small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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Life

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 →

Retailers in Malaysia and Thailand Embrace Chinese New Year

There are just a few days left in the official two weeks of Chinese New Year! Our family happened to be traveling through Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and parts of Thailand in the days leading up to Chuxi (New Year’s Eve)…. Continue Reading →

14 Things China Expats Binge on in Thailand

Every year around Spring Festival, there’s a flood of Chinese expats from the Great Chicken over to the Land of Smiles. I don’t have an exact number, but judging from the way my Facebook and Instagram feeds are currently bursting… Continue Reading →

Forks vs. Chopsticks Showdown – Vote Now!

  To Win Chinese New Year, You Must Master Snacks 13 China Mysteries No Expat Can Explain These 9 Chinese Notebooks are All the Inspiration You Need

What’s on Your 2017 Cultural Bucket List?

It’s a new year! This is the time when we think about goals and plans for the next twelve months. This year, my goals include getting out and exploring the city and culture I’m in. My list includes Chinese zodiac… Continue Reading →

Tongue Tied? Blame Your Affective Filter

So, you’re in class and the teacher calls on you to read some long passage that is full of ridiculously obscure characters. And you were traveling all weekend so you didn’t preview this lesson. And this happens to be the… Continue Reading →

It’s 39°F in My Bedroom, But I Can’t Complain (Seriously. I vowed not to.)

When we woke up this morning, the thermometer showed that it was 39°F (3.9°C). Not 39°F outside, friends. That was the temperature INSIDE our bedroom. Brrr…. But I am not going to complain about how frigid it is because…I promised not to. This… Continue Reading →

A Story Only China Expats Will Mingbai

How good is your Chinglish? If you can follow this story, I’m guessing you have lived in China hao jiu. The other day, I was buying some ershou furniture from a guy across town but I knew it was going… Continue Reading →

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