a personal note

Well, the our return tickets from USA back to China were booked for September 2nd. That day has come and gone, and we are still in the USA. The health issues that brought us home aren’t yet resolved and our daughter needs some intensive speech therapy, so we decided to stay a bit longer. We’ll keep blogging from this side of the ocean, and we certainly hope you’ll keep reading, commenting, emailing, and giving us feedback.

And please, keep supporting the great places in town so that they are still in business when we return!


the Judds

Here is us with our Mid-Autumn Moon behind us. Hope everyone enjoyed your mooncakes!



  1. Tianyu Morris says:

    While I don’t live in Hohhot, I love this site! I actually live in an even smaller city in Heilongjiang province, where I teach English. I have a few questions I’d love to hear your take on:

    First, do you have an ayi or some other domestic helper? If so, what’s the going rate in Hushi? How do you find one, etc.

    Second, what is your recommendation for learning Mandarin? I have a family and work in the mornings, so formal classes are a no-go. Tutors? Language route? Something else? I’ve plateaued at a low level, it seems.

    Hoping the best fur you and yours as you’re in the States!

    • weibaili says:

      Thanks for your comment. We do have a helper. I think the “going rate” varies greatly depending on duties and how often the helper comes. I know cooking and cleaning duties can pay less than child care, and child care is more expensive for younger children/infants than older. Also, the less often they come, the more pay that is expected. (The idea that the house is dirtier and therefore harder work). Also, I think there are certain tasks that go for a premium because no one wants to do them (100 RMB for cleaning the outside windows and maybe more if in a high rise). As far a concrete number to start from, find some day laborers in your area and ask a few what a daily rate is for cleaning and use that as a base line. You can assume to pay less if you will use the person frequently.
      As far as how to find them, word-of-mouth and wechat posts have been the most helpful for us.
      Check out the language page for our suggestions for learning Mandarin.

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