Jilin: The Cafés of Tonghua

One day while travelling through my husband’s home province Jilin in July 2013, we come by a city called Tonghua. My husband’s friend is living there and my husband has promised to pay her and her mother, who is seriously…

Is your wife from Russia?

In January 2013, my then fiancé (now husband) and I take a cab. The cab driver starts a conversation with my fiancé, not knowing that I understand everything they say. Cab driver (pointing at the pineapple in my fiancé’s hand):…

“I can’t sleep, I’m too excited”

Ever since we met, Y and I have spent every single day together. It’s hard not to when you sit right next to each other in the office. This doesn’t mean that there weren’t times when we were apart, but…

Guest post: Unconventional ways of learning Chinese

Today I’m featuring a guest post by Sarah, fellow Shenzhen-expat and the face behind the blog Reclaim Your Fearlessnesss that gives tips on how to live the life you want to live and not let others dictate it. I love her…

Raw veggies, bread and Wurst

Y is different from most Chinese I know. Well, I know, of course he is – to me, right? What I mean is that his eating habits are different from most other Chinese people I know. He loves eating raw…

“When is the expected date of delivery?”

One day not too long after our wedding and honeymoon, Y and I are at work. When we finish with work that day, one of our coworkers talks with Y. I can’t hear what they talk about, but Y tells…

“We don’t really have a dialect”

Many of my friends from Northeast China tell me: “We don’t really have a dialect, we do speak a very intelligible Mandarin. Maybe there are some words that are different, but that’s about it.” Oh, the beloved “er” Northerners use…

“Has he bought you an apartment yet?”

After having traveled around Jilin province and meeting my in-laws in July 2013, Y and I take the train back to Shenzhen. We spend 36 hours on the train. Y shares his 6-bed compartment (there are no doors, so I’m…

My mother-in-law and the crazy foreigners

A few weeks before our wedding my mother-in-law takes a train to Beijing to help us with some of the red tape. Since it is her first time in Beijing, she also decides to visit the great wall. All the…

“Once you’re married, you’ll have kids”

One morning in March 2013 I buy congee at my favorite congee place near the subway stop. The lovely woman selling the congee says: “You know, you and your boyfriend can be lucky that you can be together like this…

My in-laws’ old house

Four years ago, my in-laws bought an apartment in their hometown Siping in Northeast China’s Jilin province. Two years ago, they should have been able to move into their new apartment. But the apartment had not been finished at that…

The beautiful tomatoes of Siping

One day, my in-laws and I are waiting for my husband at the market in his hometown, Siping. I take a picture of a basket with string beans. When one of the women working at the market sees this, she…

Guest post: “I like men”

Today I’m featuring a story from Laura. Laura is a fellow-expat and blogger who is currently living and working in Shanghai. She blogs at Pausa Monk and will marry her Chinese fiancé at the beginning of October. Congrats! When I take…

“Is your hair dyed or is this your real color?”

This is the last part of a conversation with a 17-year old girl working at the hairdresser’s doing massages. Click here if you’ve missed part 1 (“Do you have brothers and sisters?”), here for part 2 (“How much do you…

The Liebster Award and blog recommendations

I’m honoured to have been nominated for the Liebster Award by the writer of the blog Out For A Long Lunch who posts delicious recipes and mouth-watering pics of the dishes (don’t read this blog if you’re hungry, it will…

“I have the heart of a boy”

This is part 3 of 4 of a conversation with a 17-year old girl working at the hairdresser’s doing massages. Click here if you’ve missed part 1 (“Do you have brothers and sisters?”) and here for part 2 (“How much…

“How much do you earn?”

This is part 2 of 4 of a conversation with a 17-year old girl working at the hairdresser’s doing massages. Click here if you’ve missed part 1 (“Do you have brothers and sisters?”). Stay tuned for part 3 (“I have…

Shenzhen, the nastiest place in China, or is it?

I’ve heard many bad things about Shenzhen. I never wanted to come here in the first place because of what I’ve heard. Now that I’m living in Shenzhen, it does bother me if people repeat those stereotypes unreflectedly and without…

“Do you have brothers and sisters?”

