Ladies Only: The First Ever Unbrave Girl Reader Sweepstakes!

April 4, 2011

Yes, that’s right, readers, this week I have a very special surprise for you — I’m having a contest! To find out if you’re eligible to win the top prize, you will, first, have to answer a few questions. If you answer yes to all the following questions, you could be a winner.

1. Are you a woman? I hate to discriminate, but, boys, this contest is not for you. You’re welcome to continue reading. I mean it’s not like I’m going to start talking about maxi-pads or anything. (Oh god, I just mentioned maxipads. I swear that’s the last time I’ll talk about maxipads. Damn it, I did it again. Whatever. Just leave now, guys, while you can. Okay?)

2. Are you between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five? Again, I don’t like to discriminate, and I’m willing to be flexible on this. But you should be old enough to not remember the last time you shot-gunned a beer and young enough to know what shot-gunning a beer means. (Or at least know enough to look it up on Urban Dictionary.) Whether or not you’ve ever shot-gunned a beer is not important. But you should have at one point consumed beer in some ridiculous, ill-thought-out, potentially dangerous way. (Bonus points if you happened to be wearing denim overalls and listening to Backstreet Boys while doing it.

3. Are you able to pick up and move yourself to a foreign country? Again, not to discriminate against those of you who may have partners or children or pets or jobs or a pesky prison sentence keeping you rooted in your current home country, but this is kind of important. Of course, if you do have a partner or a child or a pet, you’re welcome to bring them along with you. As for those of you with a prison sentence, well, I’m no parole officer but I’m thinking you’d better stay put. (Really. Stay put. And stop sending me mail because it’s creepy. I mean, my own mom doesn’t even know my mailing address in China, okay?)

4. Are you able to maintain an intelligent conversation? (Trust me, I’m super-flexible when it comes to the word “intelligent”… and, umm, “conversation.” Really. I’m perfectly fine with spending hours talking about the merits of the different flavors of M&M’s… or not talking and just eating lots of M&M’s.)

So now that you’ve answered yes to all these questions, you are eligible to win the big grand prize!

How do I know you’ve answered yes?

Because Alexa told me so.

You see, Alexa is this website that knows all this creepy stuff about who’s reading my blog. All I have to do is type in my blog address, and it comes up with all these facts about my average reader or, ahem, you – yes, you!

For example, according to Alexa, you are a childless, college-educated woman, between the ages of twenty-five to forty-four. You are browsing the Internet from home. You’re wearing pajama pants at five o’clock in the evening, and your only accessories, at the moment, are cracker crumbs and red wine stains. (Okay, so Alexa didn’t tell me that last bit, but it’s true, isn’t it? How do I know that? Because… uh… that’s what I happen to be wearing, and I figure we already have so much in common already.)

Creepy, right? Don’t ask me how Alexa knows all this stuff about you. Frankly, it scares me. It’s like you can’t stalk people anonymously on the Internet anymore. Sheez.

Anyway, since you’ve answered yes to all my questions and are now eligible for my big contest, you’re probably wondering what you can win, right?


Your prize is a chance to be my new best friend!

You probably think there’s some kind of catch, right? I mean an offer like this is too good to be true, huh?

I mean, really, me and you?


How fantastic is that?

So, okay, there is one teensy weensy little hitch.

You will have to move to China.

Specifically Wuxi.

Never heard of it?

Not to worry!

I hadn’t heard of Wuxi either before I moved here.

Apparently, neither had Lonely Planet, as Wuxi is not even mentioned once in their current guidebook for China. (Although the Lonely Planet does give a small shout-out to Wuxi on their website; granted it’s not the most flattering of shout-outs. The city is described as “smoggy and characterless, with little to recommend it.” Obviously, this was written before I moved here because now Wuxi has me to recommend it. And I’m not little, by any means.)

Of course, you will have to move here soon because this is a limited time offer kind of deal.

You see, my current contract only runs until the end of June, and it’s already April, so we don’t have much time.

Let’s say it takes you at least a week to pack up your stuff, quit your job, buy a plane ticket and dust the cracker crumbs off yourself before you can get here.

That leaves us with less than three months to become besties, and these kind of things take time. I mean, if Sex and the City is to believed, we need to get started ASAP with the brunches and the cosmos and the bad boyfriends and the ridiculous shoes.

