Tag Archives: extended family

Spending a Day with the Family

I never really did any family research before nor did I try to stay really in touch with my cousins. This changed in the past couple of years as we were planning ourselves for a little family and now have our son. I figured since we were about to move to Germany last year it would be nice to get in touch with some of my relatives again. Not only to meet them again but also nice for Nathan to get to know his extended family. Here in Germany I have several cousins with their own little families. Okay, little is the wrong word as one of my cousins has herself now four children, one girl and three boys. Her second oldest child had her 11th birthday and we were invited to spend the day there.

Brothers playing together
MIL stealing the swing from the kids









We had been visiting her before so I was already prepared that four children mean also a lot of action going on non-stop. Once we arrived the little girl got her present, and the only guest she had over was yet another cousin (daughter of another cousin I haven’t seen in over ten years). Well, it wasn’t so much a children’s birthday party but more like an adult birthday as the children were either outside playing or in their rooms. We adults were drinking coffee and had some delicious cake in the beginning and later on BBQ. You could really see that my cousin was happy that her daughter was old enough that the parents didn’t have to come up with games and entertain the daughter and her friends as she was basically discovering her main birthday gift: her first mobile phone!  Well, even though this meant there was less work on the birthday itself those other children of her surely still had too much energy and were basically everywhere.

Are you sure? – You don’t say! – OMG

Her youngest child is four and tried is best to copy his older brothers when it comes to terms of climbing trees resulting that he fell down. This fall actually created a huge bump on his head that made him appear like a unicorn. After five minutes of crying the world was fine for him again and he continued climbing the very same tree. I can only say that in case I fall down like that and hit my head I would be in hospital for a few weeks! Kids are just crazy when it comes to recover from such things. Nathan enjoyed his time as well by hunting with his 2nd cousins some bunnies, playing with their toys and being thrown around by the oldest boy who just loves little kids.

Even though we were there only for around 4 hours it was still a very exhausting day. Not only because of all the over eating but also due to all the action going on by the kids the entire time.  We made also a deal with the little girl that she will be taking care of our bunnies during our holidays in China. Sure, we need to drive those bunnies extra to my cousin’s house but it will give us another opportunity to meet. Perhaps next time there will be other cousins of me as well, who knows. We also talked a bit about a family gathering as the last one was over ten years ago but in the end it will need some person who takes up the “leadership” and plans the whole event. It would be great to meet as a family again but it will probably depends when someone is able to start planning.

How often do you visit your relatives?

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Guest Post: Mandarin Phrases and Tradition for Chinese New Year

Today it is time for the first Guest Post of the year on this blog. As there is so much talk all over the other blogs about one certain topic we shall join the party and thus this Guest Post will be all about the Chinese New Year!

Of all Chinese holidays, Chinese New Year, sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival, is the most important.  It is a celebration of prosperity, tradition, family, and good will.  If you want to learn Mandarin, the following phrases are a good start.

Mandarin Chinese_1


(1)恭喜发财/恭喜發財(gong xi fa cai) “bless happiness, and prosperity”

This wish for prosperity is typically only used during Chinese New Year.  The greeting is offered before gifts or lucky money is given by the host.

(2) 新年快乐/新年快樂(xin nian kuai le“Happy New Year”

This is the same generic greeting that is used during New Years in the West.  It can be used as a greeting, a parting phrase, or both.

(3) 学业进步/學業進步(xue ye jin bu)- “”Progress in Studies”

This greeting is offered to students of all ages to wish them well with their studies.

(4) 生意兴隆/生意興隆(sheng yi xing long-“Prosperous Business”

This greeting is offered to business owners for prosperous business in the year to come.  It is typically reserved for business owners that you know personally.

(5) 龙马精神/龍馬精神(long ma jing shen)-“Spirit of Dragon and Horse” This greeting is used to wish an elderly person the energy of a horse and the longevity of a dragon.

(6) 万事如意/萬事如意(wan shi ru yi-“10,000 Things According to Will”     

This greeting is a wish that the year to come will go according to the desires and plans of the recipient.

(7) 心想事成(xin xiang shi cheng)”Accomplish That In Your Heart”

This greeting is a wish that the person will achieve anything they want.


Chinese New Year Traditions

There are a variety of traditions observed during the Chinese New Year.  These vary by location, though there are a few traditions that are nearly universally observed among Chinese people the world over.

Mandarin Chinese_2


Spring cleaning – Before the holiday, people thoroughly clean their homes and change their ritual decorations.  Red paper bearing 4 character auspicious sayings are hung in pairs surrounding the doorway.

Dinner – The night before the holiday calls for the extended family to sit down together for a large meal.  Traditionally, the meal is hosted at the home of the family’s oldest living patriarch.  This is such an important meal that some Chinese will travel long distances.

Visiting – Many Chinese people spend the New Year holiday visiting relatives and close friends.  Gifts are typically exchanged and lucky money may be given in small red envelopes.  Parents give the envelopes to unmarried children, and in some regions, lucky money may be given to extended family or unmarried friends.  Children or others who may receive lucky money will greet the host with gong xi fa cai (bless happiness, and prosperity) while clasping their hands and moving them vertically.

Remember different areas have their own special New Year stories and legends. Wish you have a happy Spring Festival. For more Chinese learning tips, you are welcome to visit our blog Learn Mandarin Now.


How will you spend this New Year?

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