Nothing But Dragonwell Tea for Me, Please – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post titled Nothing But Dragonwell Tea for Me, Please. Here’s an excerpt:

Among the rituals I observe every morning when I arrive bleary-eyed to work, nothing perks up my senses more than the moment I open the little light-blue canister in my desk drawer and take that first whiff of West Lake Longjing, or Dragonwell, tea leaves. The aroma of those lightly roasted leaves recalls memories of fresh tea on the bushes while walking through high mountain fields. Even just wandering through those fields in my mind, prompted by the sight and scent of Dragonwell tea leaves, delights me on the most dreary of days.

No other tea will do. My allegiance to the stuff runs so deep that I always prepare a stash of it whenever I travel.

You can read the full post at WWAM BAM. And if you like it, share it!

 

‘How’s COVID in China?’: Awkward Convos from Different Sides of Pandemic – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post titled ‘How’s COVID in China?’: Awkward Convos from Different Sides of Pandemic. Here’s an excerpt:

How’s the COVID situation in China?

I hesitated to type a response to my friend back in the US, as the latest media reports of the virus situation over there — over 250,000 deaths and over 12 million confirmed cases — still circulate through my head. When I eventually type out that “Things are nearly back to normal”, a part of me flinches within, wondering if I just sent her the message equivalent of a gut punch. Is it ever polite to tell someone living in a bonafide disaster zone that it’s no longer a problem where you live? Even if it’s the truth?

I breathe a sigh of relief as she responds without any apparent annoyance, and I do my best to quickly shift topics to something else. But my guilt remains tenacious — the guilt that comes from living in a country that has nearly restored life to the new “normal”, as friends and family in the US, my home country, face a frightening surge of cases and deaths.

I wish my family and friends didn’t have to live with the threat of COVID-19 stalking them so close to home.

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

Post-COVID Air Travel in China: Easier Than I Imagined – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my piece Post-COVID Air Travel in China: Easier Than I Imagined. Here’s an excerpt:

It was less than 24 hours before my flight to Ningxia was scheduled to take off from Beijing Capital International Airport, and already I found myself grappling with a new form of travel-related anxiety.

What was it like to go through the airport in China in the post-COVID era? Did I have everything I needed to ensure a smooth check-in, security check and boarding experience? Would I have a harder time as a foreigner?

I was already bracing for delays and hiccups, after being advised by a colleague to arrive at the airport at least two and a half hours ahead of departure because he said processing foreign passengers was “more trouble”.

So imagine my surprise the following day at the airport, when I breezed through every procedure in record time, without so much as an unexpected holdup of any kind. Going to the airport in China in the post-COVID era proved far easier than I expected.

Here’s a rundown of what I experienced while going through airports during my trip — to help you know what to expect next time you do any domestic air travel in China.

To find out what my experience was like with domestic air travel in China — and why it turned out to be easier than I ever expected — head on over to WWAM BAM to read the full post.

P.S.: If you’re curious about how the rest of my journey went, check out my post Photo Essay: Ningxia Video Shoot (More Than Just Goji Berries).

Phillipa Soo of ‘Hamilton’ Speaks of Biracial (Chinese/European) Family Background

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post titled Phillipa Soo of ‘Hamilton’ Speaks of Biracial (Chinese/European) Family Background. Here’s the introduction:

Call me “Helpless”, but after watching the live-stage performance of the musical “Hamilton”, I simply had to write about Phillipa Soo, who originated the role of Eliza Hamilton and also happens to have a Chinese American father and a European American mother.

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

Ditching Beijing Subway for a Chevy: A Tale of Caution Amid Reopening – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post Ditching Beijing Subway for a Chevy: A Tale of Caution Amid Reopening. Here’s an excerpt:

Before the virus, it seemed unimaginable that my colleagues at the office in Beijing would brave the snarl of traffic jams in their own four wheels.

Most of the cars parked at work usually belong to managers or supervisors – people who had put in years there or brought seniority to their position, and were rewarded with a designated space, surely one of the most coveted possessions in Beijing, if not most major Chinese cities.

But just the other day, my colleague – a local who is not a supervisor, manager or anyone with years of seniority – announced that he had ditched the subway for his own Chevy while we were chatting after work.

