Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot

Hi you all!

This is officially the beginning of a lot of wedding posts, and I will start the series by talking about the pre-wedding photos. 

As you all know, taking wedding photos before the actual wedding is a huge thing in Asia, and especially in China! And when I say taking photos before the wedding I don’t mean earlier in the morning before the ceremony or a day before, the photos are normally taken months before the actual wedding.

So you might wonder why? To be honest, I’m not sure either, but I could imagine there’s a couple of reasons why. One; because you literally do not have time to take pictures during the actual wedding day.The day of your wedding there’s a lot of things happening and the schedule is very tight, however, I will talk more about what goes on during the day of the actual wedding in another post. Another reason why taking your pre-wedding pictures is such a big deal in Asia, is to show your pictures during the day of the wedding. If you have ever attended a Chinese wedding you have probably notice there’s a huge screen in the background of the stage, showing the couple’s pre-wedding pictures. For our wedding, our photos were of course shown on a big screen, but also shown on small screens in the hotel – actually, we didn’t see that ourselves, but we were told they would be on the screens..

So, over to the whole process of taking the photos ~ We really didn’t have much time to take our photos, and suddenly it was already late April, and we had still not booked anyone to take our photos. Our plan was to take the photos in Beijing, as we would have more time and we would not have to travel far for it, but we were slow, and didn’t really realize how busy the photo agencies were during spring time.. Thankfully we found a weekend where we had time to go back to CC’s hometown to get our pictures taken. Why go all the way there, and not just to a neighbor city, or Sanya as we already decided to travel? My amazing sister-in-law runs her own photo studio, so we were super lucky and she had time that weekend to take our photos, and I could not have been happier with the results!

So this is what a day of taking pictures looks like: 

6:30 am – We went to the studio to pick out dresses that I could wear, and a suit for CC.

7:00 am – Makeup artist starts doing my makeup and my hair.

9:00 am – I’m done with my makeup and hair and its time for hubby to get a little bit of foundation on his face to cover his tanlines.

9:30 am – Let’s try to fit into the tiny Chinese sized wedding dresses.

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10:00 am – We decided to just take pictures at random places we could find along the road, and no crowded places.

11:00 am – 6 pm – We are done with all the pictures that’s going to be taken outside – and yes, that includes me changing from one wedding dress to another dress in a car in middle of nowhere.

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6:30 pm – Back at the studio, and time for me to change into another dress, and fix my hair and makeup.

7:30 pm – Let the photo shoot being – again..

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9:30 pm – And we are done! Time to celebrate!!

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To be honest, it was very exhausting taking the pictures, but I absolutely loved the final result and I could not be more happy with the pictures! So if you ever want to go to Inner Mongolia to get your pre wedding photos take, hit me up and I will introduce you to the best photographers in town 😀

For more updates on our daily life in China follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

Gift giving in China ~

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and some have already started the most important holiday of the year. This is the time of the year, when almost every Chinese travels back to their hometown, to see their family and hometown friends. Many shops, restaurants, shopping malls and even streets are now decorated with beautiful red decorations and it seems like everyone is ready to enter the Year of the Sheep (羊 – yang.) CC and I are going to travel to Manzhouli and celebrate Chinese New Year with his family, which I’m really looking forward to! I guess our 2 weeks will consist of eating dumplings, visiting family and family friends, and fireworks and since we got Bailey now, we will take him to Manzhouli as well, hopefully he wont be too scared of the fireworks – thankfully his mama is also pretty freaked out about fireworks (his mama is obviously me for those of you guys who didn’t realize 😀 )
We have started to decorate our apartment a little, bus since we wont celebrate in Beijing this year we have not gone crazy with the decorations. Actually, the other day the “Manager of he compound committee” ( I have no idea what its called in English) rang our doorbell and gave us a bag with decorations and hongbao’s (红包) together with a letter wishing us a happy new year and reminding us to be careful with the fireworks. Kind of nice, and now I really like our compound, I mean free decorations for Chinese New Year?! I’d been asking CC for days if we could buy decorations and all of a sudden this guy rang our doorbell 😀

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Anyhow, as I said, Chinese New Year is super important to Chinese, and it is also the holiday where you give gifts or money in small red envelopes called 红包 (Hongbao). Some people decide not to give money and they give gifts instead, and if you are going to celebrate Chinese New Year with someone this year and you want to make sure what you give as a gift is not considered bad or rude to give I have made a list of things that you should try to avoid giving:

1. No watches or clocks for seniors.
– Clock () is pronounced “Zhong” in Mandarin, which means “the end,” even though Watch is pronounced “Biao” it is still considered a No No. It is said that since the word clock’s pronunciation means the end, giving a watch or clock to someone would pretty much be the same as you saying “Your time is up.” Which is definitely not something I would want to say to someone..
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2. No umbrellas or pears for lovers (couples).
– Umbrella () is pronounced as “San” and pear () is pronounced as “Li” in Chinese, both of these means “separation,” so you don’t want to give a couple an umbrella or pears, as it will seem like you want them to separate.

