Category Archives: European Mom in Law

Autumn has arrived

All my memories of autumn in Germany are that everything is just grey and depressing. Of course nature did its best to convince me during the past weeks that my memories were dead on as we had pretty much everyday only rain, the sky was grey in grey and the leaves were covering the streets making it deadly to go out (okay a bit of exaggeration here).

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Mom, wife and #Nathancuty

However today I looked out and saw a blue sky and sunshine. At first I thought I am still dreaming but no, real nice weather! Furthermore the trees were not just those depressing things slowly losing their leaves and preparing for winter but were shining in golden colours. To make the day even better we had in this town a Sunday Shopping day. What is this? Few times a year each city is “allowed” to have their shops open on Sundays. Here in Germany Sunday is a resting day or so I’ve been told so all shops are closed, turning the cities into ghost towns. Going with my family to the city center I suddenly remembered that there were actually nice autumn days in my youth, not only these depressing grey days/ weeks/ months. Back in the day going around the nearby park and searching in the ocean of golden and red leaves for some chestnuts in order to take them home, polish them and make out of them some chestnut toys. Right now I am wondering if I still have some of those toys in some box in the cellar, probably shriveled up like raisins and unrecognizable.

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Gotta love autumn when the sun is shining

Thinking back on my younger days I remembered more than just those chestnut treasure hunts in the forest like lantern processions where each little kid is holding a little stick with a colourful lantern hanging from the top. Those were the exciting days when the lantern processions went even through the dark forest here and imagination would go wild. So how come I did not remember any of these things anymore until this nice sunny autumn day? How come I only remembered grey depressing days and forgot all about the nice times, I guess I have a pretty weird selective memory!

Now I made with my wife already some plans for the next nice autumn day to take our Nathan to the Zoo and the local park to search for some chestnuts with him. I hope there will be tons of golden leaves on the ground so he can go crazy and jump into them. Also I checked about lantern processions here in this town however online I find only some articles about past processions so I will be forced to become a more social person and ask at some sport clubs and other institutions about information. I hope Nathan will be able to remember more of the good times, not like his stupid dad!

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“our” street

You might be wondering what happened to stories about my crazy family. To be honest I don’t know myself, somehow this day was so special to me as it gave me back some good memories which I had already forgotten over the years. But I promise, next time will be again something very weird as long as nothing special happens to me again.

Did you had any special thing happening which made you remember nice things from your youth?

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 I also have a YouTube Channel in which some videos might pop up from time to time

https://www.facebook.com/CrazyChineseFamily

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Chinese and Finnish Grandmothers

During the past eight months I was able to see first hand the major differences between a Chinese and a Finnish grandmother. My mother-in-law stayed in the beginning of the year for three months with us to help with our little baby and right now we live already nearly two months in Germany in my parents apartment. Of course here my own mother is also playing a major role when it comes to take care of Nathan.

During all these months I was able to witness many amusing occurrences my both MIL and my mother. Believe it or not but even though both grandmothers couldn’t be more different they still share many similarities.

How to spend the day

WeChatImage635499295127706782While MIL enjoys sleeping into the day, going to dancing class or shopping during midday and leading her dancing group in the evening my mother handles things a bit different. She wakes up sharp 6 am and starts with all kind of housework. When the main work is done it is time for grocery shopping and preparing lunch for the family. Even though this might sound much it is just about 11am by now and you would guess that her productivity would continue as so much of the day is still ahead but no, after lunch and coffee time nothing happens anymore. She loves to watch German soap opera or other useless things on television and thus spends every work day from 2pm till 10pm in her sofa spot to watch TV. On the one hand you have the bit lazy but still sporty Chinese grandmother and on the other hand you have a very work focused but also a TV addicted Finnish grandma.

 

What to eat

When it comes to food my mother is very simple. For breakfast a slice of bread and a cup of coffee, for lunch some quickly prepared German or Finnish food and after that either cake or cookies with coffee. There is no real dinner except perhaps another slice of bread as she stops eating after 6pm. This does not sound like a food lover right? You are right! My mother hates to try out new things, salt and pepper are already exotic spices and going out with her to eat is nearly impossible. My dear mother-in-law is the total opposite. Breakfast is mostly some soup, porridge and whatnot bought from the many vendorseating6 downstairs. Lunch is yet again either bought at one of the street kitchens or eaten in one of the many restaurants in the area. Dinner is the main part of the day and needs much preparation/ calling friends who wants to go out to eat with her. During night-time the occasional instant noodle pack is prepared or some of the leftovers from the eating battles are warmed up again. Yes, she is a food lover. She just loves to try out new things, nothing is too spicy and eating less than three times a day some warm food is a no go. Sometimes I have the feeling that she spends her entire free time with eating and of course she is not gaining any weight…