He used to commute in on the subway before the virus, he admitted. But now his navy-blue sedan ferried him to and from his home on the other side of town – because, in his words, “It’s safer.” The potential risk associated with the subways had kept him away.

He didn’t need to spell out what that risk was. We had all lived the coronavirus since late January, learning to avoid indoor and unventilated spaces crowded with people to steer clear of potential infections. Subways check every box in terms of places you shouldn’t be.

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

I Loved Hair Salons in China, but Now I’m the Home Barber, Thanks to the Virus – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post I Loved Hair Salons in China, but Now I’m the Home Barber, Thanks to the Virus. Here’s an excerpt:

For years I have lauded barber shops in China as one of the greatest things about living in this country. I’ve praised their service in so many ways, from the nice scalp massages that come along with the wash and rinse to the fact that they actually know how to cut my husband’s hair (you would not believe how many US hair salons I’ve seen bungle Asian hair, but that’s another story…).

So about a week ago, I did something I never would have imagined myself doing in China — I cut my husband Jun’s hair. Yes, yours truly became the family barber, wielding our newly bought Flyco electric clipper set. And it’s all thanks to the coronavirus.

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

Editing News in China Amid the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my post titled Editing News in China Amid the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic. Here’s an excerpt:

For the vast majority of people in China, the novel coronavirus epidemic has meant a delay in getting back to normal – whether work or school – and even more time off.

But as China grapples with its War on the Epidemic (战疫情), news organizations in China have seen an explosion of news stories, which has left people like me – editors at these organizations – very, very busy, making for a most unusual winter and especially winter holiday.

The news doesn’t take a vacation, so of course we have always had people on duty during the holidays, and this year I was among them. We usually don’t see a lot of news at this time – maybe a handful of stories on a shift, if that — but of course you never know what stories might break, so you need someone available to edit whatever comes in.

Well, by the time the Chinese New Year vacation began, of course the novel coronavirus had already emerged as major news, particularly with the lockdown of the city of Wuhan just before Chinese New Year’s Eve. On Chinese New Year’s day, when I came in for my shift, I remained busy from the moment I booted up my computer, right up until minutes before I powered it off, editing a deluge of news. This became a harbinger of things to come.

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

Was Kim Lee, Domestic Violence Victim in China, Right to Forgive Her Abusive Ex-Husband? – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published a collaborative post I worked on titled Was Kim Lee, Domestic Violence Victim in China, Right to Forgive Her Abusive Ex-Husband? Here’s an excerpt:

Back in 2011, Kim Lee made headlines after posting shocking photos of her bruised and beaten face, the result of domestic abuse by her husband. This incident would catapult her into the public spotlight, and she would go on to divorce him and win a landmark case in China that would pave the way for others.

But now, after years of being hailed as a hero for domestic violence victims, Lee has been under fire since her public post expressing forgiveness to her ex-husband.

To get the full story, as well as our opinions, head on over to the group blog WWAM BAM. And if you like it, share it!

Photo credit: By Airman 1st Class Ericka Engblom – https://www.dvidshub.net/image/615267, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41696119

Step on Villains? A Curious Find While Buying Lucky Red Socks for Chinese New Year – Pub’d on WWAM BAM

The group blog WWAM BAM just published my most recent post Step on Villains? A Curious Find While Buying Lucky Red Socks for Chinese New Year. Here’s an excerpt:

2020 will welcome the Year of the Rat, the Chinese zodiac sign for some family members, which has prompted me to sift through online stores in search of a very traditional Chinese New Year gift for those about to enter their Chinese zodiac year: red socks.

I always thought that only the color mattered. After all, superstition claims that wearing red in your Chinese zodiac year – from red underwear and red long johns to red jackets and almost anything else painted in this brilliant hue – supposedly bestows luck upon the wearer, along with an extra layer of protection from any misfortune in the coming year.

But then, while perusing the endless red socks listed in Alibaba’s Tmall, I kept noticing a curious decoration on the bottom of many of the options – the characters cǎi xiǎorén (踩小人, step on villains) and an image either of a tiny person.

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