small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China



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 →

A Story Only China Expats Will Mingbai

How good is your Chinglish? If you can follow this story, I’m guessing you have lived in China hao jiu. The other day, I was buying some ershou furniture from a guy across town but I knew it was going… 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 →

46 Signs China is Permeating Your Soul

The longer you live here, the more China starts seeping into everything you do. Here are 46 signs that your time in China is changing you. 1. The line between ketchup and marinara has blurred. 2. Cherry tomatoes and canned… Continue Reading →

An Expat Tale (Of Taxis, Trains, and Turkeys)

    What is it with U.S. American expats and turkey?!? In honor of Thanksgiving and our beloved bird, I’m recounting a couple crazy turkey tales over at Taking Route today. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving! An Expat Tale (Of Taxis,… Continue Reading →

13 careers living in China prepares you for

Living in China as an expat is like going to a jack-of-all trades vocational school. You’re building quite a resume for your next career. 1. Medical Doctor You’ve become a pro at figuring out what ails you, mostly because you… Continue Reading →

Illiteracy strikes again

“Mom, this salt is green.” Evan was helping me make dinner, and had just opened a new bag of salt. He was making a weird face as he peered inside. “And it smells like fish.” I grabbed the bag, wondering… 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 →

Why it’s so hard to answer the question, “How many times have you moved?”

I’m in the middle of packing up our apartment. Again. In our nearly 17 years of marriage, this will be our 11th move. Or maybe it’s our 14th? No, wait. 18th? Or maybe even 21st? I’ve lost track. I’ve been… Continue Reading →

My hair and China are not on speaking terms

When we moved to China, I knew I’d have to learn a new language, a new culture, and a new toilet. But it never occurred to me that moving to China would affect my hair. Let’s explore the history of… Continue Reading →

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