small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China

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shopping

Beach on the Ground Floor, Horseback Riding on the Roof

What kinds of entertainment venues do you expect at your nearest mall? A movie theater? An indoor playland for kids? An ice-skating rink? How about a beach and a horse riding arena? That’s what’s now on offer at the mall… Continue Reading →

No Such Thing as a Simple Errand

Anyone else dread going to the grocery store? Actually, in the U.S. it wasn’t something I hated. I actually kind of liked it. But in China, it’s a different story. It’s become a task I really don’t like. It’s physically… Continue Reading →

Happy 520! China’s Newest Day to Celebrate Love (aka Buy Stuff)

Today is 520 (May 20), which, along with Valentine’s Day and Qixi (Chinese Valentine’s Day), is yet another day for young Chinese couples to buy stuff to show that they are in love. Why is May 20th a day for love?… Continue Reading →

To Win Chinese New Year, You Must Master Snacks

If you want to host a Chinese New Year’s party, you’ll find plenty of tips and how-to’s online about what dishes to serve, what decorations to use, different Spring Festival greetings to use, how to accumulate enough fireworks to start… Continue Reading →

What 30 Seconds in an Elevator Teaches You About China Today

Our apartment building’s elevator, like so many in China, is equipped with a small TV to play ads for passengers. Captive audience done right, yo. So, every day for about 30 seconds per ride, we get to have short glimpses… Continue Reading →

Free chicks and lettuce at the mall!

I’m still getting used to living across the street from a mall. It’s weird to be walking distance away from a Burger King, a Uniqlo, and a Tesla dealership, to name a few modern Chinese shopping must-haves. I guess the… 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 →

12 times Taobao made my eyes bleed

You can get anything you want on Taobao (exceptin’ Alice). But just because you can get it doesn’t mean it should have ever come into existence in the first place. Here are 12 things I wish I had never seen.

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