small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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faux pas

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 →

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 →

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 →

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