Chinese Wedding

So since I’ve started to feel a little inspired to write again, I thought I would write about the most exciting event that has happened since we moved back to China – our wedding.

There are so many things that I want to tell you guys about, so I’ve planned on writing a series of blog posts about the different parts of our wedding and the process of planning the wedding, and especially how it was to plan a wedding in a foreign country where the traditions are very different from my country.

Throughout the blog series I will be writing about the pre-wedding photoshoot, the theme of our wedding, the clothes that we were wearing on the day, and I will also be writing about some of the activities that CC and his parents had planned the days before and after the wedding! And of course I will be posting lots and lots of photos – we are still waiting for the photos from the photographer, but they should be ready any day now!

So please stay tuned for many more wedding posts, and I hope you won’t get too bored with hearing all about our wedding! For more photos of our daily life follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

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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!

~

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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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Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more updates!

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So remember when I said that I had another blog post ready for you guys?
Well, here it is! A little later than I planned, because there is no WIFI in ChenChen’s new apartment, but now that I am back in Norway I can finally post it..

So, I was in Scotland visiting my man for 3 weeks, which was obviously amazing. At the time that I was there he’s parents wanted to skype with us a lot, so they could see us together, and talk to me – they don’t video chat with me when I’m in Norway, because I we wouldn’t be able to communicate as my Chinese is not that good and they don’t speak English. As there is a time difference between UK and China, we would normally skype them in the morning, their evening, and of course that is really nice, it’s good talking to them, and seeing CC happy when I talk to them in Chinese. There is one thing that I always notice when we skype them though, and don’t get me wrong they are very sweet, and I love talking to them when I’m with CC. For those of you who are dating Chinese guys, even Asian guys maybe, you will know what I talk about when I say “Son, be careful” or “Son, are you eating enough, are you eating healthy?”
Sound a lot like a Chinese mum right? haha. And yes, that is very cute, it’s sweet that they care so much about their kids, even though they are not exactly kids anymore.

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I haven’t really noticed it before, how often she says “Son” before every question and how everytime she says “Son” the sentence continue with a question about him eating enough, or him wearing enough clothes outside. To me, it’s not a big problem, it is not bothering me either, but it made me think about the relationship between Chinese parents and their kids, especially their son(s), as they are the ones that are supposed to “support the family” after he get a job.

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I’ve always known that they really care about what he is doing, how he is doing certain things and they always want an update. I don’t think CC has even thought about it before, the fact that they always watch out for him like he is 5 years old. It just really hit me while we were skyping them while I was there, and then I started thinking about my relationship with my parents – yes of course I skype my parents, and they ask me about different things like they should as parents. But they don’t ask me if I wear enough clothes, or if I have remembered to drink enough hot water during the day.

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I am not trying to make any sort of statement with this blog post, and I have to admit that I have been kind of affected by them and I do realize that I sometimes ask CC to wear enough clothes if it is cold outside, and I do ask him if he has eaten dinner etc. Maybe I am becoming like one of the Chinese mums? haha. In my defense, I just care about him – and I guess that’s the same excuse he’s mum would use if I ask her about why she always say “Son…..”

Once again, I respect his parents, and their traditions, and just like them I want what’s best for my man, ChenChen 🙂

As CC is an only child – I wonder, would they be asking their daughter the same thing as they always ask CC? And, will they continue this after CC and I get married?! haha. I mean of course they can, but I can also take care of him, and he can definitely take care of himself! haha

