Author Archives: Back Family

How to Rescue a Kitten with a Shop Vac

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 […]

A Story of Animal Neglect Without a Happy Ending

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 […]

We’ve Been Had: Our Own Personal Chinese Scam Story

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 […]

Tropical Vacation 2013, AKA Chinese Grandma Debacle

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 […]

Why Buy a House in China?

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 […]

Chinese Parents and their Children

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 […]

Having an Ayi – What’s WRONG with Me?!

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 […]