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!

  • ed

    Hey, it is nice bloc you have here. It ranks high in google search. Did you make this by yourself? You must be very talented. I was born in Guangzhou and then went to Canada and UK for college and graduate school. I have homes in both Canada and Guangzhou. I look at some of the comments about Chinese people and Guangzhou and I just want to say a few things that personally I believe is the fact. First, I think many foreigners come to China because they think they are welcomed there, but they soon become judgmental about the negative things. I personally think these people are just arrogant and immature. The reason that they see so many negative things about China or about Guangzhou is just because of their low social status. Please excuse me for speaking like someone looking down from above but when I see their complaints about the street etc, all I realize is that they cannot afford a car or a nice home for themselves. Every country and city have has some bad neighborhoods and usually the poor live there. Also, I see some people make generalization about Chinese people based on experiences they had in the country. They told stories about how they got ripoffed or got rejected by the locals etc. Well, losers are everywhere right. Chinese people welcome foreigners who come to work and spend money just like people in other countries, but only that. So if a foreigner think he is going to get spoiled in China he is really a dreaming loser type. At last, welcome to Guangzhou, congrat on your Chinese husband and your kid.

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  • Yu

    Happy birthday Sara. My Finnish girlfriend also celebrated her 30 year old birthday in December. I commented on your blog a few months ago after spending the summer vacation in Finland. Then she came to China with me in September and we spent the Christmas holiday in Finland. I am not sure if we would move to Finland or stay in Germany but we both are sure we will be together with each other:)
    By the way, can I write you a personal email? Its always interesting to observe and share the experience of a totally different culture.

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