One evening after work in May 2013, my fiancé decides to get a haircut and I accompany him. When we enter the hairdresser, an employee turns to my fiancé and unsure of which language to use she asks hesitantly: “Do…

“He’s not your husband yet”

If you drink Chinese medicine, at the beginning of the treatment your TCM doctor will usually require you to go see him/her every 3-4 days. The formula of the herbs will be adjusted every few days and while the basic…

How I turned my husband’s life upside down

In the autumn of 2012, my husband is a single guy in his thirties. He has broken up with his girlfriend only a few months before and isn’t looking for a new one. He plans to further his career and…

Interview on blogexpat.com

I’m staying at my in-laws’ and won’t be back in Shenzhen until next week. I’ve written quite a few articles while traveling around Jilin province and  staying at my in-laws’ to be published soon on this blog. Until then, you…

Garden city

Our team was working on an app recently where we needed to do some research on plants. There are quite a few plants in my company, and once every week a young woman working at a florist comes into our…

“It must be really dangerous working here”

One day after work, Y, another colleague and I go to have dinner at a nearby street side restaurant. The road leading there is surrounded by trees – mainly mango trees and durian trees. On our way to the restaurant,…

Hong Kong: Welcome to Congee Wonderland

As much as I love Shenzhen with its many flowers and lots of space – when it comes to food I would trade it for Hong Kong without hesitation. A few years ago I entered a congee restaurant with the…

“You can’t like her too much”

This is part two of a conversation my fiancé and I had with a Chinese doctor. If you’ve missed part one, here’s the link: “I’d like to find my son a foreign wife” When the doctor is done with feeling…

Pre-wedding photo shoot

Here is a selection of photos from our pre-wedding pictures shoot. We took all of the photos in Shenzhen, part of the shoot was in a studio and part of it was outdoors, close to the sea. Enjoy! Share the love and follow…

“Remember to wear a comfortable bra”

Y and I are getting married tomorrow. I’ve prepared this little story for you and will publish a few photos of our wedding pictures shoot tomorrow. Enjoy! On the evening before the day that we had our wedding pictures taken,…

“Promise me to be happy”

Y and I pick up my two wedding dresses the other day. Before we leave the shop, the tailoress says: “Promise me to be happy. If you find out that the dresses are too tight before flying back to Austria…

“Do you speak foreignish?”

I’m at the supermarket. A little girl who’s probably not older than 5 is playing with the cup you usually use for putting rice into a plastic bag. I ask her: “Can I borrow this for a moment?” She says:…

A day like a week like a month like a year

It took us a week to fall in love with each other. Two weeks to get together. On the weekend of the third week we were sitting on the carpet in Ys apartment, holding hands and laughing without end, both…

Your kids will be very beautiful … and tall.

On my way to work there’s a small street stall selling all different kinds of congee. I usually go there to buy take-away congee for breakfast. One day I have time to sit down for breakfast. The woman in her…

Kunming, Yunnan: My friend, the palm reader

One evening in July 2012 the rain drops are pounding heavily against the windows as we sit in the living room of a friend’s place in Kunming. We are happy for the rain, because in the last three years and…

“Do you have a boyfriend?”

I’m at a Spa getting a massage and start talking with the girl working there. A while into the conversation she asks: “Do you have a boyfriend?” I: “I do.” She: “Where is he from?” I: “He’s from Northeast China.”…

A night out at Christmas

At Christmas 2012, my boyfriend and me had been together for less than two weeks. We hadn’t yet made our relationship public, so our colleagues did not know for sure if we were together or not. Some already guessed we…

“You should wear make-up and dress up”

I’m at the hairdresser’s. When the hairdresser is almost done with cutting my hair, he says: “Your hair looks really creative now, doesn’t it?” I: “It does.” He: “You know, your hair looks good on you, but you should wear…

March 8, International Women’s Day

More than a 100 years ago, over a million people took to the streets in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark to celebrate the first International Women’s Day in Europe and to demonstrate for women’s rights at the same time. Today,…

“Are you a designer?”

On the way to the subway there’s a small street restaurant that I like going to for lunch. When I finish with lunch the other day, the chef asks me if I’m studying in Shenzhen. I: “No, I’m working here.”…