40 Things I wish I knew Before Moving to China

It has been a while since I spoiled you with interesting posts. I had problems with my blog, then I was busy with summer vacation. 
Now that we are settled back to school I hope to bring you more of interesting read, craft, and other stuff.

Today a bunch of Multicultural bloggers are gathered together to bring you lists of 40 things to celebrate Leanna’s – our founder – birthday.

Naturally, I would like to share with you 40 things I wish I knew before moving to China. I had few friends chip in with their things!

1. I would move to China. In my list of countries I wanted to visit, or live in, China was not a priority.

2. I would marry in China. My husband is actually from Tanzania.

2. I would give birth 3 times in China. 

3.  I would stay here for over a year. It’s been 15 years, and still counting.

4. I would marry in China. 

5. Chinese laugh when they are nervous or uncomfortable. It would save me a lot of energy getting upset over people laughing in stressduk situations!

6. If you ever try to be polite and say you liked something, you stall be given that something and your Chinese friends will remember it and go out of their way to get it!

7. Public spitting is a norm. And with the time you simply stop noticing it. And then you laugh at the reaction of those who witness it for the first time.

8. Everything is met with “mei wen ti” (no problem), even when it is a huge problem.

9. You will not easily find your usual items of hygiene around here. May be some imported shops. Stock up on yours!

10. Things can be fake. Even if you bought them in a reputable store. I once bought a fake perfume from a very big store in Beijing. Oh well!

11. Bring tissues whenever you go.

10. Carry tissues or a roll of toilet paper wherever you go.

12. You can’t, apparently, publicly blow your knows in a tissue, let alone stick that tissue back in your purse. 

13. But you can clear your nose and throat into a nearby trash can. Or into the ground. (Gross for you – not gross here).

14. Learn to squat. It will be a great skill for time pass at the train station; and in the loo. 

15. Learn to use wechat ( a very popular messenger/mobile social network).

16. Don’t trust wechat translation. You will definitely stumble upon sentences that are nowhere close to the original.

17. Pedestrians yield to buses trucks cars bikes and motorcycles. So watch your steps!

18. Zebra crossing is no guarantee for an accident free passage. Learn to manoeuvre.

18. Sometimes red light means green light. And green light doesn’t mean all cars stop moving – you really need a crash course in understanding local road system.

20. You can sometimes find the biggest counterfeit market right under the immigration boarder control.

21. Chewing with mouth open shows you enjoy the food. The more you enjoy – the loud your chewing should be. I got over my pet peev of people chewing with mouth open here. 

22.  Mooncakes are mostly a tradition. They are given away in large quantities. They are rarely eaten.

23. “Guangxi” (useful relationships) are an important part of the culture. You have no idea how many times this wonderful cultural trait has helped us. 

24. It is a big sign of respect to be called “brother” or “sister” here. 

25. The term “ayi” (auntie) which may be offensive in another culture when addressed to a young female, in fact a respectful term here when addressed to a stranger.

26. Calling a woman “mei nü”(beauty) will warm up her heart to you. It is also used to call a waisteass or a sales woman, which is a very very polite term. 

27. Chinese are very curious people. They can ask you about your salary and cost of rent without any malicious or envious thoughts. 

28. Be prepared to carry a map around showing everyone exactly where you are from. 
29. Be prepared to answer various questions on leaders of your country. 

30. Avoid talking politics. It is really not a very comfortable topic.

31. People may tough your skin or hair. They can even attempt to touch your eyelashes. See #27.

32. People will be watching you and make a very direct eye contact. See #27.

33. People may march through your apartment and open your fridge to see what you eat. See #27. 

34. People usually talk very loud here. 

35. 10pm seems to be the time when everything quiets down here. If you make noise after 10 pm your neighbours can call the police on you.

36. Between 12 pm and 2.30 pm everyone takes a nap. However, shops and hospital emergencies work.

37. When people see that you can’t understand them speaking, they start writing for you. Because in China even if you don’t speak, you can usually still read. 

