05/16/16

How to say I Love You in Chinese?

Our honeymoon

When a Chinese couple dates they often say Wo xihuan ni I like you, but the big word love isn’t used as much. I remember I used to lecture my husband (boyfriend at the time) that I’m not his friend so he shouldn’t just say like. Now he is very used to saying the three important words on a daily basis.

But in a Chinese family words of love aren’t heard in Wo ai ni I love you, but in other words completely.

Presenting Chinese – Western translations:

You don’t know how to do it, let me. Translation: I love you and want to help you.

Don’t move away from home, you will starve to death. Translation: I love you and want to be near to you.

Why you got such a bad score from the exam?! You need to study harder! Translation: I love you and want you to have a nice future.

Wear more clothes or you’ll catch a cold! Translation: I love and care about you.

A Chinese family member won’t say I love you directly, but often hide it between criticism, scolding or advice. I often get upset by the words I hear, but often thinking it through it translates into love. We just express it in different ways.

How does your Chinese family express love?

05/6/16

Finding an ayi in Guangzhou

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Most of my time is still spent taking care of Anna, but having an ayi at home allows me to make a slow gradual change back to work

After more than six years in Guangzhou, I have finally hired an ayi (housekeeper) to help me with household work and to take care of the baby when I work. Finding the right ayi wasn’t easy, but now she has worked for us for one month and become like a family member to us.

The first question that locals as me is why I need ayi when I live next door to the grandparents. In China is common for the grandparents to take care of grandchildren when the parents are working and earning a living. Well in our case nainai (grandma) already has a 10 month old grandson to take care of which keeps her busy enough. I also admit thinking that a hired person would more likely do things the way I want them to be done.

Finding an ayi is a bit easier if you live in the city center in areas like Tianhe, Zhujiang New Town, Liede or Ersha Island. Of course the prices are higher as well and the monthly salary of a full-time cleaning ayi or nanny starts from 4000rmb and can go up to 7000rmb.

As we live far from the city center, in a very local village, my options were limited. Finally through my connections I found our ayi, who is a sweet young woman who came to Guangzhou last year to earn a living. As her experience is quite limited still and she eats and lives with us for free, her monthly salary is just 2200rmb.

At first it was strange to have someone around all the time, but we have gotten used to it quickly. Our baby girl likes her a lot and she takes care of her three afternoons per week when I’m working outside. Besides that she cooks lunch and dinner, and takes care of our household chores.

If you are looking for an ayi or nanny, it’s best to find one through recommendations like I did. Ask your friends in WeChat and you will surely get plenty of recommendations depending where you live. During the Summer many families leave Guangzhou and good housekeepers are available for hire.

05/2/16

The art of being super cute

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Are you done taking photos?

Like I’ve written before, I like to take our baby out where ever I’m going. She took the bus when she was 2 weeks old, metro at 1 month old and just last week a plane at 5.5 months old. We’ve been to cafes, restaurants, parks, shopping malls and visiting friends. There is one common theme that happens every single time we go out the door.

Wow, your baby is soooo cute!

Words cute, beautiful, adorable all can be heard when ever we go outside with our baby girl. Strangers turn their heads and twist their necks to get a glimpse of our cute little mixed baby. They take out their phones, snap photos and send them on WeChat for their friends to see. They want to touch her little cheeks, caress her soft hands and make funny faces to get her to smile.

Most people are always ready to help out when they see a mom and baby to get into a bus or needing a hand. No need to think of any games to play for your child, the locals aunties and uncles will do that for you at the park nearby! I suddenly understand why Chinese grandparents always take grandkids outside, it’s so much easier than trying to entertain them at home.

I’m still not sure how I should response to all this attention our baby is getting, especially the photos. How would you reply when strangers keep telling your baby is the cutest ever all day long? ;)