the best is yet to come

China

When it rains..

When it rains..

This weekend, it poured. It didn’t just pour, it typhooned. I got caught in a massive rainstorm running errands on Saturday and hid out under an awning on Changle Lu while the rain came down in sheets and other people littered under store fronts hoping […]

Wet Hot Shanghai Summer

Wet Hot Shanghai Summer

  I have no idea how to start writing this blog post, because I’m drenched in sweat and that’s all I can think about. We’re currently in a Heatmaggedon (if CNN made Snowmaggedon a thing, I can call this Heatmaggedon). It’s boiling hot. Not quite […]

How to trick people into thinking you’re glistening, not sweating, and other things I’ve yet to learn this summer.

How to trick people into thinking you’re glistening, not sweating, and other things I’ve yet to learn this summer.

The roar of the cicadas in the summer is deafening. The past few weeks have been deafening, sweltering, and muggy. Seriously, Shanghai is a stifling oven cracked all the way up to broil. Actually, no, not an oven. That’s not excruciating enough of a metaphor. […]

Shanghai-Tested: My first ‘Chinese’ haircut

Shanghai-Tested: My first ‘Chinese’ haircut

The hairstylist put down the bleach and took out a jar of brown dye. That’s when I realized something had gone awry.  As part of my recent deep-dive into embracing China local life, I took the plunge and did something I had never done before – I let someone who […]

A morning commute in Shanghai

A morning commute in Shanghai

  My scooter slips. I skid into a crack on the pavement and veer sharply to the left. The man on a motorbike to my left narrowly avoids me and squeezes past, unfazed. The car behind us screeches to a halt, the driver’s palm glued […]

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 […]

If I put soy milk into my latte, am I Chinese enough for China?

If I put soy milk into my latte, am I Chinese enough for China?

  I’ve been on a huge China kick the last couple of weeks – I’ve finally started getting groceries online from YiHaoDian (an online Wal-Mart/Amazon hybrid where I can buy puppy food, sparkling water, and a Kindle all in one go), ordering lunch through ele.me and meituan then giving […]

What is a normal Shanghai experience?

What is a normal Shanghai experience?

I can never really put my finger on what it means to live in Shanghai. And I mean, live in Shanghai, to get the most out of this city, while still remaining honest to my identity outside of it. A few friends came through town this last weekend. […]