Tag Archives: WMAF

Sightseeing in Xi’an

We have been multiple times in Xi’an and visited each time some new locations. The most we saw back in 2011 during our first holiday there when my parents were both visiting. Over the years I developed a better understanding about the city compared to my wife who grew up there. She is kind of resisting in learning anything new about her home town and she has zero sense of direction thus making every place we visit new to her even though we had been there before. So how to decide what places to show when friends are coming for a weekend visit?

Peaceful times at the Guangren Temple

Those friends are all from my wife as they were together in the same dormitory when studying in Finland during their first year (in Kajaani to be precise, my wife moved later to Helsinki). All those friends kept close contact over the years even though some moved back to China, others stayed in Finland and we moved to Germany.  Now when we had our holiday in April/ May in China and some of them decided to come over for a visit. All of those friends married and got kids so we had a bit bigger group coming over which required some good planning. My wife had grand plans for her friends, very grand plans. They all failed.

View from the City Wall

They did not fail because of not putting enough heart and time in them. No they failed because my wife didn’t consider two things. First of all she has zero sense of direction and has no clue at all how long it takes to go to some location and second of all she did not consider that her friends mess up plans completletly each time, every single time and are always, really always late. Because of this mess we only saw few sightseeing spots such as the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda with the Fountain show, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the City Wall, the Muslim Quarter, Guangren Temple, Qinglong Temple, the City God Temple and few other temples of which I have no clue about theirnames any longer.

Some Booze at the Guangren Temple

Just to show you why all planning failed I give you two examples. The complete lack of any kind of sense of direction of my wife lead to a rather embarrassing failure. She had the grand plan of going with all people to the City Wall, walk a bit on it till we reach the city center and go eating in some famous restaurant. You see the City Wall goes all around the old city center and is roughly 14km long.  So we entered the City Wall at the West Gate where my in-laws live. For some unknown reason my wife had the idea that you could walk on the city wall straight to the old city center (note it still goes all around, not through the city…). She had this plan also while facing 36 Degrees Celsius and walking together with little kids. Needless to say everyone gave up after not even managing 800m on the wall (out of the needed 5km on the wall and further 2km walking to the restaurant) and going to eat in some small restaurant near the wall entrance.

#Nathancuty just like a real German tourist, Sandals and Socks! (plus Adidas Shirt)

Now to the problem how her friends mess up plans each time and are always late. On the second day we planned to meet up at 10 in the morning to take a little walk and eat at a restaurant famous for Liangpi. Shortly before we arrived they called us that they just woke up and bought some beef noodles for breakfast. For breakfast! By the time everyone was ready to move it was already 12 and all of them were too full to go eating for the next hours leaving my wife, Nathan and me starving. You might say something like this can happen from time to time but this actually happens each time we meet them (also during our short Finland trip this summer, but that is stuff for another blog article).

Even though nearly everything went wrong what could have gone wrong we still had a great time with them. It was really nice to meet them again and their kids. Sure there were frustrating moments but living each year 3 months with MIL made me kind of immune to such things.

Do you have friends who are always late or mess up all your planning?

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New Apartment Part III

Yes, my first blog post in ages will be about the new apartment my parents in-law have bought. As a reminder here are Part I and Part II of the new apartment blog posts. I know that there should have been some updates here in the past weeks but I was just too lazy and the weather here is just insane. Right now we even wish that it would start to rain again, yes here in North Germany where it normally rains 9 out of 10 days!

We wish for some rain clouds here!

So what is so special about the news from the new apartment in China? Remember that my in-laws had decided to move in towards the end of the year so we still could enjoy the old apartment during our holiday in April/ May. Plans changed again (who would have expected that with my in-laws!) but they changed to a rather good plan. In fact the plan is so great that my father in-law has been seen smiling in the past months, something unknown before. No they don’t sell the new apartment and no they did not win the lottery, it is something much much better for FIL.

According to the new plan MIL will move alone to the new apartment and FIL will stay in the old apartment! That is like the perfect solution for them. So FIL can finally live his way in a calm and peaceful environment while everything is clean while MIL will drown in madness and dirt after a short while. Sure it is sad that the new apartment will be ruined by my dear Chinese mother-in-law but at least her husband seems happy again. I have the feeling it is the  best thing happening to him in decades.