38. Chinese are very pure-hearted. I think the whole concept of “face saving” was created because of that.

39. Body language doesn’t work here. 

40. TAOBAO is the place find everything you need and more!

Bloggers share their lists of 40 favorite things

To celebrate her 40th birthday, Leanna from All Done Monkey has organized a virtual party, where each blogger shares her list of 40 favorite things, plus we are giving away a big cash prize to a lucky winner! Don’t miss these creative Top 40 lists, and be sure to enter the giveaway, which is open internationally. (Thanks to the Piri-Piri Lexicon for designing this beautiful series button!)
All Done Monkey: 40 Ways to Celebrate Turning 40

The Piri-Piri Lexicon: 40 Tips for Parents of Bilingual Children

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: 40 Things to Do with Kids in Puerto Rico

Play Dough & Popsicles: 40 Paper Plate Crafts for Kids

Hispanic Mama: 40 Books for Hispanic Heritage Month

Pura Vida Moms: 40 Best Cupcake Recipes

Globe Trottin’ Kids: 40 Ways to Go Global in the Elementary Classroom

Spanglish Monkey: 40 Dishes from Around the World You Should Try

Peakle Pie: 40 Free Family Fun Things to Make and Do

Witty Hoots: 40 Amazing Books to Read Before You Get Old

MommyMaestra: 40 Ways to Have a Multicultural Homeschool

MarocMama: 40 Things to Do in Morocco You Haven’t Thought Of!

Multilingual Parenting: 40 Ways to Motivate Bilingual Children to Speak the Minority Language

Creative World of Varya: 40 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to China

Pack-n-Go Girls: 40 Fabulous Travel Tips

Enter below for your chance to win!

PayPal cash giveaway is open internationally! Giveaway closes at midnight Pacific Time on September 19, 2016.

Chinese Tea Sensory Dough

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Welcome to 12 Months of Sensory Dough hosted by Lemon Lime Adventures!

This month we are all about Natural Dough. And so I thought about making it with a twist – Chinese Tea Sensory Dough.

For the base I took a simple recipe of salt Dough but here is how I made some changes:

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First, I brewed some Chinese Tea.

Then, the girls mixed cooled off to warm tea and dissolve salt in it.

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Next, they added the flour and mixed their dough. It became VERY soft and smooth!

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So, I let them divide the dough into two parts:

Part one was mixed with dry tea leaves.

Part two was mixed with tea leaves that were drained off excess tea.

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Then, the girls insisted for both parts to be mixed and they made lots of figurines using the cookie cutters.

While the dough didn’t get any color, it actually looked whiter than a regular salt Dough.

Girls got to experience three textures from very smooth to very rough using dry and wet tea leaves.

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Natural Play Dough with Natural Dye | Lemon Lime Adventures
No Cook Lemon Scented Natural Play Dough | Natural Beach Living
Natural Chamomile Playdough Recipe | Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
Paprika Natural Play Dough Recipe | Sugar Aunts
Mud Dough with Flowers | Powerful Mothering
Natural Calming Play Dough | Sugar, Spice & Glitter
Chinese Tea Play Dough | Creative World of Varya
Herbal Tea Dough | Peakle Pie

Please follow Lemon Lime Adventure’s Sensory Dough Pinterest Board for more ideas!

Follow Dayna | Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Sensory | Dough Recipes on Pinterest.

Chinese New Year Math and Literacy Unit Review

Becky CNY Pack

Being a blogger means having lots of wonderful blogger friends.

I have previously introduced to you an amazing blogger friend of mine – Becky – who blogs at Kid World Citizen and shares the most amazing content on multiculturalism, multilingualism and globalization.

Today I am happy to introduce to you Becky’s TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers) shop where she shared this wonderful Unit on New Year Math and Literacy.

This Unit packet is aimed at children of PreK to Grade 1 and it is so well structured – I was really sitting and adoring it for a moment from a teacher’s point of view.

This Unit is also suitable for homeschoolers – the instructions are simple and easy and anyone can follow them.

First of all, the Unit contains a great introduction to Chinese New Year – its history and traditions. It is really enough to give the children a proper introduction to this holiday and leave them interested and excited about upcoming activities.

The Unit starts with sight words related to this holiday, continues with counting, goes onto mazes and words scrambles; and ends with a fun activity on making a Chinese red envelo

I liked that the material can be easily adjusted to different age groups and levels of math and literacy. E.g. in counting part while suggested to count the blossoms by ten, for younger children it can be changed to counting blossoms by a number of branches (hence, the teacher/parent needs to just change the numbers).

And in the part of where the sight words are introduced, instead of learning to spell and memorize them, younger children can just use the first letter/phonic for recognition.

Another wonderful thing about this particular Unit is that it doesn’t really have to be used for just Chinese New Year time. It can be used throughout the year and adjusted according to one’s needs. It introduces an essence of China and will be a great hit with kids any time of the year!

