Bamboo Pilgrim


Our language school is in the middle of a business complex of modern high-rise buildings. The ground-level floors are mostly devoted to retail and food, with the upper stores reserved for business. You can imagine hundreds of workers pouring out of their buildings for lunch at nearly the same time. There are lots of Chinese noodle shops and these little snack shops (far left). My wife noticed this sign “Flash Burritos” (middle… Read More

We were so excited to report the progress we are making after only two days of language school to our young Chinese colleagues in Henan by phone. One of them remarked affirmingly, “Oh, good! You are learning Chinese the traditional way at the pre-primary level.” We had a good laugh, but she was right. We are beginners. This is just fine with us. We are learning quickly and having fun. The traditional… Read More

Today was our first day of language learning as we enrolled in the Chinese Language Education ( of Beijing. It is a top-rated Mandarin language institute that has taught diplomats, business professionals, and educators and their families for several years. It is a results-oriented program. Instruction includes reading, writing, speaking, communicating, and grammar. This was our first day, but already, we are impressed with the quality of both our instructors and the… Read More

We have finally completed the process with the provincial government and local authorities to secure my wife’s alien worker’s permit, health permit, work VISA, and residency permit as a professional educational consultant to Mei Wen, Inc., a fledgling Chinese hybrid social enterprise that focuses on both for profit ventures and nonprofit service to the rural student. My wife’s permits and VISA are good for three years, but renewable in one-year increments. This… Read More

We would like to thank our hosts, Coco and Kiki (and their parents), for welcoming us into their Spring Festival celebration.  They live in Xinyang, Henan, but they grew up in a small village to the NW of Xinyang, about a 45-minutes drive.  It was a beautiful experience, one for which we are deeply grateful.  It reminds us of how Americans celebrate Christmas.  In China, people make the effort to return home,… Read More

Spring Festival, aka Chinese New Year is Feb. 18th this year. There is a lot of buildup anticipating this event. Lot’s of food preparations for special meals. I’ve enclosed a couple of photos of men waiting for the same bus we took. One has a leg of lamb, the other has two, live roosters. It makes sense. It’s just not what I am accustomed to seeing on a bus.

This is our favorite potato “Christmas Tree” vendor. The tree is one, delicately, spirally sliced potato, dipped in special flour/egg batter, deep fried to golden perfection and sprinkled with special herbs and spices. And, of course, the requisite four striped slather of ketchup — all on one, long bamboo skewer! The thinness of the slice makes it a hybrid somewhere between one very long french fry and one very long potato chip…. Read More

Feb. 9, 2015 Today we went to Zhengzhou to complete the requisite medical exam for my wife’s work VISA. You need to be at the facility before 11:00 a.m., since the process takes 1 hour and all the doctors and nurses call it quits at 12:00 noon. We took the G train, a fast train, from Xinyang. The ticket price was about 148 CYN. (The exchange rate is 1 USD : 6.1… Read More

My first hurdle: navigating the local pharmacy for what I need to take care of myself. Within a week of our arrival, I developed an ear infection with flu-like symptoms.  Fortunately, pharmacies abound in Xinyang.  The local brands are Watsons and Meirui.  Accompanied with my wife and an ex-pat friend who works here as a ESL teacher and armed with my iPhone 5 and her iPad and Pleco (an amazing Chinese dictionary… Read More