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How to get to the DMZ (and get back safely)

How to get to the DMZ (and get back safely)

There are two security checkpoints at the DMZ. We take out our passports and an armed guard verifies them against the passport numbers we provided at the start of the morning. He gives a salute to our van driver, who salutes him back and we […]

Homecoming

I never got around to publishing this last week. I’m working on something about my time in St. Petersburg now, but my feelings are so different from what I wrote last week that I feel this needs to be published before I write anything else.  […]

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 […]

I got stung by a jellyfish in Malaysia

I got stung by a jellyfish in Malaysia

twelve mai tais Happy Hour is from 11am to 5pm and it just seems irresponsible not to order four at once. Mai Tais in hand, we walk up and down wet sand part of the white beach. We each take turns recreating the Baywatch slow-motion […]

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 […]

Breaking the rules when you live abroad

Breaking the rules when you live abroad

There are times when it feels the life in China is nothing but an exercise in skirting rules and regulations. Everything is legal here, until you ask someone whether something is illegal – so in most cases, it’s better not to ask. Everything is legal […]

What we understand and misunderstand about coming back home

It’s not easy to come home. First, there’s the sixteen hours of the flight back, which is in itself a special kind of torture. There’s the reverse culture shock, this inability to comprehend what it’s like to be among people who speak your native language. […]

Boiled Brains and other things that no longer frighten me

Boiled Brains and other things that no longer frighten me

The hot pot tasted of spoilt milk and grey, maze-like brain bits bobbled among the mushrooms and the red dates of the soup. Our waitress had told us that there would be no meat in the broth we were ordering, but obviously something had been lost in translation. So, […]

The beautifully-curated life 

The beautifully-curated life 

Things I’ve thought about this past week: D and I celebrated our second anniversary. To be honest, I’ve spent the past month dreading the day – and for absolutely no good reason. There’s something about being with a person whom I love so much that […]