We’re going to have to stick to a tight schedule. We won’t have any time to dilly dally or talk about maxi-pads. (Look, guys, I warned you. Don’t say I didn’t.)

Oh, and you’ll probably need to find a job or something when you get here or figure out some way to support yourself because this offer isn’t redeemable for cash. (Come on, like who could put a price tag on my friendship? And who, in their right mind, would try to redeem such a fabulous prize for cash? How rude!)

So, now that you’re practically my new best friend, you’re probably wondering why a girl like me is just giving away her friendship?

Right? I mean, I should really be selling this stuff.

Well, you see, I could use a few friends.

It’s not that there aren’t plenty of people around to be friends with. I mean, I’m in China for crying out loud. There are like tons of people here. Wuxi, alone, has over four million inhabitants. (What gives, Lonely Planet? Four million Chinese people can’t be wrong, can they?)

In addition to my millions of new neighbors, I also work with a couple dozen foreign English teachers. They’re all really nice — like suspiciously so. I’ve been here over a month, and I’ve hardly heard any of my coworkers speak smack about each other. Frankly, I’ve found the lack of back-stabbery and general office gossip to be rather unsettling. I suspect all this niceness has something to do with the fact that the majority of my colleagues are Canadian. You know how Canadians are —  all nice and stuff.

So, it’s not like I don’t have my pick of people to be friends with.

And it’s not like I’m the Unabomber or anything. I’m usually pretty good at making friends. Sure, since I discovered I can get Hulu on my computer, I have become something of a hermit. But, when I’m not trying to cram seven episodes of Project Runway into one evening, I can be pretty social. I’ve even been told I’m quite the conversationalist. Heck, on occasion, I’m even capable of talking about something besides myself!

So what’s my deal?

It’s just that… well… I don’t really fit in.

I don’t speak enough Chinese to make friends with any of the locals. (Sure, my repertoire of “hello,” “chicken” and “thank you,” can get me pretty far when it comes to ordering food at the restaurant — like, surprisingly far. You’d think I’d be going hungry with a three-word vocabulary like that, but it turns out I’m exceptionally good at pointing… and pretty good at eating whatever plate of food happens to be plunked down in front of me. But my limited language ability is not exactly winning me any new pals.)

The only Chinese people that I know who speak English are my students, and, while they are lovely people, they are also eighteen-year-old people — which makes them ineligible for the prize of my friendship. (Not like they’d really want it. I mean, if you were eighteen years old would you really want to hang out with your dorky, thirty-five-year-old, English teacher who walks around town pointing wildly at plates of food and shouting the word “chicken” everywhere she goes?)

And, while my colleagues have all been very nice, I don’t really fit in with them so well, either. And this isn’t just because I’m not Canadian. You see, the majority of the women I work with are quite young — most of them are in their early twenties. And while they are all very nice (again, you know how those Canadians can be), they tend to say stuff like “Last night, when I was shot-gunning beers” and wear pleather mini-skirts and go out dancing at clubs until 5 am in the morning. In general, they make me feel… well… old.

I do have a few older female colleagues – recently retired schoolteachers from Canada, who have come here as a kind of second career. Again, they are also very nice. (Sheez! Canadians!). But they tend to say things like “When I was your age” or “When you’re my age,” and this kind of stuff just makes me feel really, really young… but not so much in a good way (more like in a way that makes me suspect that they don’t actually know how old I am).

And, sure, I have plenty of male coworkers of all ages, but who wants to be friends with them? I mean we can’t drink Cosmos together or swap shoes or talk about maxipads or anything! (Ha, ha, sorry guys. Just checking to make sure you’re still here.)

Don’t get me wrong.

I don’t have any problem hanging out with people of different ages.

And I don’t mind hanging out with guys – a lot of my best friends are guys.

It’s not even like I mind being alone. Heck, I practically invented being alone! I was sitting on my couch by myself, eating ice cream straight from the carton and power-watching box sets of DVDs before that kind of thing became cool. (That kind of thing is cool now, right? Right?!)

But I miss having girl friends my own age. (Or at least ones who don’t constantly remind me that we’re not the same age by wearing pleather mini-skirts or saying things like, “Back when I wore pleather miniskirts….”)