The Year of the Monkey Door Decoration Printable

Monkey Printable title image 1
As I mentioned so many times before, Chinese New Year in China is a huge deal. It is also a big deal for many countries where Chinese population is rapidly growing.
This year Kid Blogger Network bloggers have joined up again to bring you some fun ideas with our Chinese New Year Blog Hop!
Today I am sharing with you beautiful printable door decoration for the Year of the Monkey which you can print out and hang outside your door, or anywhere in your house. You can also choose to print it out in black and white and decoration with your children.
Please click on the image below to open a .pdf file and download your printable!
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I would also like to take a moment and summer up all the post I have so far shared with you for this wonderful Festival! Living in China and avoiding Chinese New Year is pretty much impossible. But even then – besides the crazy fireworks – who wants to avoid it??? It is so beautiful and brings people together!
So, here are my all-time posts on Chinese New Year!
I wish you a happy Chinese New Year / Spring Festival / Lunar New Year!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Hong Bao La Lai!

cny blog hop 2016 vertical
Please join us in this blog hop hosted by Peakle Pie and link your favorite blog posts dedicated to Chinese New Year!
Below is the list of all the blogs that participated!
the gingerbread house shared a cute Chinese New Year paper plate monkey
KiddyCharts shared these wonderful Dragon colouring pages
Kelly’s Classroom shared a brilliant Year of the Monkey Coloring Sheet
Peakle Pie shared a striking Red Monkey Mask
Witty Hoots shared these colourful Chinese New Year Lucky Fish
Kidz Activities shared this awesome Monkey Paper Bag Puppet
Creative World of Varya shared this adorable Year of the Monkey Door Hanger
Mama Smiles shared some favourite Monkey Picture Books
In The Playroom a musical Chinese New Year Shaker Craft
Play & Learn Everyday shared these festive Chinese New Year Mini Lanterns
Simple Fun for Kids shared a great game with Chinese New Year I Spy Game


Popular Gift Ideas for Chinese New Year

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Photo credit - Jan Stowers

Every year I try to write a post dedicated to a very special holiday in a country where we live – China.

Chinese New Year (also known as CNY, Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) and it comes in many colors, decorations, celebrations and, of course, money spent on new clothes and gifts.

It so happens that the vacation that follows CNY is usually one of the longest for working people and it is time to get together with family and old friends.

Many expats will traveling home for this time and so I decided to share a list of most popular items people  buy to take back home.

1. Everything related to tea: actual tea, tea sets, tea pets. You can get those in many places, but do ask your local friend if there is a good tea market in the area – they sell at wholesale prices and you might be able to find items that are not available in stores.

Note: Good Chinese tea packed in a beautiful box would make a great present to your local friends or colleagues!

2. Chinese silk. Everything from scarves, to qi-pao, to tablecloths, to shirts. The silk is not always natural but the designs are gorgeous and popular abroad.

3. Jewelry. I am not talking gold. I am talking local beaded necklaces, earrings, real and fake pearls; and real and fake jade. Small pendants shaped like Zodiac animals fall into this category, as well as the phone and key chains with translucent jade.

4. Bags. Chinese have come up with tons of own brands as well as fake designers stuff. It is hard to miss them in the markers and getting a Coach for 20 USD would definitely make you suspicious about the authenticity.

Note: I would personally advise against buying fake designers stuff if you are going back to Europe and North America since border control just might confiscate them and make you pay a fine.

5. Chinese name stamps. Those are made in a lot of markets. They can be fairly cheap and they are hugely popular.

6. Other gift items: chopsticks, fans, Chinese knots, famous quotes carved on wood or painted on canvas, small paintings on thin paper with traditional designs (double fish, flowers, nature and more).

If you are getting parents for your local friends, avoid getting clocks, knives and such. Best gifts to bring to your local friends home for Chinese New Year are fruit, tea, flowers and Western baked goods!

These are about all that I have managed to gather. There were lots more suggestions from my friends but I will let you add to the list!