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梦中的额吉 ~ Mother in the dream

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As some of you remember, I’ve been posting videos of Chinese TV shows, funny Chinese videos, or really just anything that’s Chinese. And today I was trying to find a video for the blog. I came across many funny and cute ones, but one video really stood out. I will show you guys why.. But first let me tell you guys a little about why I thought this video was so special. We have all seen many videos like this on youtube before, these are the kind of videos that end up going viral. The moment I opened this video, I thought of 晨晨, but I didn’t really realize why, until the boy introduced himself and said that he was from Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia, after hearing him say “Hulunbuir” I realized it was the traditional costume he was wearing that made me think of  晨晨  – I have seen photos of 晨晨 wearing the same kind of traditional costume before. When the boy named 乌达木 (Wudamu) started talking about the grasslands in Hulunbuir, it really made me miss China, and especially Inner Mongolia. Hulunbuir is where 晨晨 is from, and my favorite part of his hometown is actually the grasslands, it is so peaceful and beautiful there. Once Wudamu said what song he was going to sing, I started tearing up. I know this song very well, it is one of  晨晨’s favorite songs, and he play this song a lot, so I’m really familiar with it..
There is not much more to say about this, you just have to watch the video by yourself, this boy is amazing, and yes it made me cry like a baby, so when I called 晨晨 on Skype after watching it he asked me why my eyes were so red and he thought I had been chopping onion..-.- So I sent him the video and I could tell he was pretty touched by this video, and all he said was “I miss my hometown so much now”.. 

这是一个我最近看到的最伤心的故事…这个男孩来自呼伦贝尔草原。那儿也是我老公的故乡,也是我在中国最喜欢的地方之一。那儿非常祥和,美丽。下次我去呼伦贝尔,一定会想到这个小男孩还有他的歌。这首《梦中的额吉》,我老公也很喜欢,我之前就已经听过了,所以现在听这个小男孩唱时,有种特别的心情

 

Here’s a photo of the grasslands, from last summer~

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Jemma + Kai = 2 pooches and happiness

The other day I asked my friend Jemma, if she wanted to do a guest post on my blog. She’s been in a relationship with a Chinese guy who grew up in the UK, for 7 years, so of course I asked her to write about her relationship,(I think they are so cute together, thats why I asked 😀 Made me feel like a stalker! haha.)  I already know quite a bit about her relationship, but what I really wanted to know more about was if there are as many cultural differences in her relationship as there is in mine. So here you are – This is Jemma’s experience of dating a Chinese guy ~ 

Growing up I was always fascinated with chinese culture from when my dad first started watching Bruce Lee movies with me and I just so happen to now be in a relationship with a chinese guy who was born in Hong Kong but moved to the UK when he was 3/4.

I have to be honest and say that when we first got together I was infatuated with the idea that he is chinese and I am white, however 7 years later it really doesn’t come into it and we argue just like any other race couple do. I personally think a relationship based only on the race of your partner is unrealistic and most probably won’t last.

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With my partner being pretty much raised in the UK there are times where I feel like I appreciate some parts of chinese culture more than he does. For example, respecting his parents. He can be quite rude and dismissive to them when I know they just want whats best for him (although they really couldn’t care less about our relationship!). He seems to have a lot of resentment towards them because they pressured him from a young age to translate things for them and cope with things he really shouldnt of had to at a young age.

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I do think our relationship is…easier?..Because he understands British culture and yet still loves his Chinese culture. Although he speaks Cantonese fluently, he can get embarrassed if there is something he can’t explain or translate to me however his Chinese side definitely comes out when food is brought into the picture. This guy will eat everything and anything and we do cook some chinese dishes together!. Although there are a lot of things he totally disagrees with in his Chinese culture, he is very proud to be Chinese.

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I can’t say there are really any major challenges we have faced together due to the fact we both speak the same language and he understands British culture. I would only say the main issue is me not having a connection with his family which initially was off-putting for me as I always wanted to be close to my in-laws. I do find that chinese girls can get hostile to me at times and white guys to him but we think nothing of it and love the fact that we are mixing our cultures and our ethnicities. I’ve recently thought about going to chinese school but there are none near me 😦  The only reason I would want to do that is for when we have children. Although I understand and can speak some Cantonese, I wouldn’t consider myself fluent at all.

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After 7 years, we live together with our 2 pooches (They are soooo cute 😀 – Oda.. ) , we have had really bad times but are still together. We are planning to finish traveling to a few more places before caving to the pressure of marriage and kids. Once that’s out of or system, we will look to move house and if children come along, our baby girl would be named Ava Mei and a boy named Josh, (unsure of the decided chinese names). Unfortunately we don’t have the money to do it all at once!

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