30 things about me

1. I have lived 27% of my life in China. I moved here in March 2010 and have only been back home for holidays.

2. I’ve only had four boyfriends, only the first one Finnish and the last one is my husband.

3. I have studied Chinese for roughly 10 years, that’s one third of my age!

4. My favorite sports are snowboarding and horse riding, but haven’t done either since I moved to China. Now there is a horse riding stable close to my home!

5. I moved out from home when I was 15 because I wanted to go to a high school specialized in creative writing. That has been one of my best decisions in life, writing is still part of my life.

6. I hate saying no to new students and that’s why my teaching schedule is so full I rarely have time for lunch.

7. In primary school I read a lot of novels about kids/teens solving small crimes. I wanted to start my own kids investigation group too! I don’t think we solved any mysteries though…

8. I have studied taiji on three occasions, first in Finland around 2007, then during my BA degree and finally during my MA degree. Those were compulsory taiji courses for me.

9. My parents lived in Beijing in the 80’s for a few years and moved back to Finland few months before I was born. So I was in China before I was born!

10. My first website I created was in middle school and it was a virtual horse stable, those were super popular at that time. It had photos and introductions for each horse and you could virtually take care of them and write a diary on the site.

11. I Failed my first HSK test in 2010, but now I have the highest HSK certificate which is level 6.

12. My very first job was to distribute commercial leaflets, after that I have worked as a supermarket cashier, cleaner, telemarketer, charity worker, museum assistant, overseas purchage assistant, freelence copy-writer etc

13. Cities I’ve visited in China include: Beijing, Pingyao, Xi’an, Chengdu, Guilin, Yangshuo, Shanghai, Foshan, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Haikou, Sanya, villages in Guizhou province, Jingdezhen, Hangzhou, Suzhou, water town Tongli and Wuzhen, Hong Kong, Zhuhai.

14. I’m from a small city with a polulation of 20 000 people, I always thought Helsinki was too big for me, but then I moved to Guangzhou that has a population of 2.5 times the whole of Finland. And I don’t think Guangzhou is too big at all!

15. I have taken two courses in Cantonese at the university, but haven’t continued it since. My husband’s family is Cantonese and I prefer to stay out of all the family drama that is being held in their native language.

16. Speaking of languages I have studied Swedish and German both for 5-6 years, but have forgotten both completely after moving to China.

17. I have been on Chinese TV show once and it was a fun experience though I’m not a fan how fake everything is.

18. I learned not to curse in Chinese after I got one taxi driver super mad for basically nothing. After all, I don’t like cursing in any language.

19. As a kid my dream jobs were hairdresser and animal care-taker.

20. I met one of my best friends through my blog when she sent me an email saying “I’m moving to Guangzhou and I have Finnish chocolate with me”.

21. My best friends in Guangzhou are all married to Chinese men and have mixed kids.

22. My favorite Chinese dishes are spicy cabbage, mapo tofu and eggplant with long beans.

23. Summer 2005 I took my first one week course in Chinese language, but I started studying more actively only in 2008 when I started university in Finland.

24. I love taking photos of doors, I must have hundreds of pictures of old and rusty Chinese doors.

25. Places I want to visit in the near future are Macao and Yunnan province.

26. Longest time I’ve been away from Finland is 2.5 years, looking back I’m not even sure why I stayed away that long. Now I must go back every year, in the future hopefully twice a year.

27. I loved being pregnant because no need to suck your tummy in! I gained 20kg, but felt super condifent and loved the belly. Being pregnant in China also always guarentees you a seat in public transportation.

28. I met my husband when a bunch of friends got together to cheer up a common friend who had just broken up with his girlfriend. Me and my husband just couldn’t stop talking!

29. I had only one student today (everyone else is traveling) and I love being at the office all by my self for the whole day! As a mother of a 2 year old, I don’t get to be alone at home anymore.

30. I feel good at being 30! I’ve never wanted to be younger than I was, as each year gives me more expriences, hopefully a little bit of wisdom too. During the coming year there are a few challenges I want to overcome and a few dreams to pursue. More on those later!

Happy Birthday me!


A 2-year-old learning Chinese and Finnish

When our daughter started speaking she spoke mostly Cantonese as she was home with a nanny a lot. But now Mandarin had completely replaced it and Finnish is a good second.

At home I speak Finnish with Anna and my husband speaks Mandarin. She goes to daycare where she hears both Mandarin and Japanese. Cantonese she hears once a week at the grand parents house and English occasionally when we meet friends.

Anna has now clearly entered a phase of rapid language learning. She is starting to form sentences like 佩奇睡觉 Peppa is sleeping and 佩奇哪里啊 Where is Peppa. Yes, Peppa Pig is hugely popular at our household.

In Finnish she isn’t forming sentences yet, but knows a lot of words. Some words she only uses Finnish, some she knows in Mandarin as well. Anna calls me mama (mother) in Chinese and only just today said äiti (mother in Finnish) after I told her to use that term. Not sure when she will change to äiti for real.

Anna doesn’t separate the languages yet in a sense that she would speak only Finnish to me or only Chinese to daddy. Of course she knows I understand Chinese too. And my husband have learned some Finnish from Anna as well!

Right now Anna is big on giving orders: syö (eat in Finnish), 坐 (sit in Chinese) just to name two. She had strong opinions and preferences as well.

Anna likes to look at pictures and say the names of items and animals, if she doesn’t know it she will ask us. She likes repeating what we say and is learning new words almost daily.

We feel Anna had a bit of foreign accent in both her Mandarin and Finnish, but it’s a first time for us so don’t know if that happens with all kids.

At the daycare Anna is very quiet, just saying 要 want and 不要 don’t want. Typical introverted Finnish! But at home she speaks nonstop, most of it we don’t yet understand.

I feel this is going to be super interesting this coming year to see how Anna’s languages improve. Can’t wait to communicate more with her!