Tag Archives: crazy Chinese family

Our New Home Part II

It is done! The apartment is now ready for us. It took us just roughly six months to get a facelift for the whole mess in there. With some small amount proud I show these results as it was real hard to manage it this far.

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The living room with Marimekko curtains (done by my mom)

In April we started the renovation process and in the beginning I still thought it would be just a few weeks of work for us. How naive I have been. It took us already a week to get all the furniture of the previous owner out and another week to literally scrub the dirt from the roof and walls. To add to the horrors of renovating an apartment came the wallpapers, floor, bathroom, kitchen, windows, pipes and in between cleaning, cleaning and cleaning some more. But now we managed it, the DIY Project (okay, 85% done by us the rest by professionals) is finished. Our new home is done and we can move in.

 

Our new home offers us 90m² (968.75 sqf) of living space, which is more than double what we had before in Finland. Finally we have a separated kitchen, an own bedroom and even a room for little Nathan. Luxuries we dreamt of for the past years are now becoming reality.

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Bedroom with the infamous Ikea wardrobe

Right now I don’t even want to enter any hardware store ever again and with luck I don’t have to do so for some time now. Some furniture is still missing such as the dining table and the TV stand as it was broken when delivered yesterday…

 

I won’t show Nathan’s room yet, as it resembles more a storage room rather than a baby room and we still have some great ideas for it which I will post once it is done (It will be great, really great, at least for small children!). Here are some before and after pictures, I am myself still amazed just how much this apartment changed.

 

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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?

 

Dancing Mother-In-Law

It has been already all over the news in the past years in China: The Dancing Granny Problem. Apparently there are more and more people doing their dancing routines during evening hours in Chinese cities and at the same time cause an annoyance for residents in those areas.The majority of these people is from my experience somewhere between 40 and 70 years and female. So it is no wonder that my dear mother-in-law belongs to this group of people.

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MIL’s Dancing Group

My mother-in-law retired from her modeling career some 15 odd years ago and had ever since then too much time on her hands. Her favorite activities are shopping and sleeping as already mentioned here. However she has another hobby and I believe you guessed it already from the title of this article!

 

She started with dancing some short time after her retirement in some real classes. After few years she started one of the infamous Dancing Grannies groups and terrorizes Xi’ans city center ever since then on a daily basis. However there is one main difference which sets her group apart from most other groups: Real complicated folk dances.

MILDance

 

You see, most of the groups are dancing to overly load music each evening and only use a very limited set of different moves/ steps. Through this anybody can learn the dance in no time and join the ever-growing dancing movement. With MIL’s group it is a bit different. Her group is much smaller and consists of perhaps 20-30 people and to learn even one dance can take up a whole month. Each evening they meet for at least 90 min and first revise some old dances they had already learned and then start with new dance step by step. And don’t be mistaken because with step by step I really mean it. There are barely any repetitions in these dances so each part has to be learned bit by bit. I have been watching these dancing practices already for some time and I am just amazed how these elderly women (and few men) can remember these different dances as they are in my opinion pretty complicated.

 

WeChatImage635499294954029948But there is one thing which is just to typical of my MIL and I just have to share this. Every time when we come over to watch her dance she usually just sits around with some friends, chats and eats snacks. Now, as soon as she sees us she of course greets us in a way that you expect we had been away for the past decade or so and then she gets in front of her group for the next dancing steps and shows how to do them properly. You might think it is just coincidence that she starts teaching the others when we arrive, perhaps she has some set timetable or similar, but no. We have watched sometimes the group from around the corner before we arrive and it is every single time the same thing: She just sits around, jokes with her friends while the rest of the group is trying to learn the new moves. Usually she is still dancing when we leave but as soon as we are around the corner it is again the same thing, she goes back to her friends to do basically nothing. I know I know, I am just too picky with my MIL’s behavior but it is just so like her, trying to show off or appear to be a very busy person.

 

Even though it appears that she is resting most of the time she is actually rather good when it comes to dancing. Her group participates sometimes in a few dancing events and she is usually the lead dancer. Not bad for a woman who views shopping and sleeping as her main activities in life.

 

Before I forget it, MIL is the only one of her Dancing Group who is wearing the dress properly resulting in that the stomach is showing as all others pull up their skirts more because they think that they will look shorter when they tummy is visible…what troubles those poor people have.