Category Archives: Crazy Germans

Study time for the children

Here in my hometown we got to know over the years other Chinese-German couples with kids. This town is not big but it is interesting to see how many Chinese leave here by now (compared to my childhood when the only Chinese here were running restaurants). We never really thought much about it until we met last month for a hot pot round at a friend’s place and we had suddenly eight mixed children running around and making some noise. Back then we (okay mostly the mothers) were thinking how great it would be for the kids to come together more often and play and talk in Mandarin.

Some of the kids during the first lesson

Just a week after our eating round we decided to meet several times a month for a little study round for the kids. Actually it can’t be really considered real studying as it is more about having more access to Mandarin for the children such as reading books, learning some about the numbers and characters. As we are no small round it was difficult at first to figure out where to have these meetings but one of the couples are also managing a club home (in fact the very same club I used to be a member in during my swimming days) and there is more than enough space for all of us. Best of all is that the club home is located very close to us so it is just 10 min away by walking.

And another picture in that awful phone camera quality

The children always “study” a bit for half hour, play together for half hour and then study a bit more. Children that young are not really fond of just sitting still for such long time so the playing time helps them to let out some energy. All of the kids are really looking forward to each Sunday as they can meet their friends and play. Our Nathan is the oldest with his five years and the youngest one is just half year old though she is not yet participating and usually clings on her father while we chat. We were always wondering how to get our children more access to Chinese and never thought how many in the very same situation as us are already living here. One couple just moved here from China this summer and they are certainly happy to meet up with other parents with the same background here in this little town.

Did you visit similar “meetings” in your childhood or sent/ are planning to do so with your children?

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

 

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Revisiting the Middle Ages

Last weekend we visited a Renaissance Fair again after three years. The last time we went back in 2016 in Hamburg which is/ was the biggest one in Germany. This time we went to the town of Hohenwestedt which is nearby my hometown and is probably the best location of all middle age markets we have visited. The entire fair is set up in a large park in the middle of the town and a small sports field next to it. The feeling is just so different when visiting such event when nearly everything is located in a park surrounded by huge old trees compared to other fairs where you only walk around an open field.

Some interesting fellows

We all (except MIL) went there dressed up in some costumes. Nothing historical correct or whatnot all, just what we like to and this kind of fair is just right for it as the name already says “Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum” – “Medieval Fantasy Spectaculum”. You can see all kinds of people there dressed as knights, monks, Vikings, death and even some animals. Anything goes and the atmosphere is just great with music playing from several music stages and some randomn groups playing in between. We met some friends there and of course also other people we know already from my hometown such some neighbors and even a civil official working in the registry office specialized on marriages who has a Galadriel tattoo on one of his arms.

Sunken Nathalie

It was a lovely day with nice weather and a lot of walking for us. Nathan and Nathalie had tons of fun in the straw bale field playing with other kids and I could enjoy a couple of “interesting drinks”. Visiting such event, especially in Hohenwestedt, feels like entering a different world disconnected from the outside. Clothing for the event was kind of odd at first as we hadn’t done so in way too many years but as soon as we left the parking lot we were surrounded by like-minded people and everything felt right. Ruowei went once again as a Chinese princess, Nathalie was a mini princess, Nathan a General and I went in some odd mix of clothing and armor similar to the Rangers of Ithilien. Nothing too fancy but it took us long time collecting everything till we were satisfied. I think it was back in 2015 when we started this all after visiting the very same Renaissance Fair for the first time as a family. Back then my wife was shocked to see so many people dressed up for such event and loved it immediately. I always wanted to dress up for something like that but I had no idea that my wife of all people would like it as well! Even after several years of marriage she still manages to surprise me from time to time.

Have you visited any events where you have dressed up in a similar way?

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