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, […]

At the top of the Rough Ridge Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Home, Sweet Home

There’s nothing like returning home again after a long spell overseas. The excitement of seeing family and friends again. The joy of being able to do the things you used to do. And mostly, the ease of it all. Things aren’t constantly threatening to break down. Dust takes much longer to accumulate. Everything is literally […]

Fake Harbin

Harbin is quite an unusual city. For starters, its name in Chinese is three characters, deriving from a Manchu word. And its history as a Russian base has left an indelible European imprint on the city. But other than the unusual architecture and the local’s apparent love for ice cream popsicles, it really did seem […]

Harbin from the Songhua River (???)


Boyfriend and I went to Harbin, way up in the far reaches of northeastern China, for the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend. The city of 10 million is known for its bitterly cold winters (-40 degrees!), during which it holds an ice sculpture festival with giant icy monuments dotting the city. For those brave enough […]

Angkor Wat at sunrise.

Recent travels

After spending a total of two days last year in countries I’d never been to before, I’m happy to say that I’ve been traveling a lot more this year. So far I’ve knocked out three more countries — and it’s only May June! Here’s a round-up of my adventures in Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia:

West Lake Bridge


Boyfriend and I took a semi-impromptu trip down to Hangzhou (杭州) last weekend during the Qingming holiday. We had discussed going two weeks before but didn’t actually get around to booking train tickets and hotel until just a few days before we left. As such, the trains were nearly all sold out and most hotels […]

On the dairy trail in San Francisco

San Francisco is a food lover’s paradise. With restaurants covering just about every type of cuisine in the world (we had everything from Shaanxi to Scandinavian, from donuts to Vietnamese), it is almost impossible to stop eating, lest you miss out on something special. Ingredients are also usually locally sourced, fresh and organic. While the […]

On the edge of the United States, looking up at Sutro Beach.

San Francisco

It was time to get a new visa, so back to the States I went. The visa run, a time-honored tradition for expats living in China, may seem quite inconvenient, but I love the opportunity to travel on the company’s dime. A free trip home? Why not! This time, the timing was especially convenient because […]

A weekend in Hebei

Way back at the beginning of April, one of our best Chinese friends graciously invited Boyfriend and me to his hometown for a long weekend. He is from Gaobeidian (高碑店), a “city” about two hours from Beijing by bus in the neighboring province of Hebei. I say “city” because even though my friend says it […]