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 […]

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 […]

How terrible a place is Beijing?

Judging by the lengths the government is going to make Beijing a “nice” place — pretty terrible! Here are some emergency measures being taken to turn this city around for the two weeks APEC will be in town: Pollution: Government officials have promised nice air for APEC, by closing factories and kicking people out of […]

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 […]

US v. China: Hail edition

Weather: Everyone experiences it. In addition to our humanity and our egos, it is a common denominator that binds us together. But we also experience it differently. In the case of extremely large hail, we in the United States might compare the size of hailstones to, say, golf balls, as this recent Gawker article did: […]

US v. China: Soccer edition

The World Cup has begun, and my mind has been consumed by soccer. So, in that respect, I direct you to an excellent story in the Economist about the sport and how it is followed/played less religiously in the four biggest countries in the world (by population) than elsewhere. On this front, the United States […]