A couple of weeks ago we were walking home in the dark through our neighborhood and heard a kitten crying off the path. Of course, we find the cries of kittens irresistible in this family, so we went to investigate. The cries were coming from a pipe under a rock just over a dry stream […]

This is a story of callousness and neglect that I am sure happens all over the world, even back home in the good old US of A, but it also feels like such a China-specific story, reflecting the Chinese attitude toward animals that I’m sure stems from the fact that not too long ago Chinese […]

Last January about 3 weeks before rent was due, I asked my friend to call my landlord and ask about the details for paying rent on February 15 (he doesn’t speak English, so she always helps us). The next day I got a message with a bank account number and a name. It was at […]

You know how memory softens everything and everyone in it, and it’s easy to forget the negatives and just remember the positives? Well, Nainai has been in Hainan (China’s Hawaii) for a year now. She’d call occasionally to remind us that she exists, but otherwise we had kind of forgotten, except for once, out of […]

One of the most popular questions I get asked by Chinese people is, do we rent or own our apartment? You know, when we first moved in and I was told how much the apartment cost, compared to the amount of rent we pay, I was shocked, but I didn’t really think through why exactly […]

I want to share a little something about a friend of mine, relating to Chinese parents and their children. In China, it’s not uncommon for Chinese children to live with their grandparents rather than their parents. Maybe their parents are poor rural people who move to the cities for jobs and send money back home […]

I do not know what my problem is. I hate having an ayi. I do like coming home on a day I happen to be out all morning and haven’t seen her at all, and I come home and my house is clean. Like magic. And I should be clear that my ayi is a […]

This is something that happened last year, and at first I felt so terrible about it that I didn’t want to talk about it, and then I forgot about it, but for some reason I was reminded of it recently. It was back when the boys were still two, just before they turned three, and […]

So much has been happening lately that I almost have an excuse for never writing blog posts. Brian has changed jobs (though he’s still at his old job for two more weeks to fulfill the part of his contract that says he must give 30 days’ notice), and will be teaching at an American high […]

One of my first brushes with real life in China was the trip to the Tianjin International Travel Clinic which I posted about here–I guess it’s one way to weed through all the foreigners who want to live here and keep only the ones who can handle Chinese-style medical affairs and ridiculous red tape. My […]