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 😀
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~

nameee

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It’s almost time

In 4 days I will be on my way to Edinburgh, with a one-way ticket. Finally I will see CC again, and his parents, who’s been in Edinburgh for almost a month, and I think CC is about to go crazy 😀 haha. This time will be different though, we are not staying in Edinburgh for long, actually I’m just there for one day before the journey to a new chapter in our lives starts.
The past months have been really busy, I applied for a visa to China which I got, but I also decided to post my resume on a website. Two days later I received an email, from a kindergarten in Beijing, they wanted to arrange a Skype interview with me. I have to be honest, I did not expect too much, but three days later I received an email, saying they were interested in hiring me and they send me the job offer the next day. Of course I was really happy, and I’m still really happy. But, in order to get a work visa in China (I don’t know if this is only for people working in kindergartens) I had to complete a TEFL course, which is a course that gives me a certificate that proves I’m allowed to teach English as a foreign language. So for the past 2 months, I’ve been working on that as well as I’ve been working everyday at my current kindergarten. So pretty much, everything is good to go, I just have to complete the course and CC and I have to find an apartment.

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I never thought it would be this stressful moving back to China, it’s not like I feel stressed in a way that’s annoying, I feel super happy but at the same time really stressed. And when I thought that everything was starting to calm down, I realized “I have to pack my stuff.” >.< I have no idea why I didn’t think of that or do that earlier, so pretty much all this Christmas I have been packing, organizing, looking through all my clothes, given lots of clothes to charity and thrown away some stuff. Unorganized? Maybe. I just finished packing up, and going through all my clothes today, when I realized, all my clothes are in my suitcases, “what will I be wearing the next few days?!” So once again I had to open up my suitcases and find some clothes that I can wear until I leave.

photo 4Started organizing.. or making it more messy maybe? >.< It’s what I called highway to craziness for a few days.. 

photo 2Somewhat organized .. 😀 

photo (2)Finally!!! 😀 

Once I’m on the plane, on my way to Edinburgh, I can finally relax a little. But we still have, lots of work to do, we have to find an apartment that’s located somewhere between where I will work and where CC will work. And for those of you who know, Beijing is not exactly a small city. CC will most likely be working around the Llama temple, while I will most likely be working at the kindergarten located close to the airport. The kindergarten got two kindergartens, one in Shunyi and one in Haidian, at first they wanted me to work in Haidian, but now after I told them I prefer the one in Shunyi, as my old High School is in that area and I know that area much better, it seems like I will be working there. It’s really exciting, and I can’t wait. But looking at apartments online is not exactly easy, maybe it’s even more difficult in China, as I know some agencies use fake pictures. And to make it even better, this is something I’m super duper overly extremely excited about – CC’s bestfriend’s dog had puppies a few weeks ago, and we are getting one of the puppies. I know it’s not the best timing, but CC and I have always talked about getting a dog. I’m already in love with our puppy, Bailey, and I can’t wait!!

photo 3Everybody say hello to Bailey 😀 

With just 4 days left in Norway, I’m finally starting to relax, and I can finally enjoy the last few days with my family and friends, before CC and I fly to Beijing. As we only decided on going to Beijing in mid-November we didn’t have as much time to prepare and plan as we’d hoped for, but once we have found an apartment, and settled down, I will share lots of stories with all of you guys from our new life in Beijing! I can’t wait 😀

Anyone else who also feel super stressed before moving? Please share your experience on moving to a new town or country ~

For more updates on our new adventure follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

nameee

Home is where the heart is – 我是哪里人?

