small town laowai

an Americanish life in backwater China



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 →

8 Observations about the First 5 Hours in America

Like many American expats, June is the month our family boarded a plane back to the U.S. It’s always surreal to arrive back in the Land of the Free and Home of the Big Gulp. And there’s nothing like the… Continue Reading →

8 Reasons the U.S. and China are Basically Twins

There are times when it feels like the U.S. and China are the farthest apart you could possibly get in terms of culture, language, and many other aspects of life. However, the two countries actually have quite a bit in… Continue Reading →

The Force Won’t Awaken for Another 23 Days in China (Not That I’m Counting)

So, the world is seeing Star Wars today. Well, most of the world, anyway. My Facebook feed has blown up with pictures of movie tickets, friends in Star Wars T-shirts and costumes, and threats that they’ll unfriend me if I share… Continue Reading →

Commemorating the End of WWII at the Flying Tigers Museum

China is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. On Friday, a military parade in Beijing grabbed the whole world’s attention. Yesterday morning, on the opposite side of the country, my family and I went to… Continue Reading →

Top 10 things I get overly excited about when visiting the U.S.

We’re only in the States for a precious few weeks this summer, so I’m packing the time full with all the stuff I miss while we’re in China. Since the theme at Velvet Ashes is “Top 10” this week, I… Continue Reading →

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.

Adopting from U.S. foster care while living abroad

May is National Foster Care Month in the U.S.! I know several expat families here in China who have considered adoption, but have gotten stuck because it seems too difficult, or too costly, while living overseas. If you are considering… 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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