12/30/16

29 years!

My seventh year in China is ending in a few months and the 8th year starting, but before that we have other celebrations too, like my 29th birthday today! I wanted to write a few words to look back the years and growth I’ve been going over while living in China.

I was 22 years when I moved to China, had just gotten out of a long relationship and looking for an adventure. Well, truth to be told, I had left everything back home waiting for me if I decided to go back after my first semester. But I must have known, that the chance of staying longer was there too.

I came to China at a right time, young and free to learn and experience new things. I spent three semesters at the Guangzhou University, studying Chinese, traveling and hanging out with friends. At that point I decided to stay in China long-term and started my bachelor degree at Sun Yat-Sen University.

Undergraduate years were full of fun, friends and I met my husband too. Being a student in China is easy and carefree, but I also found my passion for teaching during the years and applied for the master’s program in teaching Chinese.

Starting masters, getting married and having a baby were all steps into a more grown-up life. It wasn’t about the exciting life in China anymore, but a normal everyday living that goes on no matter where you live. The newness of it all wears off and at this point many move to a new location if they aren’t satisfied of whats left. For me it was time to start working towards my career.

Now at 29 years a new chapter in my life is starting as I am setting up a business and taking my Chinese tutoring to a new level. I’m exciting to see what this year has in store for me and more importantly, what I can make out of it!

Thank you for following me all these years and welcome to the new year!

 

12/23/16

Autumn 2016 in Our Family

Attending events together

Year 2016 has been an exciting year for my family and now just before Christmas it’s a good time to look back this past Autumn. I haven’t written as many personal blog posts recently, so thought it’s about time to write a bit about us.

After we came back from Finland, the first thing was to find an ayi to help take care of our daughter. I wanted to get back to working and Anna was already big enough to stay at home with a nanny. Having a live in ayi haven’t always been easy, but it makes our live so much easier. I also like that Anna can stay at home with her, and not go to kindergarten like she would if we lived in Finland.

After child care was settled, I got to work with full steam. Quite quickly I got over 10 students, most of them studying basics of Mandarin with me. My lessons take me all over Guangzhou every day from Tuesday to Saturday. Soon I started to spend more time commuting than actually teaching and I decided it is the right time to register my business and find an office.

My office is located in central Guangzhou

At the moment I’m in the process of registering the business and I’ll be having my own office starting in February. Hopefully I can spend more time actually teaching Chinese than running or driving around the city. I still have lots of work to do, but I’m really positive I can be successful in my chosen career.

My husband is still working in his friend’s bakery, that they started earlier this year. They have two locations now and they are planning more for next year. In the coming year my husband will be concentrating on setting up a central bakery to provide bread and pastries to their different locations.

Our daughter Anna turned 1-year-old and has learned to walk! She likes talking a lot too, but so far we haven’t been able to understand that she is saying. My in-laws think she can say a few words already, but I’m sad to inform them that those have been just pure luck so far. Bilingual kids often speak a bit later, so I’m not worried.

Now we are getting ready for our second Christmas with Anna. I have invited the in-laws over for dinner and crossing my fingers that all will go well. Like last year, I bought small gifts for everyone, so we should have a nice Christmas atmosphere at home this weekend.

Wishing everyone Happy Holidays!

09/12/16

How to get over jetlag, wish I knew!

Our own playarea onboard – Thank you Finnair!

Me and our 10 month old daughter arrived back to Guangzhou a week ago, but it took us a whole week to get over jetlag and back to normal.

I felt it was easier to go to Europe, we would wake up early but it was easier to get baby to sleep in the evening. But now that we came back to Asia, she wanted to stay up until midnight no matter how tired and woke up a lot at night.

Now that we are back to normal it feels like heaven! Sleeping babies truly are the most beautiful sight!

So I don’t unfortunately have any tips for getting over jetlag. We tried to nudge the rhythm to the right direction, but it usually backfired with a crying and grumpy baby. In the end it was time that helped.

Do you have any good tips to get over jetlag? I’ll collect best tips for next year’s holiday. 

08/10/16

Summer in Finland

It’s the last Summer month in Finland and we are in the middle of our holiday. Next in the agenda is to visit Tampere and Helsinki!

My home town is small and one day is enough to visit all then”sights”. Now that my mother’s vacation is over and my little brother will be back to school next week, the days will be quiet for me and my daughter. Luckily in Tampere and Helsinki I’ll be able to meet more of my old friends.

We’ve already visited Lahti, Kuopio and Porvoo in Finland, also made a quick trip to the capital of Estonia, Tallinn. I’ve been concentrating on second hand shopping as China doesn’t really have flea markets yet. 

For a few days temperature rose to 25 Celsius and we head to the beach where I used to swim every Summer when I was a kid. Water was around 19 Celsius, pretty warm I’d say!

My little brother (one of them, I have two brothers and a sister) is super into sports and we have done nice long walks with him and Anna in the baby carrier.

We have also been to the forest to pick blueberries as its a must activity for all Finns during the Summer! You ain’t no Finn if you haven’t braved some mosquitos in the forest while eating and picking berries! 

Anna has made friends with two dogs and a cat so far. She is clearly an animal lover! The cats run away while dogs like her company. Let’s see what our two cats will do when they realize Anna can crawl much faster now, they need to be careful!

It’s been a great holiday so far and we are going to enjoy the last month to the fullest as well. I’ve had some mild case of reverse culture shock, but I believe visiting bigger cities like Tampere and Helsinki will at least partly cure it. 

Until next time!

07/16/16

How to manage a 10-hour flight with a baby


Last Monday I took our 8 month old baby girl on a flight to Finland by myself. I was a bit worried how it will go as it was a daytime flight which meant most of the hours would be spent awake. Would she scream the whole way or would we receive unhappy states from fellow passengers?


At the airport my Manduca baby carrier was a life saver! I could carry Anna and still have my hands free to carry luggage, fill exit forms and buy snacks. I only took it off for the security check as the carrier needs to go through the checks as well. 

When we got to our seat I noticed the plane was almost full, but still the flight crew managed to arrange an empty seat next to us. Thank you for the man willing to change his seat!


I had reserved the first row seat so we could have more leg room and use the baby basket. We didn’t end up using the basket that much, except for our stuff, but I’m sure for the nighttime flight back to Guangzhou it will be very useful.

I brought a few toys for Anna, including the elephant you see in the photo, which was new for her (cousin’s toy) so it would keep her entertaint for some time.


But more than the toys she loved interacting with other passengers and luckily they liked her too. Chinese love babies, especially mixed babies!

For food she drank mostly breastmilk and some smoothies and snacks I brought with us. On my lunch tray there was salad and bread that were suitable for her as well. 

Only at the end of our flight Anna got too tired, it was 8pm Chinese time, and she cried a bit. Other than that our flight was a success! The crew was very helpful and made sure we had everything we needed so thank you Finnair.


Some tips for air travel with babies:

  • Baby carriers are golden at the airport and sometimes on the plane too.
  • Bring change of clothes for you and the baby. 
  • Bring warm clothes as the plane can get very cold.
  • Snacks for you and the baby are important too.
  • Bring a new toy with different functions, but water bottles are fun as well!
  • Book the baby basket seat if your baby is less than 70cm and 10kg or so. Or book it just for the extra legroom.
  • Be friendly to fellow passengers, they can be super helpful!

What other tips you have for flying with a baby? Please share your experiences in the comments.