Five Things to Do With Kids in Zhuhai {Around the World in 30 Days}

zhuhai things to doSince I live in China, I take every opportunity to share things about our life here. This month I am participating in a series called Around the World in 30 Days hosted by Cutting Tiny Bites – a series intended for younger children (but suitable for kindy children!)
I have previously wrote about living in Zhuhai – a city in Guangdong province that is in the South of China. Today I’d like to share with you Five Things you can do with your children in our city!
1. Visit all the marvelous parks and enjoy running around, getting on the rides and having a picnic in the shade of the trees. Most popular parks are Haibin Gongyuan (Waterfront park), Bailiangdong Gongyuan (White Lotus park) and Yuan Ming Xin Yuan (New Yuan Ming Palace). There are many more out there but these 3 are the most central and familiar. In Yuan Ming Xin Yuan there is also a swimming pool with various water rides. And in Bailiangdong Gongyuan one can take a hike up the mountain till a small Buddhist temple and ring a bell for luck there.
2. Take a stroll on Lover’s Road, all the way to the Yeli Dao (Fox Island) and take a ride on the family bikes. Lover’s Road stretches for hundreds of kilometers along the seaside and every now and then you can hire these bikes.

bike

3. Visit various indoor playgrounds. The ones we and our friends frequent are in Jida malls, in a shop called Baby Love Island; one in Jusco (known as Yang Ming Guang Cheng or Aeon); Yuyuto in Huafa Shandu (Huafa Mall); Lego Land in Huafa Century City; Tong Yi playground in Huafa Century city. There are MANY more. And they are not free! However, you can opt to buy a membership card – there are many schemes that give you offers with reduced price.
4. Visit Chimelong Ocean Kingdom (Chang Long). It is a big amusement park that has dozens of sea creatures living in a huge aquarium. There are also various rides, restaurants and shows that you can attend at certain hours. It is quite far away and it is a whole day trip, but really worth seeing especially if you don’t have an easy access to such places.

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5. In hot season – hit the pools! A lot of compounds offer free pools to those who live there. Plus, there are various pools all over the city with various charges per person per time. 
In colder season  – try various outdoor playgrounds. There is a big one at the Haibin Yong Cheng (Haibin beach) and there is a coffee shop right next to it. Another one is located close to a community called Jida Hao Yuan – it is a playground with exercise machines intended for senior citizens.
And in the evenings – go out around 8 pm and follow people to a big open area near where you are staying – you can see them dancing in lines and in pairs. So much fun!
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Join us and follow the series in June 2015 – travel to a new country every day and learn about it, make a craft, a dish or simply see what fun things you can do there!
AroundTheWorldIn30DaysFB

My China Story {Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series}

 

 

 

 

 

Asian-Pacific 2015

This year several bloggers from Multicultural Kid Blogs Community have again gathered to commemorate Asia-Pacific American Heritage Month. While some of us don’t live in the US or not from there, we either have an Asian-Pacific background or reside in the region. 

Last year I shared with you a bit of my family’s background. And you do know I have been living in China for the past 14 years. Today I would like to honour Asian-Pacific heritage by sharing you a story – my China story.

Some time in 2001 I had a dear friend moving to China and telling me what an exciting place it was. She kept calling me and convincing that I should try and come here for at least a year. So I applied to various schools and long story short – I received an invitation to work for an educational company that published books (Little Dragon American English –  the program that unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore), and sent teachers to kindergartens to teach. 

I remember how I felt going to the Chinese Embassy, getting my visa, getting my flight ticket and getting help from a bunch of supportive friends.

I remember landing in Chengdu, the first city I lived in. It was a little cold (end of November), but not the cold I was used to: it was humid and the cold would reach down to the depth of my bones and joints. Friends used to take us sometimes to local restaurants where I couldn’t eat the food: it was so full of chilli pepper that my mouth burnt for days if I ate at least something. Just as generous they were and treated us, they also soon understood my misery and would always order extra dishes for me that had no spices in them. They also took great interest in how everything was for me and one family used to invite me often to dinners at their house. They treated me with love and respect and made sure I was as comfortable as possible. This is how I first learned about big hearts Chinese have. 

I spent 3 months in Chengdu and then I moved onto Shenzhen – a big city in the South of China. It was the first time I tried sweet & sour sauce they made lots of food with. I really enjoyed living in Shenzhen- I made lovely friends and I worked in 2 beautiful kindergartens.

Harbin – a city in Heilongjiang. I lived there for a year teaching in kindergartens and learning the basics of Chinese language. Harbin belonged to Russia for a short period of time and since it is very close to Russian border in Far East, there are lots of Russians there working and studying and you can find Russian food and many older people still speak Russian pretty well!!!

My next city for a year and a half was Qingdao. I will always hold dear the time I spent in this coastal city. It is by far my most favorite city in China! The climate is not too humid, not too dry. The winter is also not too cold. But there is some mild snow. The city used to belong to Germany for a very short time and there is an older part of the city where you can find buildings built in Gothic style and the streets paved with stones. Beautiful!

