small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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Like Turtles? You’ll Love Yuantong Temple

Tucked away between the famous cherry blossoms of the Kunming Zoo and the famous seagulls of Cuihu (Green Lake) lies a relatively unknown Kunming landmark: Yuantong Temple. Despite its proximity to two of Kunming’s most famous sights, Yuantong Temple remains… Continue Reading →

Clean Water, Copper Pot Rice, and Blueberries Top our Reasons to Visit Fuxian Lake

Located about an hour south of Kunming, Fuxian Lake is China’s second-deepest lake, Yunnan’s third-largest lake, and one of China’s only clean lakes. Flanked by some low mountains, and enjoying the same mild climate as the Kunming area, it’s no… Continue Reading →

Our Three-Wheeler Just Got a Sweet Upgrade

Half a year ago, our lives changed when this sanlunche (three-wheeler) entered the family. We were ecstatic to finally have a vehicle that our whole family could fit into. Suddenly, it meant we could go on short trips and errands… Continue Reading →

These 9 Chinese Notebooks are All the Inspiration You Need

If you’re looking for a creative boost, a muse to whisper ideas to you, or just something to give you a kick in the pants, look no further than your local Chinese stationery store. Instead of dismissing the bizarre English the… 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 →

Dragon Boat Festival without the Dragon Boats (but with Captain America!)

This Thursday is Duanwu Jie, otherwise known as Dragon Boat Festival in English. There are various stories on the origin of this festival, usually including the somewhat macabre tale of villagers tossing zongzi (keep reading for what these are) into… Continue Reading →

Let’s Play Overseas Mom Guilt Bingo!

All moms struggle with mom guilt, but I think living overseas adds an extra layer of struggle. We get all the normal worries plus fun bonus ones like tropical diseases and second languages. We beat ourselves up for all the ways we… Continue Reading →

Happy 520! China’s Newest Day to Celebrate Love (aka Buy Stuff)

Today is 520 (May 20), which, along with Valentine’s Day and Qixi (Chinese Valentine’s Day), is yet another day for young Chinese couples to buy stuff to show that they are in love. Why is May 20th a day for love?… Continue Reading →

Four Months Later, Kunming is Still Recovering From the Big Freeze

In late January, Kunming was hit with three days of below-freezing weather. While it’s not unusual for Kunming to get some snow every few years, the fact that temperatures remained below freezing for so long was devastating to much of… Continue Reading →

Thriving Abroad: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

I don’t know about you, but it was pretty easy to love China when I first got here. Most of us are very familiar with the honeymoon stage of culture shock, right? Everything is new and exciting and wonderful! Unfortunately,… Continue Reading →

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