Tag Archives: crazy Chinese family

In search for some snow

For some time Nathan has been asking us already when we will have snow so he can go play outside and build snowmen and snow fortresses. The thing is we will most likely not have any snow this year either. For the past decade or so we barely had any snow which stayed for more than just few hours or a day. Now I know from my childhood that we had enough snow here (and pictures to proof it) to go even skiing or sledging at the nearby hill. Few times even the lake here had solid enough ice to go skating. However times are changing and we have hotter and hotter summers and milder winters.

December 24th here few years back, drowning in snow

So what to do when the kids want snow? Go to the mountain areas in middle and southern Germany or do something very different such as visiting Finland during the winter time? My wife is not really fond at all about snow and she does not want to do any activities outdoor so a little skiing holiday within Germany would be kind of meaningless. However visiting Finland would most likely mean tons of snow, stay at our own cabin and visit some friends afterwards before travelling back to Germany. So yes, my wife would prefer Finland (even though she is not fond of having the long ship cruise during winter time) and the kids could finally enjoy some snow.

The situation in Finland is a bit different

Now our plans are not set in stone at all but we have more or less an idea what to do and when to go. Our preferred time would be around the Chinese New Year as we have barely any work as all customers are busy visiting their relatives and that time is also more or less the snow peak time up there in Finland. For extra support we would force my parents to join us, especially as I have no real clue how to manage the cabin alone with all the heating and switching on the water supply.

More snow

I know that in Finland there are also bad winters with barely any snow in that region however from all the years (soon 30 years) I have lived or visited Finland it only happened a couple of times with a no snow/ barely any snow. Chances are pretty high for some snowy madness and at least Nathan could learn some cross country skiing, ice skating and perhaps even downhill skiing. Nathalie on the other hand will be still a tad bit too young for such activities but there is still so much to play around with the proper amount of snow. I remember in my childhood building gigantic snowmen, fortresses and snow caves. Right now I really hope this will work out and we should really order the tickets for the ship soon(ish) before the prices become ridiculous. The ship cruise is however a matter of mostly bad memories as during the winter we always had storms resulting in many sea sick people on board and my wife is handling it poorly as well.

What are your plans for the wintery season?

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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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

 

Visiting Dad’s old home

Last weekend we managed it to take a trip to Poland. We had been talking about such visit for several years but never got around it as so many things got in between. Our destination was the Island of Wolin (Wollin in German) and we stayed in the town Międzyzdroje (Misdroy). This town, also called The Pearl of the Baltic,  is a very popular holiday destination during summer time due to its wonderful beach and these days every second building is some kind of hotel.  We didn’t do much in that town as we had other plans ahead. Together with my little family, my brother and my father we drove 10km further to the village Kołczewo (Kolzow), the birth place of my father, to see whether anything was left from the old family buildings.

At the beach in Międzyzdroje

Now let’s say that we were happy to see that in Międzyzdroje a lot of the old buildings were renovated and looked once again like the old times, however in Kołczewo things were a bit different. As this village is no tourist spot nothing has been pretty much done there since the war ended. Sure some apartment complexes had been build some when in the 70’s / 80’s but the old structures are just falling apart. It was no problem for us to find the old canopy road to get to the general direction of father’s birth place. While driving we only had to look out for some higher hill with some buildings and there we saw the old house on the left. The poor road set with concrete blocks wasn’t the best for cars but we managed it up and parked the cars on top of the hill. The house was a mess, it had further degraded since we had visited in the early 90’s and strange add-ons had been built to the structure.

The old family home, I couldn’t take pictures of the backside as it was in just too terrible condition

On the property of the old family home we could still see the foundation of the engine powered mill my grandfather had built in 1938. Besides the foundation there was an old millstone propped against a tree. Nothing was left of the windmill on top of the hill or the bakery next to the main house. In the distance we could see great-great-great uncle’s farm from whom my great-grand father bought the property for the mill and houses. Down the street there was also the day-laborer’s house (also belonging to my grandfather) standing now divided into two half’s. One of house half was actually in really good condition with even solar panels on the roof. It was probably the best building in the entire village at this point.

Village center, all falling apart

 

We also went to the village center to visit the church as the old German graveyard was there on its property. Back in 2007 someone had still taken some pictures of some of the graves for documentation however by now it had been all plowed and it was a potatoes and vegetable garden plus little playground. Sadly we could not find any further information about my ancestors from that place any longer. Behind the church we found one single old gravestone leaning against a tree and a lot of the former Lutheran church equipment piled up and rotting away.

The church where my father was baptized in 1941/1942

Even though we could not find anything about our family history it was still nice to see some of the old buildings standing. I also asked some of the village residents for information but no one had any idea as they were all born after the 60s and thus had not even a clue about the former church ruins on a little hill in the village center with a graveyard which also had been demolished around that time. For my father is was probably a good feeling to see his old home once again even though it was upsetting to see it in such terrible state these days. We certainly plan on travelling there again in the next years; after all it is only 3 1/2 hours away by car (in case the traffic is playing along).

Have you ever visited some place where your ancestors came from?

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