It’s just nice to have friends who get you. You know?

And, while I feel kind of alone, I know I’m not.

I’ve talked about this problem with other women who are living abroad or have lived abroad.

I’ve read blog posts by expat women who have felt the same way – isolated, alone and slightly freakish.

Last weekend, I met up with the lovely MaryAnne Oxendale, who lives in Shanghai and laments about the loneliness of being a female expat on her blog. We got a chance to lament in person. (Over fruity cocktails, of course, because that’s just what girls do.)

Until now, to be honest, I’ve been pretty lucky in a lot of the foreign countries I’ve lived in. In Japan, I lived between Kobe and Osaka, two cities with lots of expat ladies and plenty of Japanese women who spoke English (and loads of places that sold fruity cocktails). One of the reasons why I stayed in Japan as long as I did was simply because of the awesome group of friends that I had.

In Chiang Mai, I was lucky, too. I already knew a group of travel bloggers who were living there. I was able to meet other foreign volunteers and NGO workers through my volunteer gig. I had regular brunch dates and pub trivia events and karaoke get-togethers and ladies’ movie nights.

But, I haven’t always been so lucky.

When I first moved to Brazil, I was crazy lonely for months. I was living in Manaus, the capital city of the Amazonas state, which isn’t exactly known for its thriving international community. (Thriving mosquito community? Sure. Thriving international community? Not so much.) Eventually, I learned enough Portuguese to make Brazilian friends, and I finally met a Canadian teacher in the same city. (What’s with all these Canadians? It’s like you people are everywhere!)  But, man, those first couple months were no Carnival parade for me, that’s for sure.

Wuxi is, also, not exactly a hotbed of expat or English-speaking activity. (Lonely Planet, this is your fault.) Luckily, Shanghai is a quick hour-long bullet train ride away. If I need my fruity cocktail and girl talk fix, I can easily go there for the weekend to hang out with my new best friend, MaryAnne. (That’s right, MaryAnne! You’ve already won the BFF sweepstakes, and you didn’t even have to enter. Lucky you!)

But it sure would be nice to have more than one friend around. (Again, should Sex and the City be believed, one should always have at least three lady friends at her disposal. After all, a girl needs backup… you know, in case you need to go to the bathroom or something.)

So, that’s where you come in!

Yep, you.

You see, I already know we’d make really good friends. Alexa has told me so much about you!

So pack your bags because…

You’ve won a trip to China!*

After all, wouldn’t hanging out with me in China and having all kinds of fun adventures together be so much better than hanging out at home and just reading about my fun adventures on my blog? (And, yes, by “fun adventures” I’m talking about eating chicken, but, trust me, eating chicken is an adventure in China – especially when you’re never quite sure what part of the chicken you happen to be eating… or if that’s even chicken.)

(*There’s just one teensy weensy little hitch: you’ll have to pay for your ticket here… and your visa… and find a place to live. But, I swear, the first round of fruity cocktails is on me. After all, what are best friends for?)

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On April 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm Kelly said:

    This is a fantastic post, Sally! And you know if I was able to just pack up and head on down to Wuxi, I would! I could be yet another Canadian face in your life (we ARE everywhere, but trust me, I’m not nearly as polite and friendly as the others…hehehe!).
    Alas, I am committed to being here (the husband sort of expects me to be around – what’s up with that?!). Darn it, this was one contest I actually thought I might stand a chance of winning…
    Kelly recently posted..An Open Letter to China’s Drivers

    • On April 5, 2011 at 3:00 am Sally said:

      You know, I’ve heard that about husbands — expecting you to stick around and stuff.
      I do hope we get a chance to meet while I’m in China. I’m hoping to get some traveling in before I leave (whenever that ends up being), so hopefully I’ll be in your neck of the woods sometime soon.

  2. On April 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm Camels & Chocolate said:

    I’ll be your BFF! Yes. Pick me, pick me! A fellow adventurous soul who also waxes poetic for 2,000 words at a time? It’s kismet. Though come to think of it, neither of us might be able to get a word in with that sort of combined loquaciousness…
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..Learning to Love Powder at Keystone

  3. On April 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm Odysseus said:

    Hang in there, Sally! Sure, maybe you don’t have so many friends in Wuxi, but you have ME. Okay, we haven’t actually met in real life, but I’m still your friend, an Internet friend, kinda like having an imaginary friend. 🙂 One day, though, I’m sure we’ll meet in person and drink fruity cocktails and eat lots of cookies. Wouldn’t that be swell? (I also like using vintage slang like the word “swell.” And I think I like cookies even more than you do. See how much you’re learning about your new, imaginary BFF already?)

