderstood Goes a Long Way in Helping TCKs be Understood

Growing up away from their passport country has a deep and lasting impact on children. Often, parents, teachers, family, and even the kids themselves don’t always fully understand how global life has affected these third culture kids (TCKs). In Misunderstood:… Continue Reading →

10 Things to Know About Teenage TCKs

How are things different having a teenager overseas versus having a younger child? And how are teenage TCKs different from their monocultural peers? I’m answering those questions in a guest post over at China Family Blog: 10 Things to Know… Continue Reading →

You Don’t Know What You Want. The Chinese Seamstress Know What You Want.

Way back when our daughter was in preschool, we decided to get a princess dress made as a Christmas present for her. This was long before Taobao or ToysRUs, so a seamstress was basically our only option. I asked around… Continue Reading →

What a Buddhist Nun, A Skeleton, and a Muslim Mom Taught Me About Death

One of the classes I took in university towards my minor in Religious Studies was Buddhism. My instructor was a Buddhist nun from Singapore, and I can clearly remember her standing in front of the class with her shaved head… Continue Reading →

Stop with the Thank Yous!

Have you ever been going merrily along in the language you’ve been learning only to hit a big bump when you discover that a word you’ve been using for forever doesn’t mean what you thought it meant? That happened to… Continue Reading →

10 Things Ya Gotta Love About Chinese New Year

It’s the biggest human migration in the world to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year. Sure, there are lots of annoyances, but let’s think positive. Here are ten things that are great about Spring Festival. 1. Everyone is happy…. Continue Reading →

HOME, JAMES is here!

I am thrilled to let you know that my book, HOME, JAMES, is now released! Readers are saying: “It’s a book about every middle schooler who’s ever felt like an outsider. And that’s pretty much all of us.” “…had me… Continue Reading →

Cross-Cultural Dinner Fail

“They’re going to love this!” ← Famous last words of a naïve cross-cultural chef, preparing food that’s totally unlike anything the guests have ever tasted. Has anyone else been there? I sure have. Lots of times. One time, I was… Continue Reading →

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