Beijing, we need to talk

Dear Beijing, We need to talk. I’ve known you for three years now and it’s been awesome, really. We’ve had such great times together. Remember camping out on the Wall? Or all those days in the summer when we would just lounge in Chao Yang Park? Man, those were the days! The thing is, “this” … Continue reading

Taking the GRE in China

Wow. It’s been so long. I feel like I haven’t seen you in forever! I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch – work has been busy. No, I haven’t been avoiding you. OK, so maybe it wasn’t just work. But I really have been busy. Let me explain. At the beginning of the summer I … Continue reading

China Road Trip Take 2: Laolongtou and Beidaihe

When spring finally hit Beijing, and every single resident emerged from hibernation to crowd the streets, sidewalks and restaurants, it came time for another road trip. Looking to satisfy one of the only needs Beijing cannot, we headed to the coast to see some waves at Laolongtou and Beidaihe. About three hours northeast of Beijing, … Continue reading

The god of Chinese weather

Every once in a while, the Chinese government inaudibly demonstrates its supreme control over life in the mainland. Now, I’m not exactly saying that we live in an oriental Hunger Games (or at least won’t get into the indisputable overlap between themes in the book and life out East), but the unbelievably fortuitous blue sky … Continue reading

Paintbawlin in Beijing

I’d never gone paintballing before, and frankly was pretty terrified of the idea, but my friend Dave loves it. And Saturday was Dave’s birthday. I was initially relieved that we had decided on paintballing instead of the famous shooting range in Beijing’s suburbs, but once we arrived and I saw the field splattered with white … Continue reading

Koreans are Hardcore

This year, Lunar New Year came early. Three weeks after returning from Christmas in the US, I found myself packing again, this time for South Korea. It would be my first trip in Asia outside Greater China and I was excited to experience a place some Mainlanders claim is what China would be like had … Continue reading

A Chinese Santa

Christmas is the holiday in my world. I’m on my way home to spend it with the fam like we have almost every year before – with the fireplace, stockings, Church run, big dinner and of course, tree. I wouldn’t have it any other way. There have been times, however, when we’ve diverted from the … Continue reading


I Got China-Conned

I often joke that I picked up the talent of easily spotting shady characters from my South America days, along with other paranoid habits such as running whenever I cross a street, but tonight my sixth sense fell short, leaving me 600 kuai shorter. After picking up some cash at the bank, I made an … Continue reading

Side Car Through Beijing

A friend is starting up a sidecar tour group and put out a request for passengers willing to test drive her service. My grandma started her campaign against motorcycles when my cousins and I were young, instilling a fear of motorized two-wheelers at an early age. While I remain hesitant to jump on the back … Continue reading

Road Trip China Part 2 – The Sites

Going through pictures from this past week, it’s amazing how much we managed to pack in with only two non-travel days of a five-day vacation. The first leg of our road trip brought us to Yāntái, a third-tier coastal city located about 746 km (463 miles) from Beijing. Our first full day was mostly spent … Continue reading