Chinese New Year celebration…

In the past weeks I read so many blog posts about the Chinese New Year and how the people will celebrate it and whatnot all. Here in Germany in my little hometown it is a bit different. Sure we would love to celebrate New Year but first of all we only hoped this time not to get sick again as all the past year. We had so bad luck each January/ February with our health that we already prepared all the medication for a week with high fever in bed. But some wonder happened and we stayed healthy! That was indeed already something new for us and actually all we hoped for.

Eating some fruits, drinking tea, Chinese New Year Gala and a dog harassing us

Back in Finland we had this big New Year celebration in Helsinki city center but here in my hometown? Not so much. Even though there are pretty many Chinese living here (we know perhaps 5% of them) there is never any event taking place. Of course they always plan to celebrate with some nice food and invite many friends over but that never happens. Thing is this is still Germany and there are no holidays over the Lunar New Year so people are just too busy to actually celebrate on a working day. We had “holidays” ourselves as we are exporting to China and we just have no customers at all for an entire week due to the holidays over there.

So what can you do when there is authentic Chinese restaurant anywhere nearby and the supermarkets have only limited amount of ingredients for making some nice Chinese dishes? You do nothing but stay home, eat snacks, have video chats with the family in China all the while the Chinese New Year Gala is blaring from the TV.  I must say it was a rather uneventful day for us and my wife was a bit down as all chat groups were filled with pictures and videos of the food in China while she was stuck with some grapes and chips.

No that was not our food this year as we couldn’t get any useful ingredients

But it all ain’t bad as this uneventful day and the entire weeks gave us time for other things. My wife finally started studying for her driving license again after starting it back in 2017! I also had time to do some video editing and finished our holiday “movie” from 2015 and started now the editing process for 2016 in which we had the crazy city tour in China.

How did you celebrate the Chinese New Year?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily

Advertisements

New Apartment IV

It has been a while since I wrote last time about the new apartment in China. It has been too long as over half-year passed by already. Back then I had the news that MIL will move into the new apartment alone and FIL would stay behind the old place and have his peace from his wife. This actually did not change thus far and that is something special as my in-laws are changing their plans as often as other people change their clothes.

Renovating the apartment has finally started and MIL might be able to move in by May/ June.  It took ages for them to decide how the apartment should look like, which materials to use and what furniture to purchase but after nearly a year of discussion and useless ideas they settled on something. Now I have no clue at all how it will look like but something has been bothering me a lot. Apparently renovating that 90m²/ ~970ft² apartment (actually more like 80m² as in China there is some stupidity going on that you purchase part of the staircase/ floor outside the apartment) takes over three whole months! How on earth can this be possible? Sure the apartment is just a shell when they purchased it without any floor, just concrete wall and windows. But how can this take that long?

I know my way around renovating apartments as we turned this…

Here in Germany when you build a house most companies guarantee that the entire house is complete after 3 months including everything inside according to your wishes. So how can just a small apartment take that long in China. Besides taking way too long it also costs pretty much the same as it would in Germany. For example in 2017 I renovated a 70m² apartment together with my dad in just four weeks so how can it be that professionals need three times as long? In my opinion something fishy is going on as it seems to be the norm in China that it takes so many months and worst they say the apartment needs to “air” for a couple of months so all the fumes are more or less gone by then.  I am no expert but I have renovated enough apartments by now that I know that there is something very wrong and that they just want to charge more for taking that long.

into something bit better looking

I would love to show some pictures of the current progress but sadly my in-laws never took any pictures or videos. Most likely the next pictures of that apartment will be in April when we visit it ourselves. I do wonder how long it will take for MIL to ruin the apartment as three months each year in our apartment are enough to destroy or damage rather much. Probably FIL will go there very often to clean up the mess due to his OCD but I hope it won’t be that often as I wish for him to get some rest and perhaps his hairs might even grow back with less stress around the household.

FIL with hairs on his head before the horrors of living with his wife started

What are your experiences on how long it takes to renovate an apartment?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily

Too many Passports in the Family

A couple of years ago I had a little blog post about the various passports in our family. Back then I thought it was rather amusing to have so many different ones but by now I have changed my mind.

I have both the Finnish and the German nationality and this also applies to both kids Nathan and Nathalie. They got both nationalities due to jus sanguinis which is applied both in Germany and in Finland. I on the other hand have both nationalities as my father is German and my mother in Finnish. But as my wife is Chinese and maintains her Chinese passport both kids are by Chinese law also Chinese citizens. However as China does not recognize dual citizenship they are per se really Chinese. Some smart people in some higher ranks in China probably realized that this is not such a great idea to just say no to such interracial kids and thus they soften the regulations and voila the Chinese travel document was created. At the beginning it was only valid for two years but by now (at least according to our embassy visit in 2018) our kids can (re)apply for it untill they are turn 18.

Just a few of the passports in our collection by now

Alright so we got now actually three Nationalities for the kids (kind of three, more like 2 1/2 right now with the travel document). This all sounds pretty nice to have especially when traveling as the Finnish and the German Passport belong to the most powerful ones in some rankings. It basically means that they have one of the most visa free travel rights around the globe. Really great isn’t it? Well that is till you actually travel somewhere as a family. No we do not take all the passports with us as that would be just madness. But alone for the two kids we need to have already 4 Passports with us! Especially when we are at the check-in/ luggage drop at the airport things can get a bit messy. For example last year in Japan (Osaka) the check-in took nearly an entire hour for us as the staff was just too confused with all the documents we had with us. To make it even worse for the staff we had not checked beforehand which passports we took with us. This means that Nathan and Nathalie had both their German passport and the Chinese travel document with them. But what was so confusing for the staff was the fact that I had only my Finnish passport with me and they could not quiet understand how the kids can have the German passport but non of the parents have one!

What is my nationality?

For this years’ trip to China (and perhaps Thailand) we will make sure to take the “proper” passports with us. Meaning that the kids and I have all the German papers with us in order to not overly confuse any staff at the airports. Besides this year my father won’t be coming with us so there will be one less passport to handle. I never imagined back in the day that the whole passport matter could cause trouble at the airports. I did started to realize it first time when applying two years ago for a Visa for China here in Germany and I brought only my Finnish Passport along. Oh what trouble that was as I had to bring a paper from my hometown stating that I am a registered foreigner even though I am actually German but just could not prove it at the Visa Center.

Did ever run into any troubles at an airport?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

https://twitter.com/CraChineseFam

https://www.instagram.com/Crazychinesefamily

My crazy Chinese Family I married into…

Advertisements