Culture Clash – When To Be (and Not Be) Proactive


One often talked about cultural difference between American and Chinese cultures is being proactive. As an American, it’s easy to place a high value on being proactive and to denigrate those are not as being timid or weak of heart.

Early bird in Kuala Lumpur Zoo looking for a worm, but there’s only JiaYou (moments later, the bird pecked at her!)

Just consider old adages such as “The early bird gets the worm,” and “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” and the classic Latin “Fortune favors the bold”. They attest to this value American and Western societies in general hold that it is better to take action and bear the risk of failure in order to gain the greater prize.

Continue reading “Culture Clash – When To Be (and Not Be) Proactive”

US National Holidays: Ambivalent Embrace?


As a child growing up in an immigrant family, Western or U.S. specific holidays were always an odd experience for me. Then when I moved to China, China specific holidays were even more odd!

Christmas light decorations; lot of effort to put these up!
Typical American Christmas light decorations; lot of effort to put these up!

I’m talking about ones that are particular to a country or region, as opposed to religious holidays like Christmas which go beyond borders and even cultures, though they are often seen through a national filter too. Continue reading “US National Holidays: Ambivalent Embrace?”

Perils of Black Friday Shopping – Beware the Store Credit Card Upsell!


This is JiaYou’s first Black Friday shopping experience, and it wasn’t the enjoyable, fun-filled day that we were planning. But she had her first encounter with STORE CREDIT CARDS!

Useful and necessary tools, but there are pitfalls (credit:

Admittedly, we have never been eager or die hard shoppers, but in this case we were looking forward to taking advantage of 50% off sales for my wife as we shopped for clothes at a name brand clothing chain.


Continue reading “Perils of Black Friday Shopping – Beware the Store Credit Card Upsell!”

Welcome to The Nomad At Heart


I’m the Asian American husband AddingOil and my wife is JiaYou, a recent immigrant from China to the US. We met and married in Shanghai while I was working there for 7 years, and now we reside in New York City. We run the blog to share our experiences of living and traveling in Shanghai, New York City, and around the world.

Sheep scurrying away from us in Qinghai, China
Sheep scurrying away from us in Qinghai, China

We have traveled extensively throughout China (30+ cities) and throughout Asia, from as far north as Mongolia to as far south as Malaysia. We want to help those interested in going off the beaten path or doing slow travel wherever we’ve been to and wherever our future travels take us.

Continue reading “Welcome to The Nomad At Heart”