 

How to take care of Nathan

WP_20141024_045While the one person is overly crazy, wants to carry her grandson non stop and wouldn’t let go, the other person tries to make the child as independent as possible. As so many Chinese grandmas MIL is also totally crazy about her grandson. She would do everything for that little monster (if my wife would let her…). During her three months at our place there were a few fights between her and my wife as she was not allowed to carry the baby around all the time and so on. Here in Germany my mother is the complete opposite. Sure, she enjoys spending time with her grandson and for unknown reasons he has to laugh nearly all the time when he sees her but she also tries that her daughter-in-law is doing most things with the baby. A mix between those two would be perfect!

 

Similarities

You probably wonder now how there can be still any similarities between these two different grannies. It is actually very easy as the main similarities is very plain and simple: They can be so annoying! I can’t really say why but my father has the theory that all women after some certain age become just naturally annoying for their children. My wife is already afraid that Nathan will be as annoyed by her later as she is with her mother and my mother…

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Even though they can be really annoying we still love them. They are both people who lived completely different lives but they also try to help their children whenever they can. In the end it does not matter where someone comes from, what background they have, or what weird things they do, because as long as they love their family, what can be bad about them?

 

Guest Post: My Finnish Mother-in-law

Hello everyone, I’m Ruowei the wife of Timo and the guest blogger for today. I will tell you about my weird mother-in-law. No my MIL is not some crazy Asian woman but an elderly European woman who acts pretty strange sometimes.

 

So this is how an European MIL is through the eyes of a Chinese girl. My MIL is an old and weird lady, I guess you can use weird for every MIL despite the nationality. She is a very kind person, not getting in middle of our marriage life which is very good compare to many Chinese MILs, however, my MIL sometimes can be really–how to say, funny in a way? Here are just some examples which make me laugh every time I see it.

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MIL at our son’s baptizing

These are some of the basics about my mother-in-law that you should know. She is a quite stubborn lady, she doesn’t want to learn anything new, especially when it comes to electronics. The worst nightmare for her is that the old remote control is broken and she needs to switch to a new one. It is not simply about changing to something but also to learn all the different buttons ones again even though she only uses three buttons on every remote control : On/Off, Volume +/- and Channel +/-. Really, these are all the buttons she needs but whenever she has to use a different remote control it is like the end of the world for her. Then there is the matter that she does not want to learn anything at all about modern technology. Let’s take a mobile phone as an example. All she can do for the past 20 years is to type in the numbers and dial them and also she knows how to answer a call. Phonebook, text messages, calender etc. are as alien to her and strange as flying pigs are or Mämmi to me! To this day she writes down what she wants to say in a text message on a piece of paper and her husband has to type it in.

Every time Timo’s father is buying something big, like a tv, he always tells her a much lower price so she wouldn’t start complaining about that the old TV was still working perfectly even though the picture was only half visible…Whatever somebody buys, she always complains how expensive it is and this resulted that everyone tells her a much lower price these days whenever she wants to know about it. Timo got a new racing bicycle last summer  from his dad. Both were struggling on how to tell my MIL about it so what they did is not telling the her about the bicycle until she saw it in our apartment this spring. As she started to complain about it, Timo and his father told her “But you know, we discussed this already last year”. This is enough to confuse her and after a while she even believes it….my poor MIL always gets tricked by the evil husband and son.

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MIL hiding behind my mother

Then there is the matter about food. She just does not want to try out any new food (just as new technology). So just imagine how hard it was to figure out what to eat when my in-laws visited for their first time China for over a week! It was not easy this I can tell you. Even MIL’s sister said to us how impossible it is to find anything nice to eat for MIL. You might think it is because of the strange spices in Chinese food but no, she also doesn’t like/ wants to try any German or Finnish food she hasn’t had before. This results in very standardized dishes we get served whenever she makes food. Boooring!

As a last story I have still my favorite. It is both funny and sad so I never really know how to think about it. The one sentence MIL is using always and with always I mean nearly everyday we are over at her place and are about to leave “This might be the last time we can enjoy this together you never know when I’m dying!” According to Timo she has been saying this as long as he can remember, so at least 25 years now. Great way to cheer up your son MIL!

I hope this gave you a small idea about my mother-in-law. I can sum her up as kind person who is against anything new may it be technology or food. I tried to find better pictures of her but she always runs away when I appear with my phone pointing her direction.