    Also, all jokes aside, I understand the isolation of expat life. I have some great friends here in Seoul, but still . . . sometimes it’s hard.
    Odysseus recently posted..Camel Trekking for the Broken Legged

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:57 am Sally said:

      “And I think I like cookies even more than you do”? That sounds like a challenge if I’ve ever heard one. When we do meet (and I have no doubt we will), we’ll have to have a cookie show down to see who really is the biggest lover of cookies out there.

  4. On April 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm Rick Jones said:

    while i can talk about maxi pads and shoes (the advantages of growing up in an all female household), im immediately disqualified by my gender.

    Back in my day..

    Rick Jones recently posted..Tales from Bangkok – Arriving in Bangkok and taxi ride

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:56 am Sally said:

      Oddly, even though I’m a girl and commercials for feminine hygiene products will tell you otherwise, I don’t talk about that kind of stuff at all — too squeamish. Even watching commercials for Always makes me nauseous.

  5. On April 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm Adventurous Kate said:

    Well, Sally, I fit your criteria AND I have no plans after June 11! Are you staying on in Wuxi after that? I need a life plan. And God knows we would have a lot of cocktailing fun. Do the men of China also bring you roses, claim to buy you whiskey, make you pay for said whiskey, then take you to the VIP section of the hottest club in town? Oh, please say they wear white glasses!!!

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:54 am Sally said:

      Life plan? You think I have one of those? I really am not sure what I’ll be up to after June. I may renew my contract to stay another semester, but I’m also looking at some other jobs. We will see!
      And, no roses & whiskey yet. Sheez. I should move back to Chiang Mai!
      (P.S. Sorry to hear about the shipwreck. How horrible!)

  6. On April 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm Sandy said:

    I had a dream a few weeks ago that I moved to China! For some reason it was my husband (who took the form of a woman in my dream) and I, and we had to leave the baby at home. The dream was super-sad because I was missing the baby a lot. And I was taking pictures of whatever city we were in and I was going to text them to my parents but I didn’t actually know where we were.

    BUT. Wherever we were, we were near Wuxi (I mean, relatively near in China terms), and my dream-self thought, we can be friends with Sally! That was literally the only happy thing in my dream.

    I’m not making any of this up. I meant to tell you about it sooner, but now I see that I did not do that because I was meant to read this and comment here about it.

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:52 am Sally said:

      This is a sign, Sandy. You need to move to China. Now.
      But bring the baby because she’s super cute… and I think it would make me more popular around here if I had a super cute baby to hang out with.

  7. On April 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm Ken C. said:


    In your [insanely humorous] writing, you come across as supremely self-confident and out-going; you (un)bravely defy convention, and travel the world, living, exploring, and working in the most exotic of places. It’s difficult to imagine that you could be lacking in companionship (either age-appropriate, female, or any other type). This must be some sort of anomaly in the Universe, which will certainly self correct in time.

    In the meanwhile, you are keeping-up with the myriad friends you have scattered across the globe, right? Also, dont’ discount all of your young Canadian colleagues, eh? [one of them might have an old soul]. Or, your next best friend might be a guy undeterred by talk of, uh, feminine products.

    So, does the contest winner get a trophy? I mean, to go along with the fruity cocktails and chicken-adventures? I hope you’ll post pictures…

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:50 am Sally said:

      Yes, obviously, there has to be something wrong with the universe. I mean, me? Without friends? I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it’s possible this is a sign of the Apocalypse.
      As for a trophy, isn’t my friendship enough? Okay… alright, I’ll come up with something. But I’m not promising it will be pretty — and, most likely, it will be made out of tin foil and chopsticks.

