The Sauna Days of Summer in China – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my recent post titled The Sauna Days of Summer in China, a reflection on the extreme heat we’ve had to endure in recent weeks. Here’s an excerpt:

It was 2 pm on a sultry weekday afternoon when I left the refuge of our air-conditioned office to brave the heat with my colleagues. We wouldn’t have chosen to leave then, apart from the mandatory meeting we had. And even then, we did everything we could to avoid the elements, even opting to cross the grounds in the underground parking tunnels, instead of striding across that infernal square and its blinding white hot concrete that almost seared your eyes just staring at it.

Even so, once we emerged from the elevator into the shaded corridor, we were immediately buffeted by the waves of heat which rose, much like steam from an oven, from that square. It felt like a scene from Dante’s “Inferno” and yet it was no fictional account, but our summer reality on a day which delivered record temperatures and no relief in sight.

Welcome to the sauna days of summer in China.

Read the full post on WWAM BAM. And if you like it, share it!

5 Tips to Survive S China’s Monsoon Season in Your Home – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my latest piece titled 5 Tips to Survive S China’s Monsoon Season in Your Home. Here’s an excerpt:

Once again, a mantle of gray clouds the heavens, which have been steadily “weeping” all day, dispelling thoughts of hiking or picnics.

Yes, we’ve entered southern China’s monsoon season, that time of year when the humidity reaches 100 percent under a curtain of rain as everything from hiking to even hanging laundry out to dry becomes impossible. And don’t even get me started about the mold that creeps into the corners of your rooms and closets indoors.

So how can you survive?

As someone who has experienced many years of monsoon seasons south of China’s Yangtze River, I would like to share some of the ways I’ve learned to adapt and even thrive:

Head on over to WWAM BAM to read the full post. And if you like it, share it!

Domestic Violence in China: Helpful Resources for Foreign Women – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just recently published my short post sharing some domestic violence resources for foreign women in China. Here’s an excerpt:

Not everyone finds themselves happily ever after in love. Breakups, separations and divorces happen, and so does domestic violence or abuse, including to foreign women in China.

What do you do if you’re in China and facing domestic violence or abuse?

Since this question surfaces from time to time within the WWAM community — including in online discussions in which we’ve participated — we wanted to share some resources…

Head on over to WWAM BAM to read the full post — and if you like it, share it!

What It’s Like Amid China’s Current COVID Outbreak – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my latest post titled What It’s Like Amid China’s Current COVID Outbreak. Here’s an excerpt:

Here in China, we’re experiencing the worst nationwide COVID-19 outbreak ever since the pandemic began.

Of course, “worst” might be subjective for those of you who live in a country that has been continually ravaged by COVID-19 since the pandemic first swept across the globe.

As I write this post, in China we’re seeing around 1,500 to 2,000 new confirmed cases and over 2,000 asymptomatic ones across the nation per day. That’s in contrast to what previously used to count as a “severe” outbreak — around 100 to 200 confirmed cases daily nationwide.

What does it mean for those of us on the ground?

Head on over to WWAM BAM to read the full piece. And if you like it, share it!

Why ‘Auspicious Snow Heralds a Good Year’ in Chinese Culture – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my latest piece, inspired by a magical snowfall that greeted us one morning, early in the Year of the Tiger. Here’s a snippet of the post titled Why ‘Auspicious Snow Heralds a Good Year’ in Chinese Culture:

A heavy “goose feather” snowfall had dusted the landscape outside our window, drawing my husband out of bed with a childlike thrill as he stood there, aiming to capture the magic of the moment in the lens of a camera.

And of course, he couldn’t help deeming it a propitious thing, with that traditional Chinese saying: 瑞雪兆丰年 (ruì xuě zhào fēng nián) — auspicious snow heralds a good year.

Such a warm embrace of snow deep into February would surely find a chilly reception in my hometown of the Cleveland, Ohio area in the US.

Read the full piece at WWAM BAM — and if you like it, share it!

via GIPHY

Season of Super Savings for Veteran Singles Day Shopper – Pub’d on China Daily

push cart and a white paperbag

China Daily just published my latest column titled Season of super savings for veteran Singles Day shopper. Here’s an excerpt:

I’ve already made my list and checked it twice-my shopping list, that is, for Singles Day, which traditionally falls on Nov 11 each year.