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3. No green hats for men.
– This one is actually kind of funny, as I really wanted to get CC a green hat long time ago, before I knew the meaning of it. But yea, no green hats for men because: In Chinese saying if a “man wears a green hat” it means his wife is having an affair, which is a serious insult to the man. So if you don’t want to let your friend think his wife is having an affair, avoid the green hat!

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4. No medicine for the healthy.
– Giving someone medicine as a gift implies that the receiver will get sick or even worse, you want them to get sick. Actually, even health care products are inappropriate to give to others unless they are family or close friends.

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5. No shoes for non-family members.
– Shoe () pronounced “Xie” is a homonym for “evil” in mandarin. This makes shoes an unlucky item to give as a gift. I even heard that if you give someone a pair of shoes that’s too small it pretty much means “make things hard for someone

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6. Gift packages should avoid the colors black and white.
– Black and white are colors that are associated with funerals and unfortunate things in China. So then if you can pick another color, for example red which means good luck in China or other warm colors symbolizing harmony and good luck.

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7. Cash is the best gift of all – especially during Chinese New Year!
– If you don’t know what to get for your family or family friends for Chinese New Year, then give them a 红包 (hongbao) with money, you can never go wrong with that! In Chinese customs during Chinese New Year, seniors will give 红包’s with lucky money inside to children to express their love.

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~

Does your country have any gifts that you should not give to others? Or do you know any other gifts that you should not give in China? Please share with me 😀
And for more frequent updates, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

~

nameee

2014年5月30日 ~ The Proposal ~ 求婚

The last post showed you guys what I’ve been up to lately 😛 Well, the most exciting thing thats happened for the past months at least, and I promised to write more about it when I came back from Scotland, and I promised Lina to write it today – So here you go! haha.
I’m going to make it short, but it is actually a funny story, so I’ll make sure to write about it all. As all of you know, I’m in a LDR, ChenChen is living in Scotland and I’m living in Norway. And I was reallllly excited because I was going to visit him for 5 days. And I just have to say, that I am normally the kind of person who wants to know whats going on, and I always plan things to be sure that I know when, and where I will go out.. as you can tell – I’m a control freak! 😛
Anyways, so it all started Wednesday evening as I was about to board my plane to Edinburgh, I got a text from ChenChen saying “Btw, we are going to my friend’s birthday party, so tomorrow we have to go shopping to buy you some nice clothes, and I need to buy a suit” of course I just answered “Okay, sure.. But I don’t wanna drink any alcohol” haha. Well, on the Thursday we spent the whole day shopping, with no success, I was just in suuuuch a bad mood, and I was really not excited about going to a birthday party. Thankfully I found something that looked OK, but he could not find a suit that he liked. To be honest, I didn’t even understand why on earth he needed to wear a suit?! And I was telling him “you know, it’s only going to be Chinese people there, non of them are going to be wearing suits! You know that, they wear jeans even to weddings..! Let’s not be overdressed!” And he was just saying that the party would be in a private KTV room at a Casino, so we had to wear nice clothes.. At 5 pm on Friday, he finally found something to wear, 2 hours before we were supposed to be there.

