small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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9 Ways China Expats Offend on U.S. Soil

I try to remember how to act American, I really do. But so much of behavior runs on a subconscious autopilot setting, and mine stays set to “China mode” even after landing in the States. Yours, too? It takes a… 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 →

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 →

Yunnan Mint Butter Beef

We moved to Kunming nearly two years ago. It’s high time I started adding some Yunnan recipes to my repertoire. So, here’s dish #1. My creation is loosely based on an iron-plank beef dish my family loves here in Kunming. It’s… 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 – The Showdown Winner!

It’s time to announce the winner of the Fork vs. Chopsticks SHOWDOWN! Honestly, I thought these two utensils would be evenly matched, and we’d be seeing a very close race. However, it quickly became clear that one of them was winning by… 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

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