After Qingdao I moved to Beijing. It was a city with a special character (which is not there much anymore – the city is still beautiful but the older structures have been replaced with new, modern and shiny ones). Beijing will always be special to me as that’s where my husband and I got married!

So, once I was done with my contract, I moved to Zhuhai, where I am residing now and where we are bringing up our 3 children. I have written about Zhuhai when participated in Neighbourhoods around the World Series.

So that’s just a summary. 

What have I learned so far about Chinese people? I believe Chinese people have very open hearts. They will treat you with love and respect as long as you are true and honest with them. I can’t say I have never encountered anyone here who is completely the opposite of what I said above. But overall and vast majority of people I met were kind and helpful. Even our best friends, people whom we can trust with all our lives, are Chinese.

This doesn’t really change when Chinese move abroad: they still follow their cultural trends, they try their best to bring children up with dignity and patience. Most of Chinese I know are hard-working people and very persistent in achieving their goals. 

I am grateful for China has brought me lots of experience, both professional and personal, and since this is where my family was born, it will always hold dear in my heart.

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Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Multicultural Kid Blogs is excited to announce our second annual Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series and Giveaway! See our main page for a full schedule, and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway below!

The giveaway starts Monday, May 4 and goes through Monday, June 1. Enter for a chance to win one of these amazing prizes!

Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.

Grand Prize Package

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series & Giveaway 2015 | Multicultural Kid BlogsThe Grand Prize Package includes:

Personal Tea Ceremony Gift Set from Gift a Feast
Includes everything you need to prepare and enjoy matcha, the tea served in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Enjoy being part of the journey of matcha tea from the temples of 12th century Buddhist monks to today! US shipping only

Calin Yang Doll from Pattycake Doll Company
For the parents of Multicultural, Biracial, Black or Asian children, finding that perfect doll used to be a challenge. But today all that has changed. Pattycake Doll Company is the recognized source for Black, Asian, Hispanic, Biracial, and Multicultural Dolls as well as Dolls for Boys, and donate 10% of profits to children’s charities. This month’s contest winner will receive the most popular Asian Baby Doll in the world – Calin Yang by Corolle.

Asian Kites from Tuttle Publishing
Kids will learn how to make colorful kites while exploring Asian culture and history with this easy-to-follow crafts for kids book.

All About Japan from Tuttle Publishing
2012 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award Winner! A cultural adventure for kids, All About Japan offers a journey to a new place—and ways to bring it to life! Dive into stories, play some games from Japan, learn some Japanese songs.

Hello, Bali from Kids Yoga Stories
Say good day to the magical island of Bali through these energizing yoga poses for kids. Join one of the Yoga Kids, Anamika, as you surf like a surfer, dance like a Balinese dancer, and sit like a monkey. Included is a list of Kids Yoga Poses, Basic Indonesian phrases, and a Parent-Teacher Guide with tips on creating a successful yoga experience.

1st Prize Package

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series & Giveaway 2015 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

The 1st Prize Package includes:

Udon Noodle Bowls from Uncommon Goods
Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or lounging on the couch, this creation is ideal for udon, soup or stir-fry. A blend of a mug and a bowl, the handmade piece is contoured to fit snugly in the palm of your hand. Black lacquer bamboo chopsticks included. US Shipping only

Japanese House Architectural Blocks Set from HABA
One of the oldest cultures in the world also has one of the most beautiful forms of architecture. Complicated multi-tier roofs and ornate pagodas allow the builder to create temples, palaces or calming formal gardens. With this set your child can take their imagination on a trip to Japan in the safety of their own living room. US/Canada Shipping Only

All About Indonesia from Tuttle Publishing
A book for children that takes them on an adventure through one of the world’s largest and most culturally diverse countries. Along the way, kids are introduced to Indonesian culture and history, the food, the language, and the natural beauty of this fascinating country!

Fun with Asian Food from Tuttle Publishing
This Asian cookbook for kids contains fun and easy recipes that children will love to cook and dishes that even the pickiest eaters will savor!

Indian Children’s Favorite Stories from Tuttle Publishing
This colorfully illustrated multicultural children’s book presents Indian fairy tales and other folk stories—providing insight into a rich literary culture.

