Songyang 松阳: Damunshan Tea Fields and Old Street

Songyang is one of Lishui’s nine counties in Zhejiang and focuses most of its industry in producing high-quality teas. Over 7,500 hectares (about 29 square miles) of the county is devoted solely to the cultivation of tea fields, with more being created every day. A group of friends and I went on an excursion into Zhejiang’s rural countryside in search of these famous tea plantations to experience the hype for ourselves.

It’s Mulberry Season!

Long rows of short, crowded mulberry trees stretched far beneath covered canopies of mesh wire fencing and plastic tarps. We’d driven a bit further out of the main area of town, near the old abandoned west bus station where I’d first taken a trip out with my 8th graders two years ago. The heat was sweltering, and I regretted not putting on more sunscreen as I pulled my hair up out of my eyes. Armed with my little blue basket, I followed my student and his parents into the dense branches of berries…

The Sad Closure of Lishui’s Only Walmart

Word leaked about a month ago that Lishui’s Walmart was to close on April 16, 2019. A document in Chinese that was shared on wechat sent shock waves through our town. While Walmart hasn’t always had it easy breaking into the Chinese market, it had grown to become a beloved store in Lishui.

Happy Year of the Pig!

新年快乐! 恭喜发财! Spring Festival is upon us! This February 5th, 2019 marks the beginning of the year of the Pig! Why is this important? It’s is the final year in the 12th-year zodiac cycle! This means we can all indulge in a huge sigh of relief and reap the benefits of having worked hard the…

Early Holiday Season Recap

It’s been a whirlwind past couple of weeks! Where did November and December go? Now that my classes are finished (as in my classes were co-opted for test review), I actually have free time to blog. Thanksgiving The AYC Thanksgiving this year was held by my friends, Dani and Rachael, as is the tradition for…

Why 666 is a “Lucky Number” in China

It was 2017 when I first heard “666” in my classroom. I was taken aback; my sweet students were shaking their fists with their thumb and pinky out, chanting “six six six” in English at their classmates doing a grammar racing game on the chalk board. I left class that day feeling bemused and more than a little perplexed. After this initial observation, I began noticing 666’s positioned seemingly randomly around town. Pretty sure not everyone was a Satanist, I set out to investigate what was going on.

Rainy Day Blues: Managing My Depression in China

I have depression. It’s taken years of counseling and treatment to make it highly functioning, but it’s there nonetheless. It’s not something that I would ever talk about with my Chinese coworkers or even to a doctor in China. There’s a huge stigma against taking antidepressants here. I’ve heard that those who are able to…

Settling into China (Again)

This summer really flew by didn’t it? My last two months and a half  were mostly spent traveling to see friends and family and spending time with my husband, Mark, and our little dwarf hamster. We were able to squeeze in a visit to a few places we had been meaning to go to such as…

China’s Strange Obsession with Peppa Pig (小猪佩奇)

Remember, back in May of 2018, when a meme on Facebook made the rounds saying, “China banned Peppa Pig for being too Gangsta?!” I remember reading it and laughing at the time, but now I can’t help wishing it was true. Peppa Pig is a British children’s cartoon centered on a young anthropomorphic she-pig, named…