You guys can imagine me being all frustrated, pissed off and stressed, so I quickly put on some nailpolish, tried to do my makeup and straighten my hair, but I was still a little frustrated because I was not excited about going to the party as I wanted to spend quality time with ChenChen, and not waste a day being hungover! haha.. Anyhow, we got all dolled up and ready to go, but then I was like – “but first let me take a selfie..” Obviously ChenChen was all excited about that and here’s the result..
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Anyways, we arrived at the Casino and as I didn’t know many of them, I had to be all nice and sweet to them, the only person I knew was the birthday boy so I walked up to him and said “生日快乐” (Happy birthday) and they were all like “woaaaa, 你说中文!” (You speak Chinese) haha >.< Anyways, so as we were in a private room, we could sing as many weird songs as we wanted to, and all of a sudden I said “Let’s sing the birthday song for Leo (birthday boy)” and so we did, after the song finished Leo disappeared and I was told he was going to pick up some people outside the casino, so we just continued the birthday party, having fun playing games, drinking and singing. I quickly made friends with the girls that were there and we were singing songs together, and for the people who’s not been to KTV’s before and doesn’t know what its like; you pretty much pick many songs, and they get added to a playlist, and then you just pass the microphone to the person who picked the song that’s next on the list. While I was singing a Lady GaGa song with one of the girls, I noticed that the next song was “Forever Love” by 王力宏,and I got all excited because I love that song, and it turned out that it was ChenChen who had picked that song and he asked if I wanted to sing it with him, because he knows that I like that song, so eventually I said yes, but I have to say, I didn’t sing much.. I all of sudden got really shy, and felt that my Chinese skills were all gone.. So I was just standing there, enjoying the song, and suddenly the birthday boy walked in with flowers and gave them to ChenChen, and I was thinking to myself “ooookay? he must be really thankful because ChenChen helped him organize the party.” My man continued singing, and suddenly he went down on one knee and I’m pretty sure you guys know the words that came out of his mouth; “Oda will you marry me?” You guys can imagine my reaction, I was speechless, and just burst out in tears, I couldn’t stop crying, finally I managed to say something that was a mix of “yes, omg, yeah” Haha..  After a while of crying ChenChen told me that there was no birthday party, this was all for me, and they had been planning this since the day I booked the tickets to go Scotland. And of course, I started crying again, I really had no idea that it was not a birthday party, I was overwhelmed, surprised, and super happy.

 

Btw, I was wearing really high heels, so I was waaaay taller than ChenChen..

After the proposal I could tell that ChenChen was way more relaxed and really happy, it was a really good atmosphere in the room, and we were all singing songs, dancing, taking photos and drinking. Then one of the people working at the casino came with a cake, and 2 cocktails, one for me and one for ChenChen, the cocktails was made especially for us as we had gotten engaged, and the cake was from ChenChen’s friends. It was really sweet. I’m normally not the kind of person who enjoy a lot of attention, but for once I loved it. The rest of the night is just history.. we continued singing and drinking until the morning, and the next day I woke up with a mix of pure happiness and a real bad hangover. It was definitely a night I will never forget.

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This was a really.. cheesy blog post, but that’s how the proposal happened! haha. 
Anyone else who’s been proposed to? Or have been on / planned a surprise party for someone?

For more updates follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

nameee

I hope all of you guys who celebrate Chinese New Year had a great celebration! As I mentioned earlier I was going to Scotland to celebrate with ChenChen. I was there for 4 days, and we tried our best to make it as Chinese as possible, we both thought it would be “easy” to make it like in China, but wow.. We were wrong.. Although it was really nice it was nothing like the celebration in China. I arrived on Thursday (January 30th) and we had invited a few people to celebrate with us, mostly Chinese and 3 people from his class that were not Chinese. We didn’t have time to cook food ourself, unfortunately but we did order food from a Chinese restaurant! I guess there’s not much to say about the celebration, 10 people, lots of yummy food, dumplings and a crazy amount of alcohol for the alcohol-lovers.. haha! I think that saved their night! Instead of writing a long post about what we did, I will add some photos for you guys to look at 🙂 I have to say I totally forgot to take photos, but we tried to make the 4 days I was there as “Chinese” as possible..
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The local Chinese supermarket, funny thing, we happened to walk in there exactly 12 am China time, and they were all celebrating, and then we walked in, I was the only foreigner in there, and they started handing out small gifts, and they said “If you know some Chinese words we will give you” little did they know that I speak Chinese with my MIL every day.. haha. 

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So this is actually what we got from the supermarket, because I knew some Chinese words.. 

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ChenChen’s friend & ChenChen

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All the yummy food 😀 

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饺子! We didn’t actually use the forks.. We used chopsticks, the forks were there because we had been eating some fruits and we used forks for that.. >.<

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This is what I woke up to the next morning.. haha 

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ChenChen, me and ChenChen’s friend – Nemo ~ 

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ChenChen & I ~

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P.S – I update my Instagram with photos way more often than I update here~ 
@ odatobiassen

nameee

想回家乡

春节 also known as Chinese new year or Spring Festival is just around the corner and people all across not only China but also other countries around the world who celebrate 春节 have started preparations for this big celebration.
Chinese New Year is celebrated right across the People’s Republic of China, and in other countries and areas with a large Chinese population, such as Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and in Chinatowns worldwide, pretty much – where ever there are some Chinese, they will celebrate.

