small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China



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 →

Grandfather’s Journey (Review)

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say This has got to be my all-time favorite book for those of us who call a foreign country home. Although this is a picture book intended for children, it is a treasure for adults, too.

50 signs you’re an American expat in China

There’s fifty nifty U-ni-ted States, and 50 ways to tell you’re from one of them.

Flipping switches

I wish there was just one big button to press. “Activate China Mode!” And it would be done. I would instantly fit in perfectly here. My brain would switch to Mandarin, my digestive system would immediately be used to handling… Continue Reading →

Insulting the elderly (Taking Route)

The swell gals over at Taking Route have been running a series called “31 Tips for Surviving (Not Crying) in a New Country.” This month, they and guest contributors are sharing all kinds of humorous tales of language and culture… Continue Reading →

8 things Americans do that my Chinese friends find repulsive

With all the nose-picking, loogie-hocking, and public urinating that my Chinese friends and neighbors do, it’s easy to identify habits they have that I find disgusting. It’s been eye-opening for me to discover that we have some habits that disgust… Continue Reading →

6 things to tell my kids before we get back to the States

My kids have spent most of their lives in China, so there are a few American customs they might not be familiar with. I need to remember to coach them through a few of them during the long plane ride… Continue Reading →

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