  8. On April 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm Katherina said:

    Hang in there! I wish I could just drop my stuff and move over there… it’s definitely a great adventure (and in best company!). However, by now I still love my job too much to leave it.
    To be frank, I’m in the exact situation as you are. I’ve been in this for a year and a half. Yes, sure, I like my job and I like Switzerland, but it would all be so much better with people who get me. Up to now, I’ve hang out with a girl that doesn’t tolerate alcohol, two heavy-metal spanish guys who are really sweet and so but, um, well, we don’t really have much more in common besides for being spanish and living in Switzerland… and my boss’ assistant, who’s married and has 2 kids.
    Anyway, if you want, we can auto-support ourselves via web – I’m happy to do so!
    Katherina recently posted..Guest Post – Photo Tour- A Blink On Japan

  9. On April 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm Megan said:

    Hu-lu! Hu-lu! Hu-lu! Tor-rents! Tor-rents! Tor-rents!

    That’s a chant for the wonders of Hulu and torrents, both of which have saved me from hours of boredom and work. Hooray for the internets!

    Life is *so* much better when you have female friends who are about your age and who enjoy the same things. So I really feel your pain; I have great friends here (including some amazing women), but I don’t think I have any single female friends. Huh.

    And I’ve never been to China…hmmm…
    Megan recently posted..Challenge- Being a Lady of Leisure Who Lunches

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:47 am Sally said:

      Well, Megan, now’s your chance to come to China! I know for a fact you are free from the fetters of job-dom these days. And there are so many potato chip flavors here that you just have to try out for your blog (Cucumber, Lemon Tea, Sweet & Sour Fish Head Soup… mmmm).
      Think of your blog! (And me! I need friends! Get your butt on that plane already.)

  10. On April 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm Richard said:

    Hahahahaha! Love this post, Sally! 😀

  11. On April 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm Michi said:

    YAY! I’m so excited I won the BFF sweepstakes, I could use an additional lovely BFF and I’ve ALWAYS wanted to go to China (my grandmother is Cantonese). I’ll try and appropriately gossip, okay? 🙂

    I love your blog, and I can’t wait to see what future adventures lie ahead for you!! 🙂
    Michi recently posted..Homey Dishes

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:43 am Sally said:

      Awesome. I really need a fellow gossiper. All this being nice to everyone stuff has really put me on edge. I mean, how do people even do that?

  12. On April 4, 2011 at 7:23 pm Anne McKinnell said:

    I was just reading a few comments above where Sandy said she had a dream about moving to China and then I remembered a dream I had a couple of nights ago. I was in China (I have never been there so I dont know how I knew I was in China except the Chinese people and the architecture) and I was in a hot air balloon (that was a dream tip-off because I would never never get in a hot air balloon) and we were going up up up up and I was totally freaked out and then I looked behind me and there was terrifyingly tall chinese building. End of dream. Weird eh?

    Almost as weird as Alexa who sure nailed me. Here it is after noon and I’m still in my pajamas and robe.

    I’m so glad I won the trip to China! Wow, I’ve always wanted to go. But I’m going to be at least a year late. Sorry ’bout that. Can we be friends online? I think we’d really get along 🙂
    Anne McKinnell recently posted..Creating photos that suck

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:42 am Sally said:

      I think your dream was a sign that you need to move to China and be my new BFF. And what’s this thing about taking a year to get here? Come on, you’re my bestie! Drop everything for me and move here already! That’s what friends DO!

      • On April 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm Anne McKinnell said:

        Hi Sally, I’m only taking a year to get there because I am about to leave on a year long trip driving around North America. I know, not that exotic, but I have an aging hound dog and I cannot leave him in the last years of his life. He’s almost 15. I dont think he would get on well in China. Not that he would be eaten or anything, he’s probably all stringy and tough. But I sold my house and bought an RV and we are going to drive all around to visit and photograph the national parks. Leaving in about 6 weeks!
        Anne McKinnell recently posted..Boxes- lovely boxes!!

        • On April 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm Sally said:

          That sounds great! I’d love to do a trip like that myself. It’s embarrassing how little of the States I’ve seen. I keep on telling myself when I ever (EVER?) leave Asia, I will take a long trip around North America to acquaint myself with my own country. I can’t wait to see your photographs!

