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Cantonese

Guest post: Is Cantonese a Language or a Regional Dialect?

Today’s guest post is written by Laura. She comes from a British-German background and has due to her upbringing always been fascinated by intercultural relationships and communication. She works in Nanjing as an English magazine and website editor, while her…

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How pregnancy cured my menorrhagia (heavy menses)

Suffering from menorrhagia Whenever my mother-in-law asserted me that my menstrual problems would be healed with pregnancy, I was sceptic. After all, I’ve had had menorrhagia (heavy and prolonged periods with blood clots) for more than a decade, or more…

countryside in jilin

“What do you do to worship your ancestors?”

Today is not only Easter Sunday, but also Tomb Sweeping Festival (清明节 Qīngmíng jié, also called Qingming Festival) – a Chinese holiday where people visit their ancestor’s graves. We don’t celebrate Tomb Sweeping Festival today, but we visited the grave of my…

Changchun

“Westerners have better physical strength than Chinese”

It’s October 2014. My husband and I visit his cousin in Changchun. My husband tells his cousin about my sitting the month (a tradition called  坐月子 zuo yuezi in Chinese that should help a woman recover from childbirth). He explains: “Westerners don’t…

soviet

“Where’s your Soviet companion?”

It’s January, 2015. I go to a bathhouse. When the employee opens my locker, she asks: “Where’s your companion today?” “Who do you mean? My husband?” “No. The tall woman who came to the bathhouse yesterday. The Soviet.” “Umm, I…

full moon celebration

Chinese traditions: Manyue or Full Moon celebration

满月 (mǎnyuè), or Full Moon, is when a baby turns 30 days old. In China, it’s tradition to cut a baby’s hair for the Full Moon celebration. Before our son turns 30 days, my mother-in-law sends my husband a message: “Once you’ve…

countryside in jilin

“Visiting the grave brings bad luck to your baby”

China Elevator Stories is giving away 5 sets with 10 illustrated cards for Christmas. You can still take part in the giveaway until tomorrow (Friday) evening. It’s easy and free, so make sure to check it out! Cards can only be sent…

Christmas giveaway

China Elevator Stories Christmas giveaway

For this year’s Christmas, I’ve prepared a little giveaway. As a thank you to my readers, I’m giving away 5 sets of illustrations from the blog with 10 cards each. Only people with an address in mainland China can take…

countryside in Jilin province, China

China Elevator Stories is 2 and a little

My blog is a little over 2 years old. To celebrate this anniversary and to reflect on this year (which hasn’t come to an end yet, but still) and the one before that, I’d like to walk you through some…

Chinese breakfast

“You should eat animal fat”

It’s November, 2014. My husband and I stay a week in Dalian with baby. Every morning, we eat at a small dumpling place close-by. They have a choice of dumplings, congee, tea eggs and pickled vegetables. I always order vegetarian…

diapers are bad

“Diapers are bad for your baby’s pee-pee”

It’s October 2014. My husband, I and baby are in Changchun at my cousin-in-law’s place. His wife watches us change diapers. Before we put on a clean diaper, she says: “Wait a while. Let his pee-pee get some air.” She then goes on: “Do…

accidental pregnancy

A girlfriend, a fight and an accidental pregnancy

Remember my husband’s friend who’s working as a trainer at a gym in Shenzhen? I’ll call him S. A few months ago, S thought about splitting up with his girlfriend. One day in June 2014, he tells my husband that his…

baby's little foot

Chinese traditions: Ritual for 5-day-old newborn

In July 2014, my husband and I are in Austria. When our son turns 5 days old, my Chinese mother-in-law (who’s living in China) asks my husband to perform a ritual: My husband takes a blanket with both his hands…

taking baby outside

“It’s way too cold for your baby to be outside”

It’s October, 2014. We’re in my husband’s hometown, Siping. Siping is in Northeast China and it’s already quite cold at this time of the year. Lows are in the single digits (around 2°C or 35°F). During the day, we still get…

Tagong, Sichuan

Travel: 5 places in China I’d love to revisit

In today’s post, I’ll share my favourite China travel destinations. Richelle from Adventures Around Asia has invited me to join in the Booked.net – Top Destinations to Go There promotion. The promotion asks bloggers to share 5 destinations they’d like to revisit (with…

top 10 posts

Top 10 posts on China Elevator Stories, post 151-200

Today not only marks the 200th post on China Elevator Stories, but also my son’s 100 days celebration and our flight back to China (that’s three coincidences). Many of these last 50 posts are connected to being pregnant in China and this also…

millet, goji berries and jujube

Chinese postpartum practices

Labor Confinement In China, it’s tradition to do labor confinement (called 坐月子 zuò yuèzi in Chinese) for a period of 30 days after giving birth. Zuo yuezi is supposed to help a woman recover from childbirth and avoid connected future health problems….

my Chinese in-laws and me

A contagious family – Coming down with a cold

Chinese breakfast One Saturday morning, I get up to have breakfast with Y and my in-laws. Like on most other days, my mother-in-law has gotten up earlier than us and prepared breakfast. Chinese breakfast is different from Austrian breakfast in that…

luck

Internations: Featured blogs China

A few weeks ago, Internations has asked me to do an interview. My blog is now featured on their recommended blogs for China section. Check it out! If you’re living abroad, you can sign up on internations.org for free (there’s also a paid option)….

pork tail

Pork tail – A Chinese delicacy not for kids

It’s September 2014 and we’re in Austria. Whenever we go to the supermarket, my husband looks for things he can turn into Chinese dishes. One day, he turns up with a pig’s tail. In China, pork tail is a delicacy. In…

flags in Yangshuo

Interview on Chinese Tools

Today, I’m dealing with one of the less enjoyable aspects of having a child with parents from two different countries – red tape. While I’m out and about running errands, I’d like to share a recent interview on Chinese Tools with you. In…

Hong Kong

“Look at China, being considerate of pregnant women”

It’s April 2014 and I’m 7 months pregnant. One Saturday, my husband and I go to Hong Kong. Before we arrive at the border building in Shenzhen, we come by two public restrooms. In front of both, there’s a really long line of people queuing up….

grasslands

“I’ll only marry if I meet the right guy”

In September 2013, I visit Q in her hometown in a remote valley in Western Yunnan. One day, she says: “I’ll only marry if I meet the right guy.” She has a boyfriend, but she doesn’t want to marry him. A…

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“I don’t want to keep the baby”

Breaking up One day in the fall of 2013, a 27-year-old Chinese friend sends me a message on QQ telling me that she broke up with her boyfriend. She doesn’t seem too sad about it: “He didn’t really seem to…

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“He had to suffer discrimination in North Korea”

My father-in-law tells me about one of his former co-workers. He says: “He’s from the northern part of North Korea. At first he didn’t understand anything we said. He would always stare at us without saying anything. At that time,…

Cherries

“Pregnant women can’t eat Chinese hawthorn”

It’s April 2013. My husband and I go to the fruit shop. The combination of pregnancy and a recent rise in temperatures in Shenzhen brings about hot flashes for me. I’ve been craving melons for the last 2 weeks. We choose a melon, put it…

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Chinese Ghost Festival

Ghost Festival (鬼节 guǐjié) falls on the 15th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. It is said that on this day, the doors between the human and the spirit world are wide open. Chinese folklore, Taoism, Buddhism, even…

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A not-so-safe drive to the airport

At the beginning of October 2013, I am in Kunming. It’s the last day of my travels and visiting friends in Yunnan and I have a flight later that day. M, a friend of the friend I’m staying with offers to…