Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋节快乐!

I often liken the Mid-Autumn Festival to Thanksgiving in the USA, but Mid-Autumn festival has more similar counterparts in Korea and Japan (with the Chuseok and Tsukimi holidays). During this holiday in China, family members will cook and eat traditional foods, watch tv together, and enjoy the full moon.

Chengdu 成都: The “Special Flavor” of Sichuan food

Sichuan spice is no joke. Sichuan peppercorns are known for their mouth-numbing properties, while a plethora of other spicy ingredients can have sweat and tears running down your face. Thankfully, not all Sichuan-style dishes are so volatile, though! For those with lighter palates, Sichuan food can also be sweet, savory and refreshing.

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…

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…

Hong Kong香港: Asia’s World City Part I Kowloon

Bright sunlight sparkled on the water amidst the bobbing solar panels scattered about the ocean. The Shenzhen skyline faded in the distance as my friend, Carol, and I rode a crowded double-decker bus early in the morning across the bridge to the palm tree-lined coast of Hong Kong (HK).  Sounds of Cantonese had washed over…

Xiamen厦门: Barcelona of the East, Garden on the Sea

All year I’ve been bombarded with tales of how amazing Xiamen is – mainly that it’s a gorgeous island with a plethora of great food. After spending a day and half in this city, I can say that they were right! In the short amount of time I was here, Xiamen has become one of…

12 Quirky Things to Know Before Visiting China

Maybe you’ve watched Disney’s Mulan a few hundred times and have a strong hankering to find your own Shang or to see The Great Wall. Perhaps you’re intrigued by how hard people say the language is or have come to buy “luxury goods” for cheap. Great! It is an awesome land with good food, loads of history and scenic places. But, for whatever reason you visit –it helps to come a little bit prepared to ensure minimal culture shock.

After living in China for nearly five years, I’ve made a list of things I wish people would have told me before I came. I’ve narrowed it down to my top 12 quirks, here.