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Tag: beijing

You’re not Western Enough: How I Got Kicked Out of My First Shanghai Apartment

You’re not Western Enough: How I Got Kicked Out of My First Shanghai Apartment

Beijing Hutong

“Mary, I published a book about teaching foreigners in China and I wrote almost an entire chapter about you.”

My Chinese teacher from Tsinghua University suddenly e-mailed me with the news, and I was completely caught off guard.

Me? …..In a book?

Impatient, I opened up the attached word file and scanned through the chapters hurriedly.

When I turned to the chapter about me, I realized that she retold one of the bleaker moments during my stay in Shanghai about…

My First Roommate:  The Leftover Woman read more

How I Learned to Speak Mandarin in 6 Months

How I Learned to Speak Mandarin in 6 Months


This isn’t a post about how great I am at languages. I’m not like some jerk on the internet claiming to achieve fluency in three months.

This is a post about the blood, sweat and tears I spent to learn Chinese.

I never thought I would learn how to speak Chinese: The tones, the characters, and the proverbs were frustrating.  The task of learning Mandarin was daunting and overwhelming–and honestly, there were many moments I thought I was just not meant to learn this language.

Yet somehow, I did it.  I learned Chinese in less than a year. read more

Helping Those in Need: China Version

Helping Those in Need: China Version


Reading this article (in Chinese) brought me back to one of my Chinese lessons at Tsinghua University back in 2010.

What Would You Do?

“Let’s say you’re walking down the street,” my Chinese teacher begins. “You see a child playing in the street, running around, and he suddenly falls down and hurts himself.  You see the child crying and there’s even some blood on the pavement.  What do you do?”

My Cambodian/American classmate, without hesitation, responds: “Go over there and see if the kid is ok, of course!” read more

One Night in Beijing

One Night in Beijing

So I literally spent one night in Beijing, as the famous song goes:


On a complete, random, spur of the moment instinct I hopped on the high speed train and took a five hour (no, you did not misread, five hour) train.  The first three hours were relaxing, a book in hand and some good tunes on my smartphone, but when I got the 4th hour on the train I was starting to go crazy.

Anyway, I made it to Beijing and it was amazing.  Beijing, I love you. read more