small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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Seasons & Holidays

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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