This is a question that I have been asked many many times, as I went to an International High School in Beijing. It is funny, the more times I get asked this question, the more I start to wonder. Obviously, I am from Norway. My mum and dad are both Norwegian, at least, as far as I know 😛
This post is not going to make any sense, as it does not make any sense when I ask myself this question. So as you all know, I’m from Norway, but I lived in Beijing for 5 years, during those 5 years I considered Beijing home. Whenever my family and I went to Norway during those 5 years, I would say “We are going To Norway for summer vacation” and when we were going back to Beijing I would say “We are going back home.”  Now, wouldn’t it make more sense if I said “We are going home – home to Norway?” Well, not for me. Ever since I moved to China I’ve been in love with the country, the culture, the traditions, and the food. Do I not love the same things about Norway? I’m sure I do, but not in the same way. Maybe it is because I moved to China when I was a teenager, maybe it is because I never paid much attention to the Norwegian culture, maybe it’s because I was a typical teenage girl, and I couldn’t care less about those things at that time? I don’t know, I don’t think there is an answer to why I call China home. The only answer I can think of is “home is where the heart is.” And I guess, this is the answer that is most accurate when I think about where “I’m from.”  I have thought about it many times, it may be because my family is living in Dubai, and CC is living in Scotland, maybe I just don’t “feel” home yet? I guess, after living abroad like I did, especially during your teenage years, it is hard to say where “home” is. Because you get so attached to a place, and it is hard to let go, especially when you have more friends in the country you lived in, rather than your home country.

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Have you ever been in the same situation before? What do you consider home?

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中国 here we come!

It’s been a long time since last time I wrote something here. I’m not going to make up excuses for why I haven’t been writing anything, but lets just say that I’ve had a lot of other things to think about, and I just didn’t prioritize the blog. And yes, I do feel very bad, but I have just not sat down, and planned a blog post. Well, as you all know, this blog is mainly about China, my experiences in China, AMWF relationship and my relationship with CC.
This is not going to be a long post, but I thought it would be fair to update you guys on what’s going on!
For the past months, CC and I have been trying to figure out what to do; Should he work in Europe? Should he go back to China to work? Should I stay in Norway and continue working? Should I go to China with him?.. You know, the typical LDR questions.. It’s been a long process, with tears, frustration and joy. I’ve had long conversations with my parents, CC has been having long conversations with he’s parents and we finally figured out to do, at least to begin with and then we will take it from there, but all I know is that we can figure this out~
Well, not so long ago, I applied for a visa to China, and the last 2 weeks have been absolutely nerve wrecking, but I FINALLY received my passport yesterday, and it included a visa 😀  I haven’t been this happy in a long long time. I don’t want to say too much, because we don’t have everything settled yet, but we will be going to China in January, and CC will be working in Beijing. So from now on, I will finally have something to write about! 😀

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Remember to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more updates ! 🙂

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好久不见 – Long time no see..

I’m so sorry.. I have to admit I have sort of forgotten about the blog because I’ve been focused on other things – But now I’m back, and I already got another blog post ready 🙂
Anyways, just to update you guys a little bit on my life – I am currently in Scotland visiting ChenChen, I’ve been here since July 4th, and I will stay until July 25th. We haven’t really planned anything while I’m here, we will go to London for a weekend and that’s about it. ChenChen will also be moving into a new apartment in Scotland, and oh my.. There is a lot of paperwork that needs to be done in this country!!

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On wednesday we decided that we wanted to get away from the city for a while, so we booked train tickets to a small town called Oban, it’s a very small place, actually it’s just a bay area, but it was really to stay there for 2 days. We stayed at a Bed & Breakfast which was really nice and really British! (you can imagine the curtains and the decorations in the room).. But aside from that, we had a great time.. My biggest problem, which is a little bit awkwardI don’t really like seafood.. I mean I can eat salmon, but that’s about it, so that was a bit tricky since we went to a town that is well known for all it’s seafood restaurants, but ChenChen – he was in heaven! haha. Somehow I managed to find something to eat the 2 days we were there though, and I even tasted all of the seafood that ChenChen ordered (Prooooud of myself.. hihi) 

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Aside from eating seafood, there were many other things to do in Oban, but as the weather was not too nice the first day we ended up just walking around in the town, taking some pictures and just enjoying the silence and fresh air.. The second day we went on a small boat trip, just to see the area around Oban, and all the small islands. The most exciting part of the boat trip was when we came to a place where there were lots of seals swimming around in the sea, and just relaxing on rocks!
Also we went up to a monument called Mc Caig’s Tower – as it is a small town it was not far to walk, but can you imagine steep uphill for about 20 minutes and wearing waaaay too much clothes because it was cold in the morning?! I felt so sweaty and nasty after finally arriving at the top. It was worth it though! I can describe the view in one word – Stunning!

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Here are some more photos from out trip 🙂

 

And just as a reminder, as I might not update the blog that often – Check my Instagram and Facebook page for more updates and pictures 🙂

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?

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nameee