the best is yet to come


Spanish paella, LobsterFest 2017, and other reasons to celebrate Spring

Spanish paella, LobsterFest 2017, and other reasons to celebrate Spring

I had planned to write about how the miserable of the past week, but instead I’m writing about the beautiful. I’m writing about the beautiful, because life in Shanghai has reached peak levels of the exhausting and the absurd, and when things get tough, there’s really no […]

The courage to eat with a spoon

The courage to eat with a spoon

Learning to use chopsticks in China is easy. Learning when not to use them is hard.   Dinner in Shanghai – my home for the past two years – is rarely eaten alone. A dinner is the sort of grand occasion where one squeezes a group of […]

Leaving WordPress

Leaving WordPress

I’ve done it. I’m self-hosting my blog! This feels like a big step, because Skipping Customs (first called Pasta Republic) is something I started over three years ago and over the three years it’s become a place where I’ve been able to openly (or sometimes not openly) document […]

The G20 Blues

There are time when I look up at the night sky in Shanghai and I can’t help but feel sad because it’s always impossible to see the stars in its murky grayness. Last December, back in Massachusetts after a 16-hour flight home, I remember pulling up […]


“Foreign girls are so brave. Your parents cut you off at 18 and then you’re left on your own. I wish people in China did something similar.” I nod, silently wishing that I could still spend the rest of my manicure finishing up the Sunday Times, but the girl […]

Living healthy in China is exceedingly hard

a.k.a. How to survive Shanghai despite your daily diet of gutter oil and smog.

Feeling all alone, from the other side of the world

This isn’t a post about loneliness. This is a post about the internet. Since about last Wednesday (March 2nd to be exact), we’ve largely had no internet over here in China. The connection has been deteriorating day by day, until sometime this afternoon we completely […]

E.coli or not, I will never give up on you, Chipotle

A sentence I thought I’d never say: This is the fourth time I’ve gone back to the U.S. in a year and a half. It’s no longer as shocking as it used to be, and maybe that’s a good thing. The first time back, there’s this tendency […]

On eating dumplings and wrapping tacos

Zandie effortlessly pops the entire clove of garlic into her mouth. It’s Chinese New Year and we’re bao-ing dumplings to celebrate, as per new year’s eve tradition. The garlic clove just finished its swim in a shallow dish of shaoxing wine vinegar, but the pungency is still there. […]