No Such Thing as a Simple Errand

The other day, I was berating myself for having trouble keeping up with household tasks and chores here in China. The last time we lived in the States, we were in a two-story house. With some help from my husband and kids, I managed all the regular household chores fairly easily. Laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, … Read more…

Sorry, Stephen Colbert, but I am America

It happens pretty frequently. I’ll be in a taxi (or restaurant, market, bus…) and the driver (or owner, vendor, fellow passenger…) will ask me where I’m from. I’ll answer, and, if they’re the curious type, they will launch into questions about my home country. Much of the time, it’s “Basic Geography and Culture for $100, … Read more…

Thriving Abroad: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

It’s all too easy to fall into the Complaining Foreigner trap. Living in another culture pits you straight against stuff that is going to rub you the wrong way. After a while, the irritations can become all you think and talk about. (Actually, you’re probably also thinking and talking about everything that suddenly seems so … Read more…

The Grace to be a Good Idiot

If you’re going to live in another country, it’s guaranteed that you are going to feel like an idiot at some point. We have all been there. (Some of us are there so often that we have annual passes.) Often, it’s what we say that makes us sound like idiots. We tell the clerk at … Read more…

An Expat Tale (of Taxis, Trains, and Turkeys)

Every expat has a desperate food story. On the one hand, expats are a flexible bunch when it comes to food. We are arguably the most adaptable people on the planet in this regard. We’ve all learned to substitute for ingredients we cannot get, like ricotta (scalded milk + vinegar and salt, let curdle) or … Read more…