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China vegetable market

“Zdravstvuyte! Do you speak Russian?”

When I’m at the local vegetable market the other day, a Chinese guy in his 40s says: “Zdravstvuyte!” Me: “Sorry, I don’t understand.” “Zdravstvuyte! Do you speak Russian?” “I don’t. I’m not Russian.” “Zdravstvuyte! Kak dela?” “Maybe if you tried…

I don't celebrate mother's day

I don’t celebrate mother’s day

I don’t celebrate mother’s day. For one, I’m confused as to what is actually celebrated on mother’s day. The fact that a woman is not “only” a woman anymore, but now also a mother (=a woman’s deed to society)? Children…

Arxan, Inner Mongolia

“Are foreigners not people?”

For the Chinese National holidays in October, 2015, hubby, I and Little Song (our then 15-month-old son) make a road trip to the Arxan mountain range (阿尔山 Ā’ěrshān) in Inner Mongolia (内蒙古 Nèiménggǔ) near the China-Mongolia border. When we arrive at our…

cows

“Won’t anyone steal the cows?”

It’s January, 2016. I go to a blind massage place and talk with the massage therapist working there. We come to talk about cows in Austria and in China. Me: “The cows here are really slim.” Him: “They are, are…

holiday spirit

Not in the holiday spirit? You’re not the only one.

Do you feel like you just haven’t gotten into the holiday spirit this year? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Celebrating holidays abroad For some, not having to celebrate Christmas or being able to avoid all that holiday stress and family drama…

Winter in Northeast China

“Life in China is exhausting”

It’s November, 2014. My husband and I go to a bathhouse. I really like Northeastern China’s bathing culture and we try to make time once in a while to relax a little (which isn’t always easy with a 4-month-old). When…

Siping

“I’m very unlucky to have ended up in Siping”

It’s February, 2015. I go to a hairdresser in Siping. The hairdresser starts talking with me. He asks where I cut my hair the last time. I tell him about my experience: “I went to a hairdresser near the university. When he was…

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…

FI_menstrual-cup-menorrhagia_02

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…

cultural differences in newborn care

“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…