  13. On April 4, 2011 at 11:11 pm Roy said:

    I don’t know why I kept reading, even when you told me not to haha. Have you checked out CouchSurfing meet-ups? Great way to make new friends.
    Roy recently posted..How To Find A Couch Awesomely

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:41 am Sally said:

      I haven’t done any Couch Surfing Meet-ups yet. I know a lot of people who’ve had good luck meeting people that way. But, to be honest, I got a bit creeped out by Couch Surfing when I was in Malaysia and all these random guys kept on emailing me telling me they wanted to meet me. I was like, “Did I sign up for an Internet dating site accidentally… umm, AGAIN?”
      I might give it a try now though. Maybe in China it won’t be quite so creepy…

  14. On April 4, 2011 at 11:14 pm Gillian @OneGiantStep said:

    okay, that is creepy. I AM a childless, college-educated, 43 year old woman who is browsing the internet from home. I’m not quite in my pajamas (yet…) but the red wine stain is imminent. I am also Canadian which you might have enough of around those parts…but they aren’t me! China sounds lovely even if a little lonely but I’m sure you’ll do just fine. Chin up…isn’t that what besties say?
    Gillian @OneGiantStep recently posted..Twitter Travel Tips- Wrapping It Up

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:38 am Sally said:

      I know, isn’t it so creepy? I remember when I first started using Google Analytics and thinking, “Oh God. I can never anonymously stalk ex-boyfriends again. Especially if I happen to be logging on from some weird country.” I mean, it’s cool knowing that people from Zimbabwe are reading my blog — but I feel for those poor people in Zimbabwe.

  15. On April 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm MaryAnne said:

    I won! I won! Yaaaaaaay! And I didn’t even have to enter! (You do know I’m Canadian, right?) I’m glad to be your BFF!

    (How did Alexa know so much about me? Is she a spy?)
    MaryAnne recently posted..A Totally Impractical Expat Interview 6- Fiona Reilly of Life on Nanchang Lu

  16. On April 5, 2011 at 1:29 am pam || @nerdseyeview said:

    I’m too old to play, but should I find myself in China, just TRY to avoid me. I’m gonna be all, “When I was YOUR age…” and “When you’re old like ME…” And you’re gonna pretend to like it, you young whipper snapper.
    pam || @nerdseyeview recently posted..Hey- It COULD Happen- Right

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:34 am Sally said:

      I’m really flexible with the age limit thing. As long as you don’t start talking about your arthritis (because, whatever, Old Timer, I have arthritis, too. So there! Umm… maybe that wasn’t quite the come back I was hoping for).

  17. On April 5, 2011 at 1:52 am Theodora said:

    Looks like we’re not going to overlap in China. Which is a bummer…

    Because I imagine, as geeks with a tendency to write 3 zillion words about random stuff that happened, and an utter inability to get laid, we’d get on just great…

    Mine, by the way, will be a Negroni when we do meet.
    Theodora recently posted..Two Dinners and Four Goodbyes

    • On April 5, 2011 at 2:32 am Sally said:

      When are you planning on being in China? I’m not 100% sure if I’ll be leaving when my contract finishes. I’ve been offered a new contract here in Wuxi for the next semester, and I’ve also been looking at other jobs in Shanghai & Beijing. But, at the same time, I was thinking about heading to Vietnam. We’ll see. Either way, I’ll most likely be in Asia for a long time to come…
      And a Negroni? I don’t even know what that is, but it sounds classy!

  18. On April 5, 2011 at 3:38 am Malaysia Expat said:

    Order the fruity cocktails, I’m on the way 🙂

  19. On April 5, 2011 at 5:50 am Stephanie said:

    This is creepy. I fit all of your requirements right down to the stained afternoon sweatpants and the living in China bit. I’m just a teensy 20 hour train ride away! Come to Xi’an? First drinks will be on me (we’ll probably have to bring mike too though since I don’t know how to order).

    • On April 5, 2011 at 6:23 am Sally said:

      I’d love to come to Xi’an… but 20 hour train ride? Yikes! And you don’t even have an H&M there? (I mentioned the H&M in Wuxi, right?! Come on, why aren’t you here already! Wuxi has everything going for it — including me!)

  20. On April 5, 2011 at 7:21 am Heather said:

    Will I win bonus points if I bring macarons with me to Wuxi?!

