Resources by Amy Young

When Amy Young first moved to China she knew three Chinese words: hello, thank you and watermelon. Often the only words needed in life, right? She is known to jump in without all the facts and blogs regularly at The Messy Middle—“where grace and truth reside.” People tend to be drawn to grace, grace, grace or truth, truth, truth. Either side doesn’t require much discipline, do they? Instead they foster auto-pilot living. But real life happens … in the messy middle, with both. She works extensively with Velvet Ashes as content creator and curator, book club host, and connection group coordinator. Her book Looming Transitions: Starting and Finishing Well in Cross-Cultural Service is written for those the four to six months prior to moving to or from China.

Aug 28, 2015

3 Reasons You Need to Read this Chinese Food Memoir

by Amy Young

Learning about culture, history, and ourselves through a food adventure in China.

Apr 8, 2014

A New Must-read for China Hands

by Amy Young

Love her or hate her, Empress Dowager Cixi does not leave us with the option of just letting her drift off into historical obscurity. Jung Chang's (author of Wild Swans) recently published Express Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China is destined to become a must read for China hands.

Oct 12, 2015

A Non-Cook Reviews 3 Chinese Cookbooks

by Amy Young

Three cookbooks everyone who is interested in China—cooks and non-cooks alike—should know about.

Aug 31, 2013

A Novel Approach to Chinese History

by Amy Young

If you're interested in China (or any place), I think we're in agreement as to the importance of understanding the historical context. The more you know what has happened, the more you understand what is happening today. Yet at times, the thought of reading history results in a gag reflux, I get it. I really do, some historians are terrible writers. And for those of you who roll your eyes at the mere mention of historical fiction, I'm with you.

Dec 2, 2013

Five Words Google Can't Translate

by Amy Young

It is exhilarating to move to a new country and communicate with people so different from ourselves. Whether through Chinese you have learned or English you have taught, the sense of accomplishment can be deep and genuine.

May 27, 2015

How Can We Better Prepare People for the Field?

An Interview with Lauren Pinkston

by Amy Young

An interview with Lauren Pinkston on preparing people for cross-cultural work. 

Mar 4, 2015

I Stand Corrected

A Book Review

by Amy Young

When I read the title in an email, I knew I had to get a copy of I Stand Corrected: How Teaching Western Manners in China Became Its Own Unforgettable Lesson by Eden Collinsworth (2014).

Jan 13, 2016

Looming Transitions

The Backstory and the Benefits

by Amy Young

Preparing to go overseas or getting ready to return to your passport country? This book is for you.

Sep 2, 2016

One Last Summer Reading Recommendation

by Amy Young

It’s September and the autumn semester has started for most students, but before the leaves start to turn and the temperature plunges, we have one more summer reading book recommendation for you.

Mar 17, 2016

Serving Well in China

A Cultural Framework for Serving in China

by Joann Pittman and Amy Young

This course is less about a set of answers and more about presenting a framework with which to process the complexities of China. When you encounter confusing situations or cultural differences, what you learn here will help you reconcile them with your cultural background and expectations.

Sep 3, 2014

Ten “Americans Really Do THAT?” from Chinese Scholars Living in the U.S.

by Amy Young

I'm sure you've done it, I know I have. Asked a Chinese friend or colleague what stood out to them if they had a chance to visit your home country. I enjoy hearing what stood out to them or to friends who have visited me in China. Their impressions help me to see afresh the places I care about.

Mar 24, 2014

Who Invented the Coffee Cup? (The Answer Might Surprise You)

by Amy Young

The truth is I don't know. But after reading The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester you, too, might find yourself wondering about your morning mug as you wait for water to boil.