Category: Life in China

Happy Chinese New Year of the Rooster

Tomorrow starts the Year of the Rooster. If you’ve ever been to China, you might have noticed red paper strips with couplets (对联) and red signs with the Chinese character for happiness (福) are brought up on the doors of…

bob sleigh

Happy New Year 2017 and posts you’ve missed

New Year’s Eve New Year’s Eve was marked by my husband working, my kids both sleeping early and me enjoying some bread and bacon on my own. Exciting, huh? After packing, moving, readjusting to China and taking care of a…

Small Town China

4 Conveniences of Living in Small Town China

Moving to Small Town China When my husband and I visited his hometown, a small town in Northeast China with our son in the fall of 2014, we only planned to stay for a few weeks. Our initial plan was…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

“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…

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…

My family of five

One day in December 2013 I go to pick up pictures at a small Kodak shop near my place in Shenzhen. I want to put some pictures on the wall to make our flat look more comfy. When I enter…

Guest post: Taking care of pets – cultural differences

In today’s guest post I’d like to introduce you to Richelle Gamlam. Richelle is an International Affairs major who has spent two semesters studying in Beijing and Xi’an. She is currently teaching English in Wuxiang town in Zhejiang, where she’s the only…

The MSG wars

For Christmas Eve 2013, I prepare a simple Austrian Christmas dish – sausages with sauerkraut and potatoes. While I’m in the kitchen looking for the right spices, I find pure MSG hidden behind other spices. I show it to my…

Mold, mold, mold (and preventative measures)

I’ll exchange the humid climate of coastal Guangdong for the dry climate of Central Europe tomorrow, but don’t worry – I’ve prepared lots of China-related posts to keep you entertained until I’m back in a few months’ time small talking with locals in China. It’s…

“You should have a baby boy”

In February 2014, one of my former co-workers who just had a baby girl stops me in my tracks: “Let me see your belly.” After looking at it, she concludes: “It’s really big. You’re wearing quite sexy clothes. You should…

“I’m thinking of breaking up”

One of my husband’s friends is working as a trainer at a gym. It’s the trainers job to find people they can train. The competition is fierce and more often than not, he doesn’t have anyone to train. If he…

“I went to kindergarten for 7 years”

One day in the fall of 2013, I listen to two co-workers talking. One is a guy from Northeast China who’s 24, the other one is a woman in her mid-30s who has a 3-year-old child. She tells us how…

“You can take apples right out of these boxes”

One day in November 2013, I’m at the supermarket buying fruit. I go to a square counter that is filled with apples. It’s accessible from all four sides. On the opposite side of the counter, a supermarket employee who’s busy unpacking…

1980 or The year that my in-laws tied the knot

One Sunday afternoon in February, 2014, my husband and I sit in our living room drinking tea and chatting. My in-laws have gone to the market and we enjoy some alone time. When they come back, we are still sitting…

Guest post: “My wife thinks I have a lover”

In today’s guest post I’d like to introduce you to Marta from Marta Lives in China. Originally from Spain, Marta has been living in China for almost 7 years. She is currently living in Suzhou together with her Chinese boyfriend…

An inconspicuous fruit shop

I have recently started working out and with that I have started craving fruits. Every second day or so, I work out after getting off work and arrive at home really late in the evening. Exhausted from working out, you…

“Are you pregnant?”

One day in October 2013, I wait for my husband to get ready for getting off work near the entrance of the company. One of the female coworkers comes up to me. She touches my belly and asks: “Are you…

“I’ll make you gain weight”

“I’ll make you gain weight. 2-4 kilos the first month, 4-6 the second month and 6-8 the third month. Believe me, it will work.” It wasn’t that I didn’t want to believe it. But rather that I’ve heard this all…

my Chinese husband and I

A change of plans

Today, I’m sharing a photo with you that was taken at about the same time last year. On this day about a year ago, Y and I visited Dafen Oil Painting Village in Shenzhen (大芬油画村 dàfēn yóuhuàcūn). The village has…

“Did you have to use guns frequently?”

One day in the summer of 2012 I’m in Shangri-la at a restaurant with two acquaintances. My friend has to work and has asked them to take me around town. They have both worked as police officers in the past….

Being a highly sensitive person in urban China

What does it mean to be a Highly Sensitive Person (short HSP) living in one of China’s biggest cities? It means that there’s a lot of external stress. Maybe much more external stress than you’d have to cope with back…

Russian in Northeast China, American in the Southeast

“Canadian.” “German.” “American.” “British.” These are all nationalities I’ve been associated with in Northeast China’s Jilin province. Often, people don’t say it directly, rather they’ll tell their friends: “Look, a German.” I don’t really mind if they say that I’m…