About Zhou


Around these parts, I go by the name Zhou. Yes, that is a pseudonym. No, I’m not Chinese. Yes, I am aware that the name of this blog is a lame ass pun.  Just go with it.

Zhou’s Background:

Despite a normal and happy suburban American childhood, my world view was altered to its core by moving into the post industrial nightmare, the city of Detroit, at 18.  Falling in love with the Motor City came at a high price, namely exposure to both the inspiring and the horrific on a daily basis. Fortunately, living for more than a decade in the ruins of empire was a perfect primer for life in China.  Living in the rise of empire is much like living in the ruins of empire – messy, interesting and always changing – only with a lot more money and no threat of gun violence.

I first started visiting the Middle Kingdom way back in 2006 and was hooked instantly. After 5 years of planning my escape from America (not Detroit), I finally moved to China in 2011.  I’ve lived in Suzhou ever since and love it.  I’m interested in the every day struggles of people, exploring the human condition, the expat experience, cooking and the cultural and social changes of modernizing China.

Let’s see something new.

28 Responses

  1. Amanda Roberts
    Amanda Roberts September 9, 2014 at 9:45 am |


    My name is Amanda Roberts and I am the author of the blog Two Americans in China. I found your blog and contact information through Expats Blog. I am the author of Crazy Dumplings, a fun food fusion cookbook that was funded through Kickstarter. My dream, though, is to write a cookbook written specifically for expats about how to cook foods and dishes from their home country in their new adopted country using ingredients that can be found locally. However, I know my experience in China isn’t the same as everyone else’s, so I thought it would be a good idea to reach out to other China expat bloggers and ask about their experiences. I would love to hear about your experiences cooking abroad. Please click the following link to take my survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3DKT52R (Works best if using Google Chrome.) I will include a link to the blog of everyone who responds and helps me out in the book.

    Thank you so much for your assistance, and I look forward to hearing from you!

  2. Mireille Paul
    Mireille Paul April 22, 2015 at 11:44 am |


    Thank you for your blog. I have read quite a few entries and have a vague idea…but…I was wondering if you could give me an honest opinion of what it would be like to live in Suzhou as a creative. I am a photographer and designer. My husband just got a job at the Singapore International School in SIP. We are South Africans, moving from Hong Kong.

    Thanks for any help.

  3. Wiz
    Wiz July 5, 2015 at 9:27 am |

    Hey Zhou, amazing blog very funny and insightful indeed, i am moving to Suzhou in a months time and i have a job offer, most likely in downtown or SND area, any whom i have been offered 5500 to 6000 RMB and 10,000-13,000 RMB after 6 months, its a starting position to see if i leave lol

    I was wondering if that is enough to live by? my housing is covered not sure about the utility i think its about 300-1,000 RMB maximum? if so will i have enough to save?

    My plan is to make home cooked meals and eat some cool street food, im not into western food, i would like to go out at least once a week do some sort of activity, and eat out at restaurants once a week…

    Is this all doable with a 5500-6000 RMB for 6 longs months

    Also what VPN would you recommend i should use!!!!

    Your blog has been very helpful indeed, i am a big fan, thanks for taking your time to read this much love from , London UK!

  4. Wiz
    Wiz July 6, 2015 at 10:04 am |

    Yeah it is my email, I will wait and sorry about that, I didn’t mean to put you in a difficult position

    Feel free to delete it from your site !

    1. Peter
      Peter December 16, 2016 at 10:14 am |

      Hey Zhou, first of all, you have an awesome style to your blog, cool and informative. As I scrolled I noticed exchanges between you and Wiz regarding living on a 5500-6000 rmb salary for the first six months, which exactly the offer that I got. Anything I should be worried about? Thanks in advance. Best wishes from Singapore.

  5. Quincy Carroll
    Quincy Carroll March 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm |

    Hi Zhou,

    I recently published my first novel, “Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside,” which is about two foreigners (one an elderly deadbeat, the other a young idealist) teaching English in rural China. I know that your blog focuses primarily on Suzhou, but I was hoping that you might be interested in reading and reviewing the book here. You can learn more about the story on Amazon or Goodreads. Thanks for considering!



  6. Joyce
    Joyce April 2, 2016 at 1:38 pm |


    My name is Joyce, I am a marketing executive at expatfinder.com which is a leading expat information and services website.

    I saw on your blog that you are and expat. I wish to interview you to further share some of your tips. The questions are mainly about the housing, the daily life etc.
    It just takes 5 minutes (or more depending if you have lots to say :)
    Of course, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website. 
    If you are interested to participate at this project, please send me an email at interview@expatfinder.com.

  7. Lauren
    Lauren May 14, 2016 at 3:15 am |

    Hi Zhou!

    Your blog is wonderfully entertaining! I’m currently looking to connect with some Suzhou locals to review online grocery ordering. I would love to speak more. Please feel free to email anytime.



  8. Ian
    Ian June 16, 2016 at 5:28 am |

    Hi Zhou,

    Hope you are well. I represent an International Teacher Agency and have a client in Souzhou.

    I was wondering if you’d mind us featuring one of your blogs on our website (and a link to the rest) to give teachers an idea of what it’s like living in Souzhou?



  9. Mary
    Mary August 10, 2016 at 11:48 pm |

    ZHOU! Your blog is so awesome! I finally have another go-to blog! You’re a funny writer and I love your perspective on expat life in China. We have a lot of similar thoughts. Your posts are a refreshing read and quite hilarious.

    Your life is also really interesting. You must have quite the background growing in Detroit–I’m sure you have a stockpile of great stories.

  10. Johaun
    Johaun August 11, 2016 at 10:25 am |

    Props for keeping this blog going since 2011. I spend some time in Shanghai back in 2009, and giving a travel blog its due diligence can be pretty tough.

    Anyways, stumbled across your blog because I’ll be moving to SIP with my family sometime in the spring and literally google’d “how to watch NCAA football Suzhou.” I think you’ll appreciate that I’m an avid OSU fan, through and through (the good kind that, not the asshole kind that sets shit on fire, to be fair). Skimmed some of your previous posts and tend to agree that the online expat presence in Suzhou seems… sad? Woefully underrepresented? Nonexistent?

    Keep up the good work, let’s go have a pint or five sometime. Go Buckeyes.

  11. Sue T 唐 梦 琇
    Sue T 唐 梦 琇 September 8, 2016 at 9:27 am |

    Looks like a great post; look forward to reading your stories. Loved the knife post…

  12. Johaun
    Johaun October 26, 2016 at 6:02 am |

    Hey dude, plans for my impending move to Suzhou are moving forward. Real quick: any suggestions as to where to live in/near SIP (specific areas of complexes around Jinji lake)?

  13. antonella
    antonella March 27, 2017 at 5:25 am |

    Hi Zhou! I’m an Italian expat, blogger and writer also living in Suzhou! My first novel will be released in English soon and I’d like to contact you. If you want, can you please write me to the email I gave you? Thank you!


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