Bottled Water

In China, it’s not recommended to drink the tap water. It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but you get used to it. I still always enjoy going to the USA and simply turning the tap water on for a quick drink! At home, we have a water dispenser that has hot or room temperature taps, which does make it convenient for a quick cup of tea :-). Since the company Jim works for makes Brita water pitchers, we keep a Brita in the refrigerator for cold water. Where we live now, we pay for 10 large bottles at a time, and call the office when we need one delivered. We started with two bottles, so when we empty one, we get it replaced with a full one, therefore never being without one. In our housing complex, the security guards deliver the water on motorbikes. Where we lived before, the housing didn’t handle the water, but a nearby store did. As long as food is going to be cooked, you can wash it in tap water, but if you are going to eat fruit or veggies raw, it’s best to wash them in boiled or bottled water. The Chinese like to drink hot water and I’ve often wondered if that developed because they needed to boil their water for it to be safe to drink? When you go to restaurants in China, you are served hot water, not ice water.

Laundry Porch

Well, I know laundry isn’t very exciting, but….it is one of those chores that never ends no matter where you live! I do it a little different here than in the USA because I have a tiny little washer and no “real” dryer. This is my laundry porch off my kitchen, with my washing machine and clothes hanging racks, and the dryer I talked about back on January 11th. I haven’t used the dryer for a while now though, although I’ve been tempted because it’s been so rainy that clothes take 3 or 4 days to dry, even though it’s been around 75-80 degrees, it’s very humid! The time we've been in China, I've gotten used to hanging the clothes to dry. When Jim is here, I do laundry every 2 or 3 days because I can only hang a certain amount at once.


The skill of using chopsticks is definitely necessary when living in China! In big cities, western restaurants, and many Chinese restaurants, will or are able to provide you with a fork, but if you are outside of a big city, you may have no choice but to use Kuaizi 筷子 or chopsticks. In the supermarket, you have an abundant selection of chopsticks made from all kinds of materials (bamboo, wood, metal, plastic, etc) but, you may only have one or two fork options (if you’re lucky!). You can see in the picture that there are even “training” chopsticks for small children :-) You can also buy travel chopsticks that break down into two pieces and you screw them together to use. Many Chinese fast food or take out restaurants will provide you with disposable wooden chopsticks joined together at the end. I recently learned that you don’t just pull them apart, you are supposed to snap the end piece off first and it becomes your chopstick rest! However, I tried this once and it wouldn’t work? Has anyone else done this? The most important etiquette to remember while using chopsticks in China is to never place them upright in your bowl as this looks like incense sticks burning for the deceased! If there isn’t a chopsticks rest, you should lay your chopsticks across your bowl or plate. You also don’t play with them or point them at anyone.

Life in China: A Picture A Day, March 23, 2016

I bought Jim a new cup to take to work for his Luohanguo tea. This is a special type of earthenware known as Yixing pottery and is made from zisha 紫砂, literally “purple clay,“ found along the banks of Lake Tai in Jiangsu Province. It is named after Yixing, the city near where it has been mined since about the year 1000! The “clay” is actually made from a type of rock which is very high in mineral content. It is ground and mixed with water to form the purple clay. But…it isn’t always purple, it can be a range of colors from reddish purple, brown, buff yellow or green. Yixing pottery is especially popular for teapots. The teaware is not glazed, which results in it being very absorbent. Because of this, it is recommended that it only be used for one type of tea because it will absorb that flavor, and it should only be washed with water. Because of the high iron content, it also keeps the tea hot for longer than other types of teaware. The clay is rather rare and although this cup cost 130rmb/$20usd, and is advertised as “authentic,” it is most likely mixed with some other clay.

Electric Hot Water Bottles

Life in China: A Picture a Day 2016, January 24 - We are currently having extremely cold temperatures for our area. We have heat in our apartment, so we’re not bad, although apartments with thick concrete walls do get really cold! However, many people in south China have no heat at all and I KNOW they are freezing right now! Our normal low in winter is about 10°C/50°F, and today we had snow, sleet and hail, so you know it was MUCH colder! I think my most valuable possession on cold days, other than my teacup, is my electric hot water bottle, especially the one with the hand warmer pocket. In China, you can even get them with cute animal designs :-) I LOVE mine and even take it to bed with me on cold nights. If you decide to try one, be sure to purchase from a reputable shop, as there are some safety concerns.