2nd Prize Package

second prize Collage

The 2nd Prize Package includes:

Sushi Slicing Play Set from Melissa & Doug
This elegant 24-piece wooden sushi play-food set is packed in a beautiful storage box and includes sliceable sushi rolls, shrimp, tuna, easy-use chopsticks, a cleaver and more. Sushi rolls make realistic chopping sounds when sliced! US/Canada Shipping Only

Countryside from Kevin So
An album filled with “heartfelt great songs, great singing and great playing…simply something you’ll love if you’re a fan of originality, melody, surprising lyrics and beautiful instrumentation, beautifully played.” Learn more about this artist and listen to samples of his work here.

Book from the Maui New Zealand series from Global Kids Oz
Enjoy a book of from this collection of New Zealand Maori Myths and Legends that every New Zealand child is brought up with in school!

Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella from Lee & Low
In the first English retelling of this ancient Cambodian tale, our heroine goes further, survives more, and has to conquer her own mortality to regain her rightful place. Angkat—child of ashes—endures great wrongs as she seeks to rise above the distresses caused by her own family. US Shipping only

Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments from Lee & Low
Including both flights of fancy and practical considerations, lively poems capture each child’s musical experience with a different Chinese instrument, while sidebars provide more information about each one. US Shipping only

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story from Lee & Low
The incredible true story of the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal. Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award. US Shipping only

Juna’s Jar from Lee & Low
When her best friend moves away, Juna sets out to search for him with the help of a special jar. What Juna finds is that adventure—and new friends—can be found in the most unexpected places. US Shipping only

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow from Lee & Low
A powerful story of hope, recounting the little known tale of the art schools that offered moments of solace and self-expression to Japanese Americans in the US internment camps of World War II. US Shipping only

Enter for a Chance to Win!

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Chinese New Year: An Expat’s Experience {MKB Chinese New Year Series 2015}

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This week is all about upcoming Chinese New Year! I have recently published a craft activity – Chinese New Year Card; and I have one more post coming up to review a great CD I got from Little Mandarin! So stay tuned!
Today’s post is a part of MKB Chinese New Year series which started in January and is going to end right about the Lantern Festival in March. 
I have already shared with you on celebration of Chinese New Year here in Zhuhai and Hong Kong and Macau. 
Today I just wanted to talk a little more about the importance of Chinese New Year (or rather known as Spring Festival) to Chinese people. 
This Festival has been celebrated in China for over 4000 years. And needless to say, it is a very old holiday which is especially treasured here. 
There are many different things people do for CNY decorations and food wise. And those vary from province to province and get changed and altered with time. However, 2 traditions that never change are cleaning before CNY and gathering with the family.
Cleaning wise it gets absolutely crazy here: roads are renovated, malls get thorough cleaning, schools and offices get places cleaned that haven’t been cleaned for year. And besides, everyone puts around gorgeous decorations: lanterns, stickers on their doors and hanging decorations on trees and gates. Beautiful statues are made, flowers are planted. 

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Family gatherings are really something: the whole day on CNY eve everyone cooks and cooks and cooks. Families finally sit down for a meal around 6-6.30 and you would be surprised at the number of dishes. In general, in China people make and order more food than they can eat. But apparently, it comes from the times of hunger and having a lot of food on the table, no matter how simple, is a sign of prosperity and generosity. The picture below is not from CNY, but just a small example of some things you would see on a typical Chinese table.

