Showing posts from December, 2014

10 Oven-less Christmas Holiday Treats

Christmas as an expat, specifically an expat in Taiwan is tricky. There will be holiday parties, but without ovens there won't be as many holiday treats. Sure, cookies can be bought at the bakery, but its not the same as filling your kitchen and home with that perfect cookie smell. This does not mean you can't spread the holiday joy. I've put together a list of ten sweet Christmas treats that the average do-it-yourselfer can make under most circumstances, minus the oven.  1) Buckeyes  Peanut butter and chocolate is a timeless classic, that nails it every time.  Don't call them peanut butter truffles. They are just buckeyes, the seasonal candy hailing from my home state of Ohio. You can add stuff to them, but they just wouldn't be Buckeyes anymore. Get the recipe here.  image by  Lindsey Johnson 2) Poached Pears  Roasted pears are my number one favorite healthy, but still holiday dessert. For the oven-less, poached pears are just as tasty. They a

Learning Mandarin Chinese: 7 Things you Need to Know

Learn what it really means image from Transparent Language   So, you've decided to learn Mandarin Chinese. From a Western perspective, this is not a walk in the park. You are up against endless challenges from learning to read non-phonetic characters, to mastering the tone system, to a huge number of cultural differences that separate the English language from Mandarin. Spoiler alert: learning Mandarin takes time, concentration, and hard work, EVERY DAY. That is to say you aren't one of those language freaks who travels to a place and just becomes fluent listening to people speak on the train. I've personally been studying Mandarin for almost 3 years now, with 1 intensive year spent in Mandarin language school in Taiwan. The rest of that time I've been embarrassing myself praticing with other native speaking friends, co-workers, and 7-11 employees in Taiwan. I also spent a brief few months studying with a Beijing teacher in NYC. I'm considered the low-end of