Hello Uncle Foreigner

living in china

Jun 29, 2018

How to look like a foreigner

Uncle’s Shorts #18

Here, I pontificate on the most diverse letter, and decide who looks more Chinese between Peter and me.

Jun 13, 2018

First YouTube live stream

A learning experience

Because we never met a challenge we didn’t like, Hello Uncle Foreigner is taking on the live stream. We had a few technical glitches in our very first one, but we’ll get it right soon enough!

Jun 3, 2018

June is Pledge Month for Hello Uncle Foreigner on YouTube

So SUBSCRIBE already!

Ever wonder how we do what we do? Our “Please Like Us” video introduces you to the world of Whoop wu studios: our staff, our equipment, our process. It’s fun making videos about living in China, but it’s also hard work.

So we are looking for more eyeballs! All this month, on YouTube, we have some special subscriber incentives:

  • First-commenter incentive: A fortune cookie fortune.
  • Subscriber incentive: Tote bags — go get a tote bag out of your closet, and write our logo on it!
  • All-commenters incentive: A sense of satisfaction and sophistication.
  • Like-a-video incentive: A baby in China will learn one word of English.

Subscribe today, you’ll be glad you did. Or we will be glad you did … someone will be glad you did. And, tell a friend, maybe?

Jun 2, 2018

It’s so hard (for me) to buy soap at the Chinese grocery store in China

Uncle’s Shorts #13

It is what it says: It’s hard for me to buy soap in China.

May 30, 2018

Finding a lost phone with the help of the kids

Uncle’s Shorts #11

How do you get a room full of kindergarteners to be quiet? Tell them there’s a lost phone in the classroom. They get it.

May 15, 2018

Beijing welcomes you, and welcomes you, and welcomes you

Uncle’s Shorts #8

People, even after almost seven years, are always welcoming us to China and Luzhou. Is it annoying or endearing? Well, that’s up to you to decide. I personally am trying to take it as a moment to moment affirmation of my presence, rather than an act of othering that implies I don’t truly belong. (Although, on a bad day, it can feel like the latter.) The only word they are actually saying is “welcome.” That’s way better than America does to its immigrants.

“Beijing Welcomes You” is actually the name of a song written for the 2008 Beijing olympics. It’s also the name of a pretty good book by Tom Scocca — written about the 2008 Beijing olympics — which is pretty good. Let’s call it an official Uncle Foreigner recommendation.

May 12, 2018

Hey Drinks are the best drinks

Uncle’s Shorts #7

Who doesn’t love a smoothie? Especially when it’s delivered right to your door.

Meituan Waimai forever!

May 1, 2018

“Teachers exist in China” the series!

The making of our guide to ESL teaching and expat China life

“Teachers Exist in China” was our biggest project to date! It was a lot of work in a short amount of time, but we’re really proud of what we put together, and it was actually a lot of fun.

The idea grew out of a sort of professional jealousy. I’ll admit it. Another YouTuber whom Uncle Foreigner follows put up kind of a rant about what it’s like to teach in China, and I thought, “I could do that, but way better.” (This is the same reason I got my nose pierced. A sense of superiority drives most of my life choices.) But once we got to work, it was all about figuring out how to best share my experience with those who were seriously thinking about diving into the China ESL game, in a way that would be comprehensive and informative, but most importantly, watchable.

Originally, I had only intended to write the Jobs Guide, which turned into our centerpiece Thursday video. But as Peter and I kept talking about it, we kept coming up with more and more ideas, until we had a six-episode series. We were careful to try and keep the workload balanced and doable: The Preview and Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday videos were of a format that we refer to in-house as “Uncle’s Shorts” — videos that can be written and shot quickly with minimal production. And the Friday video — about the expat lifestyle in China — we decided that I would riff live from an outline. I hate speaking extemporaneously, and would have preferred to write it, but the Jobs Guide took about seven hours to write, three hours to shoot, and a bajillion hours to edit. If we hadn’t chosen a looser format, Lifestyle would probably have taken a similar amount of time, and we just didn’t have it. Also, it’s a good exercise for me to practice “just talking” on camera. Probably.

Anyway, pre-production and shooting took about a week, and editing and posting took another week. We made some mistakes; I said “nature” instead of “neighbor” in one of the videos, but there was NO TIME for a reshoot. And there were definitely some things we’d like to have put a little more polish on. We could have spent an entire month, or more, editing this series to perfection! But part of the experience was to see what we could do given such a tight deadline. And I think we did a lot.

Apr 21, 2018

What it’s like to live in China as an American expat

The same, but different, as living in America

Living abroad long term can start to make the abroad part fade away a little bit — turns out, you’re just living. There are some parts of the expat lifestyle in China that remain distinct from our lives back in America. Everyone wants to take you to karaoke, for one thing. And the food? It’s all Chinese food! But we’re not so different, you and I; we all agree that Chinese TV is terrible.

In this video, we highlight some of the major aspects to life in China that stick out to us, some that are quite different from an American lifestyle, and some that are surprisingly similar. You may not have WeChat (yet), but did you know that we have Uber? And Tinder?