While some have compared Singles Day to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it has since eclipsed those two to generate more sales than both combined, becoming the world’s largest shopping event. It is also the most wonderful time of the year for many shoppers like me, with 2021 marking my eighth consecutive occasion to take part online through Alibaba’s Taobao platform.

After so many years of participating in the shopping spree, I’ve witnessed and experienced how it has evolved over the years, for the benefit of consumers like me.

You can read the full piece here. And if you like it, share it!

P.S.: To those of you participating in the shopping festival, wishing you a very merry Singles Day! 😉

Seeding a Lifelong Love of Autumnal ‘Super Fruit’ – Pub’d on China Daily

sliced pomegranate

China Daily recently published my latest column titled Seeding a lifelong love of autumnal ‘super fruit’. Here’s an excerpt:

The arrival of autumn has left me enchanted once again with its bountiful harvest of pomegranates. And as I savor this gem of the fruit world, I can’t help but reflect on how living in China actually introduced me to the wonders of this unique food.

While pomegranate juice had always been a favorite of mine, for a long time, I couldn’t say the same for the actual fruit. Admittedly, appearances played a big role in my anti-pomegranate prejudices. It’s a bunch of pulpy little seeds, I had thought. How could anyone possibly take pleasure in eating that?

But by chance, my bias was challenged, thanks to a family gift several years ago.

A handful of small, spindly pomegranate trees grow just outside the gate of the family home in rural Zhejiang, and the branches were pendulous with the fruit every fall. So one autumn, my mother-in-law gave me and my husband a bag heaped with pomegranates she had picked herself.

At first, I shunned the seemingly burdensome pile of fruit on our dinner table, as well as my husband Jun’s every attempt to cajole me into taking a bite. But with each passing day, where he continued to nibble on pomegranate and offer me a taste of the seeds, eventually curiosity prevailed.

I popped a handful in my mouth, preparing to be underwhelmed, and instead found myself stunned in the best possible way. The seeds were bursting with that same rich, sweet-tart flavor I had come to cherish about pomegranate juice, except it was superior to anything I had encountered in liquid form. These weren’t a bunch of forgettable, pulpy seeds-they sparkled that day as ambrosial jewels of fruit.

Just like that, one taste converted me into a lifelong fan.

You can read the full piece online — and if you like it, share it.

German Woman Makes Lantern on Mid-Autumn TV Special in China

Sabrina, a German woman with a Chinese husband who has lived in China for eight years, appeared on a TV special on China Central Television Channel 4 to mark the Mid-Autumn Festival. In the segment, which lasts 3 minutes and 30 seconds, she makes a traditional lantern and then showcases her handiwork during an evening walk in a park, all while speaking Mandarin.

You can watch the segment here on Youtube. Or, if you’re in China, catch it on the CCTV website here.

And for those of you in China currently on holiday, wish you a wonderful National Day!

Two-Year Engagement: Italian Woman Saves Up Money Before Meeting Indonesian Fiancee

An Italian woman and Indonesian man meet, fall in love and agree to marry. 

Sounds straightforward enough? But not if you include that the two met online, and that it took two years of hard work and saving money for the young lovers to finally see each other in person.

This pre-pandemic love story, published in the Jakarta Post, still had the power to tug at my heartstrings, with details like this:

Ilaria said she conveyed her plan to marry Dzulfikar to her parents in Italy and that they gave her consent to do so. “For two years, I saved money I got from working in a restaurant in Italy just to come to Indonesia,” said Ilaria.

The full story, which you can read online, includes photos of the two.

Wherever Ilaria and Dzulfikar are, here’s wishing the two of them the happily ever after they deserve!

What do you think of this story?

‘Love Nang’ a Souvenir of Affection from Heart – Pub’d on China Daily

China Daily this month published my column about the “love nang” I carried back from my trip this summer. Here’s an excerpt, which captures the moment when I just boarded my return plane bound for Beijing:

…I was still clutching to my chest a rather unusual package, wondering if it would even fit in the overhead compartment.

It was circular and flat, wider than the car tires on your average sedan, and more than 2 kilograms in weight-too heavy for the plastic bags around it, leaving one set of handles in tatters. Through the layers of plastic bags and the pink brocade covering, I could feel how a few small pieces had already broken off inside. This led me to grip it even tighter, worried it might not survive under the weight of someone’s carry-on suitcase.

After all, this was not your typical souvenir, but rather-as my colleagues had dubbed it-a stack of “love nang“.

Read the full piece here — and if you like it, share it!