Lizzy and Izzy

Early last summer I caught a gecko darting across my bedroom floor. I named her Lizzy and released her back into the wild. She still came back nearly every night, hanging out on our window, until winter came. I was happy and relieved when the weather started to warm up and she returned. Now she sometimes comes […]

China has saved the pandas!

The giant panda is no longer an endangered species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species downgraded (upgraded?) the status of the much-adored creatures to “vulnerable” on Sunday, citing a 17% increase of pandas in the wild from 2004 to 2014. That’s actually fewer than 300 more pandas in a 10-year […]

On racism

Racism exists. A woman from Texas started speaking to me the other night. She started by wedging herself in between the wall and me and asking me if the bar we were at had any dessert. I pointed her to the food page of the English menu, copies of which we both had, and told […]

Checking in with China, Part 1

It’s been a while since I last blogged. What’s happening in China these days? Bad stuff, it seems. Critics of Western media coverage of China often complain that articles are overwhelmingly negative and rely on easily digested tropes that conform to foreign biases. But reports on China’s current political climate over the past few years […]

Christmas Smog

White Christmas, Red Alerts

It’s another white Christmas in Beijing, probably the whitest one we’ve had. Usually you can see the towers of the Central Business District in the picture above, but not today! City authorities have issued an orange alert – only the second-highest rating on the smog chart – so it’s not so newsworthy in the eyes […]

Ode to my old passport

When I applied for my first adult passport, I never thought I would actually go anywhere with it. Nine years later, it’s been stamped by 19 immigration controls — excluding US and Canada — and filled with Chinese visas. I even added 48 pages to it a few years ago. It’s been stickered all over, […]

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Parade day

It’s a beautiful Thursday in Beijing, one of those rare days where the splendor of the outdoors can actually match that of any other beloved city of the world. It’s in the freshness of the air, in the warmth of the sun, and even in the joviality of everyone on the street. People are lining […]

A conspiracy theory

This is the weather forecast for Beijing. It’s been rainy and overcast for the past three days, and according to the forecast, it will be cloudy tomorrow as well. It can’t be a coincidence that the only sunny day this week will be the day of the parade, can it?