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Chinese New Year, which is on January the 31st this year, is I would say one of the most important festivals and everyone who is working in another city or even country wants to go back to their 家乡(hometown) and celebrate with their family and loved ones. Can you imagine all these people traveling? They actually call it the “World’s biggest annual human migration” which is definitely not hard to understand when you know the number of people who will travel during this time –  “A good portion of China’s 1.35 billion people are expected to make over 3.6 billion journeys – by plane, train, automobile, bus, motorized tricycle and probably a few donkeys.”

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Within China, regional customs and traditions for the celebration depends on where you are from, but most of the traditions are the same. People spend a lot of money on buying presents before the go back to their hometown, on decorations and food. Cleaning the house thoroughly before New year is a common tradition, they do it to sweep away ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck.  Most doors and windows will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular words such as “good fortune”, “happiness”, “wealth” and “longevity”.

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Now, how do they actually celebrate Chinese New Year? On Chinese New Year’s Eve, families will gather for their annual reunion dinner, with a variety of food including pork, duck, chicken, spring rolls and of course 饺子.
The family and/or friends usually have some fireworks and firecrackers to scare “evil spirits” this happens around midnight or a little before, and it is also a tradition to eat 饺子 (dumplings) at midnight. So you can only imagine   cities around in China being very noisy  around midnight, and for hours afterwards, even days! Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and then receive money in a 红包, the red envelope, it is usually children or the “unmarried” ones who receive this, but also people who don’t have a job yet, although this depends a little considering the traditions. Over the next few days, everyone meet relatives and friends to exchange gifts and good wishes.  It is pretty much one big happy celebration!
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This girl is Chenchen’s niece, sweetest kid 🙂 One of the many reasons why I really wish I could back to Manzhouli for Chinese New year.. 

Unfortunately, Chenchen and I can not celebrate with his family as we are Scotland and Norway, and we will definitely not receive any HongBao’s, of course his family is really sad, especially his mum, so these days I try to talk a lot to her, and make her happy.. haha. Although we are not going to celebrate Chinese New year in Manzhouli (Chenchen’s hometown) we are lucky enough to at celebrate together, as his parents actually bought me tickets to Scotland so I can spend parts of this festival with my 老公 and his friends there. I was definitely not expecting anything from them as I’m not Chinese, but the fact that they wanted us to celebrate together is perfect!
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Here are some useful word / sentences that you could definitely need when celebrating Chinese New year; 

新年快乐 = Xīnnián kuàilè! = Happy New Year
恭禧发财 = Gōngxǐ fācái = Wishing you prosperity in the coming year
吉星高照 = Jí xīng gāo zhào = Fortune will smile on you (‘lucky star high shines’)
吉祥如意 = jí xiáng rú yì = Good fortune according to your wishes

And here are some popular phrases used for the year of the horse;

马上有钱 = Mǎshàng yǒu qián = Get wealthy quickly
马年大吉 = Mǎ nián dàjí = Best wishes for the year of the horse
马到成功 = Mǎdàochénggōng = Success is on its way

Here is a song and MV by my favorites 羽泉 this music video really show’s what the family reunion’s are like during Chinese New year, and it really makes me want to go back to China.. 😦

nameee

新年快乐!

Happy New Year!
To me 2013 was amazing, but I’m sure 2014 is going to be even better!
It’s a new year, another 365 days  to fill with joy and laughter, and I wish you guys all the best in 2014 🙂
I will have to make a lot of decisions, about what I want to do, study or continue working where I work now? decisions, decisions.. Even with the decisions I know it will be great.. My 老公 and I already have quite a few plans for this year, and all I can say is.. “I can’t wait” 😀

All Christmas I have not published any blog posts, mainly because I’ve been too busy.. busy during Christmas?! How? .. Lucky me had to work…. well only 2 days.. Also my family is back in Norway, and my 老公 is here 😀  It was really nice celebrating in Norway this year, and especially celebrating New Years eve, I have to say that I don’t miss celebrating New Years in Beijing, those crowded clubs, drunk people, and the dangerous fireworks.. It was fun while I was there, but I did not miss it 😛

I will write a longer post later, but for now, here are some photos ~

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Super serious faces… >.<

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My 爸爸 & 老公 going Chinese..

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nameee