Friday’s foreigner: KC

Welcome to the next installment of Friday’s Foreigner. This week meet KC!

Check back each week to “meet” the other expats!

See our other interviews here. 


My name is KC Higley, I’m from Atwood, Kansas. I came to Hohhot to work in late 2010, after spending 9 months working in Beijing.

If you are doing something different now than when you first arrived tell us about that also.

Well I’m cooking more now than when I first came. I used to eat out and eat a lot of fast food, but after 5 years or living in China I finally started cooking more American food at my house.

If you have free time, what do you do with it?

What’s free time? I have a two year old daughter a lot of my free time is spent with her, but I also do a lot of reading and I build and paint models.

Favorite local food and where you like to get it:

My favorite local food is Beef Noodle Soup and my favorite restaurant for it is about a three minute walk north of City Mall.

If you could make one city-wide change to Hohhot, what would it be?

Hmm, I’m not sure. Perhaps a subway or people just following the traffic laws.

What has been the most surprising aspect of life here?

How fast the city has changed in the last 5 years. I was talking to friends about this recently, about how Hawkers at one time was the pinnacle  of restaurants in the city. Now it seems like there are 100,000 options.

What is the funniest thing a local has ever done for/to you?

One time my neighbor made me dumplings for spring festival but didn’t tell me about the coin in one of them. So when I was eating them, I bit the coin and chipped my tooth.

What’s the most culturally awkward situation you’ve been in here?

Everyday? I am a big guy so I get a lot of looks, but I remember one time when I was in a village outside Beijing an older woman was riding her bike towards me. She saw me and we locked eyes, and she never broke eye connect, until she road her bike into a ditch and corn fields.

What advice would you give to someone just arriving to Hohhot?

Dress warm and enjoy it. I like Hohhot, it’s a small and quiet city which is different than other cities in China. I think it is easy to complain about it, but it’s grown on me and feels like a second home.

Where do you go to “escape?”

Depends how long of an escape I need. If only for a few hours I like going up to the mountain, but if I need a few days then I love DaLi.

When your time here is done and you return home, what do you want to take with you?

Umm, my wife and daughter…but I think I want to take back all the memories. I’m not a big physical possessions guy, so memories are enough.


KC started a weekly quiz bowl gathering, which has kind of quieted down, but he’d like to get it started again. If you have an interest in participating, serving as quiz master, or want more information, you can connect with him on wechat: phox53.


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