Sorry words, I’ve been cheating on you

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I’ve written the next great American novel via Instagram. I realized recently that I’ve been completely remiss in posting to the site and tried to get to the root of the cause. It turns out that I haven’t bothered writing here since I installed Instagram on…

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When Beijing hands you lemons

By now it’s basically made the news everywhere that Beijing is in the midst of an “airpocalypse” of epic proportions. This past Saturday night the US Embassy air quality monitoring station spat out a terrifying AQI reading of 755. Considering the “acceptable” level is less than 100, and the advisory scale maxes out its severest…

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You are what you eat

Ordering food in China can be tricky if you don’t speak or read Chinese, leading to many a frustrated expat staring into an unanticipated  plate of chopped chicken feet. When I first moved to Beijing in 2005, my Chinese was a bit more limited, which led to a limited set of dishes I could order.…

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Taxi cab confessions

Conversations with taxi drivers generally follow the same formula. I could probably record my side of the conversation a la Ferris Bueller’s doorbell routine and save myself quite a bit of talking time. Yesterday, however, my cab conversation took a turn for the delightfully quirky. It started raining sideways basically the moment I stepped out…

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Patience is a virtue

In case you’re unaware, the current population estimate for China is somewhere around 1.3 billion. Beijing alone is home to at least 20 million, possibly even closer to 25 million. To state the glaringly obvious, that’s a lot of people. Given such a massive population, you would think that people would naturally be used to, you…

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Giving thanks

Western-style ovens are not common in China. I own a sort of toaster oven on steroids, large enough to accomodate a dozen very strategically placed muffin cups. It is not large enough to handle a chicken, never mind a turkey. So, when questions of Thanksgiving dinner arose, my American friends and I were at a…

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Of cabbages and kings

There was terrible traffic. My alarm didn’t go off. The weather really slowed things up. There was a cabbage and fish sale at the grocery store. As far as morning delays go, this is definitely a new one for me. There’s a grocery store in the basement of the building where I work, and when…

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