the best is yet to come

China

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 […]

coming face-to-face with my mortality aka ‘just a typical morning commute in Shanghai’

coming face-to-face with my mortality aka ‘just a typical 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. […]

The AQI Blues

The AQI Blues

The air tastes like burned rubber and cellophane. Today is one of those days where as soon as I open my weather app, it tells me the air quality is ‘very unhealthy’, which means that as soon as I step outside, the air will burn my throat raw […]

The Chinese man selling popcorn

The Chinese man selling popcorn

On Tuesdays, my apartment becomes a Civil War reenactment. From the third floor, we hear the crackling fire of a hand-cranked oven, a voice yelling a signal, and the BOOM of the popcorn machine that follows like clockwork. We’d spent the last few weeks trying to figure out […]

What we write about when we can't find the words to write anymore

What we write about when we can't find the words to write anymore

It happens again. I’ve sat down to start writing this entry several times in the past few weeks, or honestly in the past two months, but everything I’ve written is charged, angry, calamitous, and then resigned. I feel this surge of emotions but then nothing […]