Crazy women dancing

As you might remember the new apartment is not the closest to the old one. By bus you need around 30 min in good conditions and up to 1 hour with traffic jams. MIL insists she will still go to her dancing lessons and evening dancing group meetings. But no, she won’t use a bus, she came up with the plan to use a rental bike! I have seen her ride a bike and I say that plan is utterly stupid. A tortoise with only one leg is faster than her bicycling. The past years we went sometimes by bike to a nearby supermarket. While I need alone roughly 7-8 minutes, I need together with my wife and pulling a bike trailer for our Nathan about 15 min. Now guess how long the same trip took when MIL was riding a bike as well…40 min! I have zero hope in her going anywhere by bike and besides she would get lost anyway and never arrive at her destination, leaving her rental bike somewhere in the middle of nowhere and call a taxi to take her home.

What do you think about my in-law’s new plan?

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.

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Keeping the kids busy with sports

I do not know how other people tackle this so I can only write from our perspective. Even before Nathan and Nathalie were born we were thinking about what hobbies they might have later on and what sports they might be interested in/ being forced to do by us. Might sound a bit harsh but then again all athletes I know who managed to reach certain levels were the ones who were pushed by their parents during their “difficult years”. All others who could choose for themselves quit their sports latest by the age of 15. Now I do not have any ambitions like that as I want to see for now how Nathan will develop and what his interests are as we are trying to give him broader choice of sports compared to ourselves.

Back in the day at the Finnish Nationals (I was second in the 200m freestyle)

My wife did some sports as a kid in form of table tennis for a couple of years and ballet. Both sports she had to quit as her wonderful mom didn’t see any value in sport activities and instead put her into afterschool programs till evening. Ever since I can remember I was swimming in a club. I started when I was around five and continued till my twenties. I clearly remember when I had no motivation anymore around the age of 13-14 as I did not really improve anymore and my father basically dragged me to each training session by driving behind me in his car to make sure that I actually went to the pool. By the age of 15 I got more than enough motivation to continue as I got suddenly better and better and wanted to push myself as far as possible. During my “prime” I had 21 trainings sessions a week of which were 11 times swimming from Monday will Saturday and 10 dryland sessions (gym, running and even yoga). This resulted each day in over 5 hours of sports and this all while still being a high school students going to class from 7am till 3pm.

Nathan has tons of fun thus far

 

Right now our little Nathan is four years old and is doing once a week Taekwondo. He loves it thus far and is asking us several times a week when the next class is. I actually got the idea for Taekwondo due to my best friend who was in the very same club back in the day and did the sport till he reach the first Dan (first black belt level). I also wanted to try out the sport when I was eight years old but somehow did not dare to really join them as I was a very very shy little boy back then who easily got scared by new things. Nathan is completely different and he joined the other kids in an instant. We will also register him at my old swimming club but for that we have to wait till he is six years old (weird regulations here in Germany I must say). It is actually already 100% sure that he will at least do some swimming in the club, afterall we/ I decided on his name due to the very famous Nathan Adrian!

So why am I writing about this? When I was talking with Nathan’s coach she told us that for the past years less and less kids are continuing the sport once they finished elementary school. Usually the kids have multiple sports/ other activities each week and can’t focus on any properly which results that barely any athlete in the club is performing on any higher level, not even reaching the State Championships. The last one who managed it to even European Championship level was their daughter (both parents are coaching at the club and her husband has even 7th Dan!). So growing up with such parents a kid has the best possibilities to reach something in the sport or sadly they might also crumble under the pressure.

He tries his best and it is funny to see his clumsy attempts when doing some kicks

All friends we have with kids do not want their children to do any sports. In their opinion sports are a waste of time and the kids will only get hurt. I on the other hand believe that a sort of competition in young years is useful for the child in order to grow. Here in Germany is even a discussion still going on to remove sports competition from schools as some kids will feel left out and even to remove grades in PE.

Were you doing sports when you were young?

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