Saturday, June 6, 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a new blog and it looks like this:

Please join me for some eclectic writing attempts at

Warmly welcome!


  1. Your blog is a life saver! :) I have been looking for the last about one year to find a small town with low expenses, low pollution and a good institution teaching Mandarin. My intention is to improve my presently very poor Mandarin skills which will potentially increase my employ-ability in my line of work. I am from Pakistan, 45 years of age and recently retired as an Army Major. Shandong as a region seems to fit the bill. Would you kindly take a few moments out and recommend a town from Qufu and Rizhao? Thanks! :)

  2. I think Rizhao is the better of the two towns for what you are seeking. I would guess that some of the universities there have programs for foreigners learning Mandarin, and there will be more foreigners and foreign food than in a smaller city like Qufu. Rizhao is a nice place to live; the traffic was not bad when I lived there and the pollution (while still worse than America) was comparatively low. The cost would be higher than Qufu, but still not as high as a first-tier city such as Beijing or Guangzhou. Hope that helps, and God bless!

  3. Thanks so much Alison! :)One follow up question!:)
    You have been around in China right? From all the towns you have lived in, which you think fits the criteria of being 3rd/ 2nd tier, having small town feel and friendly people, low pollution and still having an institution like a State U. teaching Mandarin? There may not be a town which checks all the criteria but which in your opinion comes close? Very grateful indeed! :)

    1. Hi Asad! Unfortunately since I only lived in those two towns (Qufu and RIzhao) I can't answer that question well. But Rizhao is the best choice between those two, since Qufu only has one large university (Qufu Normal University -- you could certainly check to see if they offer Mandarin!) and Rizhao has many universities. You may also consider Qingdao, which is a larger city than those two but still popular with many foreigners.