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After the meal, families usually watch TV shows, share stories, have snacks (fruit, seeds, dried eatables, like cookies and nuts). Around 8-9pm everyone goes out to play with firecrackers. It gets awfully noisy but very beautiful as the dark skies are lighted with gorgeous firework designs.
After 14 years in China, observing people during CNY, I can’t say too much changed: it is always the same pre-new year rush for shopping and gifts (traditional gifts are fruit baskets, seeds, nuts, special cookies, sometimes alcohol and red clothes; also, if you are born on that particular year – as in, if it is your Chinese Zodiac year – you have to wear red undergarments for CNY to bring yourself and your family luck!). And it is the same happiness and joy: people around here work hard and they only get to see their families once or twice a year. Some migrant workers leave their children back in their hometown so for them CNY is especially important as they get to see their little ones. 
If you ask me, out of the traditional holidays, I prefer CNY  as compared to NY and Christmas  –  it is just so colorful and special.
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Chinese New Year | Multicultural Kid Blogs
This post is part of the Chinese New Year series and giveaway on Multicultural Kid Blogs. Enter our giveaway to win one of these great prize packages, and don’t forget to link up your own posts about Chinese New Year on our main page!
Giveaway begins Jan. 21 and goes through midnight ET on March 5, 2015. Enter below for a chance to win! Remember you can make a comment on the blog post of a different co-host each day for an additional entry.
First Prize Package
All About China
From Tuttle Publishing, All About China: Take the whole family on a whirlwind tour of Chinese history and culture with this delightfully illustrated book that is packed with stories, activities and games. Travel from the stone age through the dynasties to the present day with songs and crafts for kids that will teach them about Chinese language and the Chinese way of life.
Long-Long's New Year
Also from Tuttle Publishing, Long-Long’s New Year, a beautifully illustrated picture book about a little Chinese boy named Long-Long, who accompanies his grandfather into the city to sell cabbages in order to buy food and decorations for the New Year. Selling cabbages is harder than Long-Long expects, and he encounters many adventures before he finds a way to help his grandfather, and earn New Year’s treats for his mother and little cousin.
A Little Mandarin
From A Little Mandarin, a CD featuring a collection of Chinese children’s classics – songs loved by families in China for generations – given new life with a contemporary sound and voice. The 15 tracks fuse rock, pop, dance, ska, and hip hop influences with playful lyrics to make it a unique and fun learning companion for all ages. Featured on Putumayo Kids Presents World Sing-Along.
Second Prize Package
US shipping only
Celebrating the Chinese New Year
From Tuttle Publishing, Celebrating the Chinese New Year, in which Little Mei’s grandfather tells her the stories of Nian and the monster Xi for Chinese New Year.
The Sheep Beauty
Also from Tuttle Publishing, The Sheep Beauty, which brings to life the kindness and generosity of those born under the sign of the sheep in the Chinese zodiac.
Chinese Zodiac Animals
Also from Tuttle Publishing, Chinese Zodiac Animals, a fun and informative way to learn about the ancient Chinese Zodiac, explaining the traits of each animal sign and what luck the future might hold for the person born under that sign.
Monkey Drum
From Tiny Tapping Toes, a monkey drum, plus a free pdf of a craft version. World Music children’s performer DARIA has spent the last two decades performing in the USA and around the world, creating music to inspire all the world’s children and allowing children to become a part of the celebration and the fun of exploring world cultures.
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Chinese New Year Card


CNY title
Chinese New Year (also known as Spring Festival, or Lunar New Year) is celebrated in many countries of the world. So this year some members of KBN decided to create a blog hop to commemorate this wonderful festival.
The year 2015 is the year of the Sheep (Goat or Ram). So in order to relate to this particular year, I have created an activity I made with children in my ESL classes: Chinese New Year Card. It is a simple and fun activity, aimed at children from the age of 3+ to 8 years old. You can use this activity to celebrate any Chinese Zodiac Animal.
If you want to know which Chinese Zodiac Animal falls on a certain year, check this article from Wikipedia.
I also like this video from DreamEnglish.Com that teaches children about Chinese Zodiac Signs:
So, let’s make the card! It has 2 sides: 1 side is an ornament made by weaving method; another side has a Chinese character for Sheep:
The picture is the courtesy of Han Trainer Pro
Materials needed:

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Construction paper – 2 pieces of different sizes (I used a quarter of A3 paper for the card and 1/8 of A3 paper for the ornament)
Stripes made of softer paper (I had a kind of crepe paper, but slightly thicker, which I cut into 5 stripes for the ornament of one color; and stripes that will be used to make the character representing the world “sheep” or “goat”)
Scissors
Glue
Process:
1. Fold the smaller piece in half, then fold the top where the opening is a bit. Cut 5-6 times until that fold (so the cuts remain within the paper but you don’t cut off the pieces).
2. Open the paper and take the stripes you made for weaving and start weaving. I taught the children words “over” and “under” in order to introduce the weaving technique. You should get this result:

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3. Now, use some glue and stick the pattern in the middle of the bigger piece of construction paper, like this:

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4. Let’s turn the bigger piece around and create the character by sticking the pieces you made for it onto the surface. It will look somewhat like this:

