small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

Tag

faux pas

I’m Not That Tall

Let’s just get this out of the way up front: I’m tall. 5’10”, in fact. Possibly 5’9 3/4” if we’re being really exact, but, honestly, no one cares about that quarter inch. In the United States of America, 5’10” is… Continue Reading →

Stop with the Thank Yous!

Have you ever been going merrily along in the language you’ve been learning only to hit a big bump when you discover that a word you’ve been using for forever doesn’t mean what you thought it meant? That happened to… Continue Reading →

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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