    I’ve been *very* fortunate to be traveling with Nicole (the friend you almost met!) the 7 weeks and I’m not looking forward to saying goodbye to her this week. My visa is up in 5 or 6 weeks but I’m not sure if I’m ready to head home yet….hmmm…. O:-)
    Heather recently posted..Tasmania Eats

    • On April 5, 2011 at 7:49 am Sally said:

      Well, I do believe China is on your way home. You should definitely stop by! And bring the macarons with you…
      P.S. Please say “hi” to Nicole for me. Very sad we didn’t get to meet — stupid Buffalo weather!

      • On April 5, 2011 at 7:55 am Heather said:

        Hmmm, how long does it take to get a visa? 😉
        Heather recently posted..Tasmania Eats

        • On April 5, 2011 at 7:59 am Sally said:

          In the States, it took me about a week — including the time it took me to mail my paperwork to the document agency in NYC. Granted I have a work visa, so I’m not sure if it takes the same amount of time if you get a tourist visa. It’s a bit pricey for Americans — but, heck, when else are you going to be so close to China, right?! Plus, you have a free place to stay in Wuxi! (Just don’t believe everything the Lonely Planet tells you — Wuxi is quite lovely. We may even be able to find a place in town that sells macarons!)

  21. On April 5, 2011 at 9:05 am Lorna - the roamantics said:

    oh poop! (that word still makes me giggle- and hey, if you can mention maxi-pads…;) ) i’m sticking around n.america til TBEX. but starting 2012 i can safely say i’ll fly anywhere to meet up! really- mean it!- got a big present this week. fruity drinks on me then for sure! in the mean time, glad you have fantabulous maryanne and so many others fighting for the bff spot. i think you should make them thumb wrestle for it!
    hope it helps to know your whole cheerleading squad is here, thinking of you and sending you anti-ronery (ever see team america??) vibes. hope it gets better soon sally! 🙂
    Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..The Best Gift EVER- A Friend Gives Me the World

  22. On April 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm Photogenuiss said:

    Today I learned that Ctrl + Backspace deletes whole words at a time, and with that type of learning curve you can see how my office job trumps becoming your bff. Sorry.

    (HELP ME…….please) hahha

    • On April 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm Sally said:

      Wow. You are one busy lady! Although, until you learn a keyboard shortcut to delete whole words coming out of your mouth (as I could really use this!), I refuse to be impressed.

  23. On April 5, 2011 at 5:10 pm ayngelina said:

    OMG best post ever. Please please please come back to South America, there are so many girls our age here. Tons of solo female bloggers in their 30s and hot Latin men in their 20s that want to date them.
    ayngelina recently posted..Coca reveals the real Northern Chile

  24. On April 5, 2011 at 8:46 pm Phil said:

    Sally, I don’t appreciate this discriminatory post. What’s next? Is your site going to be password protected and invite only? I drink fruity cocktails, usually only once I’m drunk enough not to know the difference, but that’s not the point.
    Concerned and disappointed,
    Phil recently posted..Possible “Human Rights Catastrophe” in Abidjan – How You Can Help civ2010 IvoryCoast

    • On April 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm Sally said:

      I’m so sorry. Do forgive me. Of course, I wasn’t talking about YOU when I said men weren’t eligible… just, you know, other men. First round of fruity cocktails are on me. And what are you wearing to brunch?

  25. On April 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm Katie said:

    This is too fantastic. I just giggled myself silly at my office, and now co-workers think I’m a little crazy. Oh well.

    I know how it goes to feel a little lonely…I moved to Boston on a whim a year ago and knew no one…it gets rough.

    I’ll be in Prague teaching English starting in August…and then who knows! China’s on my list of places to see and teach in.

    Love the blog!

  26. On April 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm Lauren @ The Mad To Live said:

    Sally, had I not already lived in China for a year I seriously move over there to be the contest winner of a fruity cocktail with you! haha

    I have to say when I 1st started reading I was intrigued and then I saw 25 and I was like oh no I’m 23! Until I realized you were just joking around haha. 😛 I am older for my years…nope haven’t shotgunned a beer in quite a long time… I SUCK at that by the way.

