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Recent Posts

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 most beautiful things about Florence

The most beautiful things about Florence

I feel like the word breathtaking is overrated. We use it so much that when something truly takes our breath away – and I mean with that sharp intake of breath and an utter loss for words, I completely lack the vocabulary to put my feelings into words. […]

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 […]

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. […]