small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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culture

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  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

What’s on Your 2017 Cultural Bucket List?

It’s a new year! This is the time when we think about goals and plans for the next twelve months. This year, my goals include getting out and exploring the city and culture I’m in. My list includes Chinese zodiac… 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 →

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 →

10 Chinese Customs We Should Import to the U.S.

Although every culture has customs that seem crazy to outsiders (throwing rice at the bride and groom, anyone?) every culture also has customs that just plain make sense. Here are the wonderfully logical customs I would love for my passport… Continue Reading →

Gift of the Magi: Cross-Cultural Edition

I thought I had thought of everything for my daughter’s multi-national birthday party. We invited some friends from Western countries, and we invited some Chinese friends from her preschool class. I knew I’d need to accommodate both groups’ standard arrival… Continue Reading →

Americans drive on the left and other truths I’ve learned

Years ago, I was having a conversation with my Malaysian friend, and we started talking about how Malaysia has a lot of British influence. “We drive on the right like they do,” my friend explained. “Wait, what?” I thought I… Continue Reading →

How many foreigners does it take to change a light bulb?

The bathroom light bulb burned out, and Eric went to go buy a new one. Simple, right? In theory, yes. But, the first shop didn’t have that particular kind of bulb. The next day he went a little further to… Continue Reading →

Bloomability (Review)

If you’re looking for a great book for a middle-school TCK (third culture kid), you’ve found it. Sharon Creech is already recognized as an outstanding writer and storyteller. She is best known for her award-winning book Walk Two Moons. Bloomability… Continue Reading →

The top 5 questions I get asked on both sides of the Pacific

Chinese people are a curious bunch, and most have no qualms about asking foreigners all the questions that pop into their minds when we wander into their store, restaurant, or taxi. But the questions don’t stop when we leave the… Continue Reading →

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