small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China



10 Lessons I’ve Learned From Raising TCKs

What are some of the unique things facing TCKs and their parents while they are living in a host country? Loneliness, schooling issues, and health matters are just some of the things that spring to my mind, and there are… Continue Reading →

Nesting Again When You’re All Nested Out

We painted last weekend! It’s something we had talked about doing since before we moved into this apartment over a year ago. The walls were dirty and really needed some TLC. (Apartments don’t automatically get painted between tenants here; it’s… Continue Reading →

Sorry, Stephen Colbert, but I am America

If you’re Chinese and living in a rural area, or even a smaller city, you might have very few chances to ever talk to a foreigner. Sure, you’ve seen them on movies and on TV, so you’re pretty sure you… Continue Reading →

The Grace to be a Good Idiot

It’s never easy to hold your tongue when you’re being insulted. It’s even harder when it’s a hot, humid, bad China day and you’re being insulted unfairly because of your curtains. How do you find the grace to be a… Continue Reading →

Sometimes We Need the Fluff

“It’s all rubbish,” my friend lamented. We were talking about how depressing it can be to be in our home countries, when it seems like all our friends there want to talk about is the Netflix show they’re addicted to,… Continue Reading →

What 30 Seconds in an Elevator Teaches You About China Today

Our apartment building’s elevator, like so many in China, is equipped with a small TV to play ads for passengers. Captive audience done right, yo. So, every day for about 30 seconds per ride, we get to have short glimpses… Continue Reading →

Today Marks 10 Years in China

Today is the 10th anniversary of our family’s arrival in China. It came and went with much less fanfare than it would have received had I been more prepared. There probably would have been fireworks. But I did pause to… Continue Reading →

How Living Overseas Drained the Extrovert out of Me (Taking Route)

Our organization tends to attract introverts, so, as an extrovert, I tend to stick out like a sore (but happy and chatty) thumb at meetings. The truth is, I’m not as extroverted as I once was. Why the change? As… Continue Reading →

The Night Pizza Made Me Cry

I looked at the lid of the box for a long time, and even took a picture to send to my sister on WhatsApp. She’s an expat, too, so I knew she would understand. What I was holding was a… Continue Reading →

Looking Back with Gratitude at STLW’s First Year

I was just doing a little clean-up work behind the scenes, and realized that it’s been a year since I started posting regularly on this blog. One year and 13 days, to be exact, so I’m nearly two weeks late… Continue Reading →

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