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Note: younger children will need a lot of help with both weaving and character making!
5. You can give the card to your friends, family members or teachers. You can also add a string and hang the card up!
We are looking forward to Chinese New Year as my husband and my daughter get 2 weeks off for it!
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Please visit the landing page over at Pickle Pie to learn more about this blog hop!
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Check the list of participating blogs below:
Chinese New Year Fortune God Mask from Witty Hoots
Chinese Lantern Sun Catchers from The Gingerbread House
TP Roll Chinese Lanterns from In the Playroom
Thumbprint Chinese Zodiac Craft for Kids from Fun Handprint Art
Cheese Chinese Lanterns from Danya Banya
Wool Painted Fans from Crafts on Sea
Sheep Stick Puppets from Best Toys 4 Toddlers
Felt Shape Sheep from Mama Smiles
Sheep Letter Recognition from Something 2 Offer
Chinese (non firework) Firecrackers from Peakle Pie
Chinese New Year Card from Creative World of Varya
Chinese Dragon Puppets from Messy Little Monster
Paper Plate Chinese Dragon from Kiddy Charts
Dragon Painting for Preschoolers from Learning and Exploring Through Play
Bubble Wrap Sheep Craft from Multicraftingmummy
Chinese Dragon Dance from Study at Home Mamma
Chinese Zodiac Animals in Lego from Planet Smarty Pants

  Link your activities and craft for Chinese New year below:    

Making Christmas Traditions in China

Last year MKB had a very successful Christmas In Different Lands series, so naturally, this year we decided to create one more! It has now because MKB’s tradition to ask various multicultural blogs to participate and share how this big holiday is celebrated around the globe. The following post is a part of Christmas in Different Land 2014 Series!
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I have already written about Christmas in China and I have also mentioned that as Baha’is we don’t view Christmas the same way the others do. Nevertheless, we are not against this holiday as it has integrated in many cultures not as a religious holiday anymore but also in a way to have fun and enjoy time. This is the case in China: Christmas is not a public holiday, however you will see so many beautiful decorations all over and parties, especially for kids.
As an English teacher and a foreigners I am often asked to help facilitate a Christmas activity. Recently I was teaching a class on baking Christmas cookies!
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We have also learned that in the area where we live once a year expats gather on 24th afternoon for a Holiday cheer and share snacks and socialize.
Since just as every expat we learned to build our own traditions, I thought I could share some thoughts and quotes by other expats and local friends who live here and celebrate Christmas in China:
1. Putting up  a Christmas tree is easy – they are available around Christmas all over the place, even in small towns. But if not – taobao.com  (local web, similar to amazon) will have it all for you1
2. Inviting friends over or spending time with the family is a great way to bond. Chinese are very fond of foreign holidays so they will gladly partake in festivities.
3. Attend local Christmas parties and events: they can get loud but nevertheless they are festive and fun! There are always great promotions around Christmas too.
4. Don’t have high expectations and learn to adapt: it is never “like back home” because it is a completely different place. But you can still get the best out of it since the whole holiday spirit is a state of your mind!
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Here are a few quotes from local expats:
“For us, we celebrate Christmas day in the office/factory, working (if it falls on a workweek). Sadly, Christmas day isn’t a holiday here. That’s why whenever possible, we take a vacation leave to our home land to celebrate Christmas there. But whenever we are left here in China, we celebrate it with co-Filipino families. We either prepare homecook meals or we dine out in restaurants with special Christmas menus. In Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the Filipino community holds a yearly Christmas Party (usually held just before the others have their Christmas vacation)” – M.R, Philippines.
“Go to church at Hong Kong or Macau, back Zhuhai dinner with some friends.. if anyone want celebrate together are welcome” – H.J
“Depends if hubby can get the day off work, but generally we spend it the same way as we would in the UK with family, presents and a BIG CHRISTMAS DINNER YUM!” – C.T., UK (Wales)
“In Christmas eve we will send apple to each other ,because Christians eve in Chinese is “ping an ye” and apple is “ping guo”- ZHY, China
“Family and friends together for dinner and a fun game of present swapping/stealing game!”- J. L, USA
“For me growing up Christmas was all about tradition! So it’s exciting now trying to recreate some of that w/ my own family. We bake cookies to leave for Santa tonight and for M to take to work. Then tomorrow my hubby makes a seafood stew. He is SO proud of his recipe. After some time In Australia we’ve adopted Boxing Day now too and of course as Christians we celebrate the real reason for Christmas by acknowledging and showing gratitude for Christ’s birth.  Unfortunately no church service here for us, but we will share the story with [our son] and give God the joy.” – S.G, USA
“On 23rd we bake cookies, then we have family dinner on 24th and open presents on 25th! It is not like back home as there is no snow, but it is still magical” – S.T, USA

 

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To learn more about Christmas in other countries, please click on the picture above!
I wish you Happy Holidays and I hope you get the most out of them!