small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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apartment life

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 →

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 →

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 →

It’s All Fun and Games until Your Pipes Burst

A giant cold front has been drifting across a big chunk of Asia the past few days. It’s probably not making the news since the blizzard on the east coast of the U.S. is much bigger and badder, but it’s… 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 →

An Open Letter to the Cockroaches in our Apartment

Dear Cockroaches, We had a bargain. You were supposed to stay out of sight. Wait until all humans in the apartment were completely asleep. Not just in the back bedroom for a bit, scrolling through Facebook, liable to stumble back… Continue Reading →

9 Noises that Wake You in China

No matter where you live, there are things that keep you from getting your ZZZs. Here are nine things that have disturbed our slumber while living in China. 1. Drinking games There’s nothing like old men shouting numbers in Cantonese… Continue Reading →

7 crazy quirks that make our apartment…special

I’m sure every home in the world has its own quirks, but in our experience, apartments in China are extra-special in that department. As I pack up this home before our move, I’m reminded of the little bits of craziness… Continue Reading →

The Great Ant Invasion: Day IV

We’ve had ants in this apartment ever since we moved in. Our househelper says it’s because we are on the second floor and surrounded by trees. I think she’s right. She also pointed out that the apartment below us has… Continue Reading →

How to clean a faucet (tap) head in China

Several years ago, a friend was over at our apartment in China. When he was washing his hands, he noticed that there was barely any water coming out of the faucet. We had always assumed that the water pressure was… Continue Reading →

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