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Tag: china

You Know You’ve Turned Chinese When…

You Know You’ve Turned Chinese When…

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I’ll never be ethnically Chinese.  It’s just not going to happen.

Despite this, I feel Chinese (as weird as that sounds).  I was  so accepted and integrated during my time in China, I felt like one of their own.  Sure, my proverbs sucked.  Yeah, I couldn’t read all the Chinese characters.  Still, I was invited to almost any and every outing, and many of my Chinese friends treated me like family.  I hung out with the locals like I was their neighbor, and they treated me as such.  Thanks to the kindness and passion of my friends in China, I felt like I truly discovered what it means to live and understand China. read more

That Time I Got Fleas in Shanghai

That Time I Got Fleas in Shanghai

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Life was good.  I had just scored my dream job of being an interpreter at a prestigious advertising agency, and I was finally making money after my horrible student experience at Shanghai International Studies University.   I was on top of the world.

The first thing I did with my paycheck was put down a deposit and pay three months rent for my  “new” apartment in Shanghai.  After living in the dorms for six months, I was elated.  I could finally have a place to call my own and move back to city center Shanghai. read more

America is Not The Greatest Country on Earth

America is Not The Greatest Country on Earth

America Needs Some Humble Pie
America Needs Some Humble Pie

I remember in grade school we had to stand up, put our right hand on our heart, salute the flag and say the pledge of allegiance every single day.  We looked up to the flag hanging near the chalkboard as our nation’s anthem echoed from the school’s loudspeaker and chanted the mantra of our great nation.

At school we were not only taught to be proud at the fact we were American, but grateful.  While no one ever distinctly said it to my face, I was educated that America was the best country in the world. read more

Why Chinese Men Make Great Boyfriends

Why Chinese Men Make Great Boyfriends

Chinese Men Make Great Boyfriends!

After discovering the tactics for landing dates in Asia, I had romances all across Asia and my dating life was… well, let’s say diverse.

And from my (very small) pool of dating research at this time, I found that the most satisfactory, fun, and long-lasting dates were with none other than Chinese men.

Now, after many hits and misses in the dating scene, I finally found my perfect match: Richard (and surprise!  he’s Chinese!).

Here are some reasons why my boyfriend is simply amazing; and coincidentally, why Chinese men make really darn good boyfriends. read more

5 Ways Travel Has Changed My Personality

5 Ways Travel Has Changed My Personality

Changin' through Travel
Changin’ through Travel

I know.  I disappeared for a month.

I wish I could say that I did something cool, like randomly bought a one way ticket to Iceland and partied in Reykjavik for 30 days straight–but alas, my life is not that exciting.  The last month was mostly sucked up by a web design class that taught me little, but did force me to build a website (I actually constructed a website for the boyfriend that should be up soon).  I also spruced up The Ruby Ronin a bit in hopes that it will inspire and motivate me to write on a regular basis. read more

Grocery Shopping in America vs. China and Japan

Grocery Shopping in America vs. China and Japan

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Whenever I travel abroad, the first thing I usually do is pop into the local supermarket.  While it may sound strange to pass up temples and ruins for a run to the market, the seemingly average grocery store is a gigantic window into the country itself.  What people buy in a store–and  the food that is offered in the market itself–speaks volumes about a country and its culture.

When I returned to the United States last year, it was no surprise that going to the giant sized American market was one of the big toppers on my lists of reverse culture shock.  Even after a year here, stepping into the grocery store still feels like I’m treading into foreign territory. read more

Learning Kung Fu in China: The Real Story

Learning Kung Fu in China: The Real Story

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Since I am now acquainted with so many amazing people that have stories from Japan, China and Asia in general, I wanted to start a “My Asia” guest post/interview series every every other Monday where readers and fellow friends can share their fascinating adventures. 

I would like to start with a story that involves China and the journey of an American man going to discover the path of martial arts.

With a few years of tai-chi practice and teaching under his belt, my good friend Cory was convinced that the final step to mastery would be training on Mt. Wudang in China—the birthplace of Tai-Chi itself. read more

Turning 29

Turning 29

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Last weekend I turned 29—in other words, I’m that much closer to 30.

I used to dread turning 30. Growing up, we often believe 30 is the age that you become a true “adult.” If you didn’t have your life in order by 30, then by society’s standards, you were seen as a failure or a screw up. It’s why if you google ‘turning 30,’ you’ll find questions and blog posts filled with fear, anxiety, and questions.

Yet I’ve met countless people my age or older that have been struggling not only to find a job—but their path in life. For many, life begins at 30. read more

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

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“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

Why I Travel

Why I Travel

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There’s a scene in the movie Wild that stuck with me.

The protagonist is on the road.  She’s exhausted.  She has only taken the first few footsteps into her journey, but already she feels the weight of the road.  Can I do this?  Is this what I’m supposed to be doing?  Have I gone crazy?

And then she stoops down, pulls some sagebrush from the road, rubs it in her fingers, closes her eyes and deeply inhales the scent.

The scent of the Earth.  The scent of the journey.  The scent of the world itself. read more