The Ladder

I’m standing at the bottom of the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province. Next to me, the JinSha river rushes its way down the enormous canyon it’s made for itself.

I should be filled with wonder. But I am exhausted. I just wanna go home.

And my way back is a ladder.

A rickety ladder nailed to a vertical cliff.

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Fashion Advice from Mainland China

During my four years in China, I couldn’t help but notice the fashion trends. If you ever feel the need to pass as a local in the Mainland, here’s the lowdown:

Get the T-Shirt

Buy T-shirts with any semblance of English words printed in big letters. This will boost your social cred considerably, giving you that multilingual jet-setter look.

If possible, get something you don’t understand, it will make you look superior to others who don’t either, but assume you do.

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Fruit Tea and Jam by Anna

When I first met Anna I liked her straight away. Maybe it was her fluffy hat and dimply grin, maybe it was the bright flowers on her table, or maybe it was because she offered me a free sample of fruit tea, yum! I tried her homemade tea and jam and came straight back for more. She uses whole fruit and flower combinations that just really work well – in a teacup or on toast, amazing! I asked if I could interview her and she responded with an invitation to dinner. 

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Favourite Mistakes

Slide4Yes, we all enjoy having a giggle over the myriad of ‘Chinglish’ mistakes we see all around us in China. I myself was posting a picture of a menu offering “catch-up sauce” when it occurred to me: what about the other way around? Do our mistakes in Chinese get laughed about? So I investigated the most common and the most embarrassing mistakes made by foreigners and have distilled my favourites into a nice list below – over which you are welcome to ‘LYFAO’. Continue reading

A Cup of Milk Tea

milkteaWhat could be more simple than ordering a cup of milk tea?

After a few months of being restricted to cafes with picture books as menus, I began to rue the loss of my eloquence as I could only point to things I wanted with a childlike, “这个”(zhège: this one) and “那个” (nàgè: that one). Feeling like an idiot soon became a bore.

So I decided to expand my vocabulary range using café menus as my textbook. One morning I decided to take the plunge and order a milk tea… properly. As I waited in line, I looked up the words I thought I would need: Continue reading

The Vegetable Community

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The education system in China is strict and exacting, and there is no relief to be found at home for the students either. Their piles of homework are notoriously high, and competition for top-of-the-class is more fierce among parents than the students themselves. I don’t need to explain the negative impact it has on society. It is so ingrained in the culture that I was beginning to wonder if change was even possible. Then I found the Vegetable Community.  Continue reading