The quintessential laowai
Who is Noel Smith? Noel Smith is the brainchild of three Americans in a bar. Despite having met over a decade ago in a third-tier city in northern China, it was only recently during a summer of libation-fueled discussions that we discovered our common desire to share our China stories with the world. Even though we come from various backgrounds, races, generations, and geographical locations, in China, we are the same. We are Noel Smith—the quintessential laowai.
While an incredible amount of ink has been dedicated to the subject of China, our approach is different in its focus on the stories of expats living, working, and playing in China. It is through these narratives that we hope to provide a more intimate peek into the China we have grown to love, and, most importantly, a behind-the-scenes view of the tragedies and triumphs of the people who relay China to the rest of the world.
We believe—Noel Smith believes—that in addition to the never-ending laundry list of cheap goods produced in China, individuals, specifically non-Chinese foreigners, are also made in China.
For personal and professional reasons, we have chosen to maintain not only our anonymity but that of the places and people we write about, thus the nom de plume, Noel Smith. Some of us continue to live in China, others have returned home, but each of us remain connected to China through work, research, family, friends and a commitment to the country where we remain eternally foreigners- foreign in China, but not foreign to China.
As we navigate and ride the learning curve as first time authors - creating and collaborating across continents - we hope our readers will enjoy the journey despite our most certain missteps and course corrections. Welcome aboard.