Leftover Impressions of China

Dongbei, the region composed of three provinces in the very northeast of China, was particularly well-represented in our company for some reason none of us could figure out. A blunt, sometimes rough-around-the-edges people even by Chinese standards, Dongbei-ren (“ren” means people) have stories of icy winters, growing up without a phone in the house, coal-Continue reading “Leftover Impressions of China”

Perks of Living in China

Many outsiders are unaware of what life in China is really like, and some of the lame stereotypes making the rounds are just silly. Expat life there has its perks, and China does many things well. In the wake of anti-Asian sentiment and hateful, ignorant racism, I’d like to chime in and brag on theContinue reading “Perks of Living in China”

VPNs and the Great Firewall

For foreigners, life goes on as normal until a national holiday or politically sensitive anniversary rolls around. That’s when the VPNs stop working. I never could get used to how eerie that felt – you think the VPN is the workaround, the sneaky backdoor around the Great Firewall, but then you find out they canContinue reading “VPNs and the Great Firewall”

What’s Suzhou Like? (Part 2)

The last post discussed Suzhou in very general terms, so here’s the good stuff – inside details on where to go, what to do, and where everyone hangs out on the weekend! (The focus here is on places that are maximally accessible to non-Chinese speakers like myself.) Suzhou Center is so obvious it has toContinue reading “What’s Suzhou Like? (Part 2)”

Diving In

Oh, man! The first few months in China were chaotic, and therefore a rousing good time. (Those are ducks in the picture above, by the way.) My definition of a good time, mind you, is sheltered and quirky and rather skewed, and if you haven’t met me, now is probably the time to warn youContinue reading “Diving In”