so much has happened these last four years. More than four years ago, I came to China solo with only a suitcase and a backpack. I traveled, worked, met my husband, traveled a little more, married, had a child and then another one. We moved apartments A LOT. I can’t count how often we have moved apartments these last few years. I have lived in Austria, South and Northeast China. It doesn’t even sound like that much.
These last four years, I have traveled China’s border areas–from areas in Yunnan bordering Myanmar, to visiting the North Korean border near Ji’an, on to the Mongolian border near A’ershan and Kashgar in Western Xinjiang close to the border of Pakistan. If you don’t know already, this is my confession: I find border areas fascinating. I have visited the interior too–the Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces were stunning during low season in November.
I have been to cities and the countryside, seen seas of skyscrapers and people, grasslands, forests, the desert, mountains and rivers. I have laughed, cried and lived and applied for one or the other visa on the way.
My blog has changed just as much these four years as I have. It all started with a few short conversations in taxis, elevators, on the street and in public toilets. Almost 5000 comments and 260,000 page views later, I’m writing on China Elevator Stories and for Beijing Kids. I’m humbled that my words are published in the anthology Knocked Up Abroad Again together with the most beautiful stories from other adventurous women.
There were days where words just kept flowing. But writing about personal stuff can be scary. Thus, there were also days where I almost quit putting my words out there. But then I remember that we need more personal stories about life–stories that are funny, honest, heartfelt and touching–and that these were the stories that first drew me to the blogs of others.
Here is a list of the 8 most popular posts that have appeared on China Elevator Stories this last year (#8 being the one with the most views):
- Four conveniences of living in small town China: I never thought I’d end up living in small town China, but here I am and it isn’t even as bad as I thought it would be.
- Bridging a Chinese-Western identity: Interview with Jason S.C. Fung: Jason S.C. Fung talks about his mixed identity and the concept of bothness.
- Bilingual toddler speak 101: How to say no to your mum so she’ll listen: The best weapon of a bilingual toddler is skillfully mixing languages so mum will listen.
- “Are foreigners not people?”: An ethnic Mongolian sympathizes with my status as foreigner in China.
- Three things toddlers can teach us about learning a language: Toddlers are naturals at picking up languages. These are the three things we can learn from them.
- The year of the monkey and how goats became inauspicious: Did you know that goats haven’t always been considered an inauspicious Chinese zodiac?
- “Life in China is exhausting”: This is not the first time a Chinese person tells me about the daily struggles of life in China.
- Eight things you should know before marrying into a Chinese family: Are you considering marrying into a Chinese family? Stop. Read this article first. And then marry away.
And these were my two most popular posts on Beijing Kids:
- Geographic Separation: The Inevitable Side Effect of a Cross-Cultural Marriage: We didn’t know if my husband would get a visa to be here for the birth of our second baby. This made for many sleepless nights during pregnancy.
- Cultural adjustment: Where do you draw the line? How much cultural adjustment is necessary if you live outside your home country–and how much is too much? Read this article for an answer.
No matter if you’ve stayed with me over the years or if you have visited only recently, thank you for reading.
Which were your favourite posts? What kind of posts would you like to see more of in the future?
This post first appeared on China Elevator Stories.