    I had a few friends that lived around China in some of the less Beijing/Shanghai-like cities where foreigners were much harder to come by. After awhile it can feel a little seclusive in a sense. It’s all part of the experience of course. But I do hope that some awesome traveler moves over there to share a cocktail with you!
    If I come back to China to visit some friends in Beijing I’ll totally stop in Wuxi and we’ll shotgun a beer together! haha JK 😛

    – Laur
    Lauren @ The Mad To Live recently posted..The Final Ultimatum- Leave Tonight or Live and Die This Way

    • On April 6, 2011 at 1:21 pm Sally said:

      These days I drink my beer much more civilly — you know, with a rubber hose & a funnel. It’s called a “beer bong.” Very posh. I believe it’s a French thing. 🙂

  27. On April 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm South America ME said:

    Expect people to google Maxipads and end up at your website now (Damn, it was just said again).
    Well, I’m totally out of the sweepstakes because I’m a married non-drinking 65-year-old guy in Prison for setting fire to a Maxipad factory (oops, that word snuck in there again).
    Hope you find a winner.

    Disclaimer… I am in fact none of the above, apart from the guy part, oh and the married thing too (thanks wife for reminding me with that whipping).

    Rob W.
    South America ME recently posted..Chilean Travel Photography

    • On April 7, 2011 at 12:19 am Sally said:

      Great. I’m sure you just bumped me up to top Google search results for “maxipads in prison” or something like that. As if my Google search results weren’t bad enough (I believe I’m still getting hits for “throw grandma from mountain in Japan”… ughh).

  28. On April 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm HeidiHo said:

    Well I just quit my job with nothing lined up…I like to live on the edge. I should get on with obtaining my passport and the courage to sell everything I don’t need and travel the world! I’m not too fond of beer but based on my rum intake I’ve come to believe I was a pirate in a past life.
    HeidiHo recently posted..elizabethpirate- Could use some good vibes &amp positive energy my way in about 2 hours digits crossed

  29. On April 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm Margaret said:

    Ah! So THAT’S who it was! See, Alexa has also been telling me a thing or two about YOU! I hadn’t put it together when Alexa (I like to think she’s a she) told me that my blog was a major hit in China. It’s all so clear now! Wile Alexa IS a bit gossipy, she has that annoying habit of telling you just enough to get you interested and then saying, “but no, I really couldn’t say any more.”
    So, while the BFF offer is amazingly tempting, I’m afraid China is off the radar for the moment… now if you consider Chile for your next stop… !
    (Congrats on the great post!)

  30. On April 8, 2011 at 10:09 am Liane said:

    Well…I fit everything but the immediate ability to move to a foreign country. But…M&M’s happen to be my favorite candy ever so that has to count for something!

    Glad to have found your blog! Love your style!
    Liane recently posted..Exploring Her World Through Photography – An Interview With Lou Ann Peet

  31. On April 11, 2011 at 2:48 pm Alex said:

    Okay, I don’t qualify for entry being a mere 21 (though I have never and never will shotgun a beer, I have been known to stay out until 5 in the morning) but I can empathize with missing having girlfriends. The diving industry is so male dominated, and come to think of it, Canadian dominated as well.

    On another note, Sex and the City really warped my developing brain as the golden standard for female friendship. I swear to god I have actually found myself wondering why my girlfriends and I don’t get together for brunch more often.
    Alex recently posted..Photo Essay- The Wynn Las Vegas

    • On April 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm Sally said:

      Ha ha! Once a girl in Japan asked me if girl friends acted the way they do on “Sex & The City.” I guess I should have told her we don’t do brunch as much as we should!

  32. On April 18, 2011 at 3:59 pm Ceri said:

    This sounds awesome. What a shame I’m only 24. 😉

  33. On April 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm Uncle Ed said:

    Male, Old, Arthritis, Related, Maxistuff averse…….Dissssqualified!
    Though, I have thought about just getting uncle Matt, flying to Wuxi, and just sitting around pretending to read a newspaper, the waiting for Godot thing with a big smile on our faces. We could use the time to read up on gravity theory. We’d get one of those things where you speak in English and it spews Wuxian. 🙂

  34. On August 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm Priya said:

    Damn. I can’t believe I missed the chance to enter in this fabulous contest. I mean, if I had known back then that you were looking for a girlfriend to drink fruity cocktails with and talk maxipads, I would have been on a plane faster than you can say maxipads. Well, I hope you have another contest because I’d totally enter. Just try and stop me.
    Priya recently posted..A Public Breakup Letter to My Potential Future Indian Husband


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