08/5/17

Change through the years

Photo with a Chinese girl in 2010

Living a Dream in China is a 7 year old kid already and even though blog’s birthday was two months ago already, a friend inspired me to look into the changes that have been happening.

On of my first posts was Are they looking at me? and it discussed the problem of being watched no matter where you went. Now 7 years later more and more foreigners live in Guangzhou and I don’t get nearly as many looks as back then! Perhaps I’ve grown older, but it’s true that seeing a foreigner on the streets in Guangzhou isn’t as big of a deal anymore.

The first apartment I rented defintely wasn’t the average expat home in China. It cost 600rmb per month and in the end I had to move out because foreigners weren’t allowed to live in that village. What has changed? 7 years later I’m living in another village just 5km from the first one! At least our new home is a lot nicer and we are renovating it bit by bit to build a dream house of ours.

Back in 2012 I was wondering how immersed I truly was in China. Back then I estimated I spoke Chinese 80-90% of the time, right now it might be a bit less as I need to speak more English when I teach beginners. Perhaps 70-80% is still a good number. Eating Chinese or Western food was 50/50 back then and after that I’ve eaten more or less the same amount of Chinese food. With people I’m denitely spending a lot of time with foreigners now, being a teacher and all.

I also touched the topic of being a poor westerner in China. I came to China as a student and I know what it’s like to count your coins even though I still consider my self lucky. The amount of money I use for eating out in 2017 would have terrified me back in 2012.

Finally in 2013 I met my future husband, visited Hengshan snowy mountain with him and the rest is history.

During the years Guangzhou has changed a lot, but even more I have changed as a person. I have finished my degrees, started my career and business, got married and started a family.

I best the next 7 years are gonna be even better!

07/26/17

Back in Guangzhou


During my seven years in China, I go back to Finland every Summer. Just once had a longer stretch in between when I didn’t go. In many senses it’s the highlight of the year. It’s Summer holiday, visiting family, seeing friends and breathing fresh air.

This Summer me and Anna spent 3 weeks and my husband 9 days in my hometown. Not nearly enough to see everyone, but I needed a week before work to battle jet lag.

Summer was full of love. My little sister got married! First weekend we arrived, second was bachelorette party and third the big day. My husband got to experience a traditional Finnish wedding. We never had a wedding in Finland, only a small one in China back in 2014.

Being back in Guangzhou is great too, it’s nice to come home no matter how humid it is. We’ve spent time as a family, which is a rare opportunity for us as we worked such a long hours during the Spring. Even started upgrading our small backyard!

Next week it’s back to business! I’m very excited to see where my company Expat Chinese will go this Autumn. So many big things happening! If you want to know more check Expat Chinese.

Anna has exciting news too! After being at home with a nanny, she is now at the age of 1 year and 9 months going to daycare! She is so active and we hope she can have more activities and friends at daycare. I’m eager to see how this new chapter will go.

August, we are ready for you!

05/1/17

Spring 2017 Greetings


I have been blogging for over 10 years, this blog started 7 years ago during my first Spring in Guangzhou. There have been quieter times, but the blog has survived through them. Hopefully will survive our crazy busy balancing a toddler and business life -years as well!


I rented an office in the beginning of the year and registered my Chinese teaching business. I’ve really been enjoying working for my self and having a dedicated work space! 

At the moment I have 12 private students and 7 small groups each week. The newest groups are Chinese Characters and HSK3 which is starting soon.


Anna is 1.5 years already and running around. She has just started speaking and can say a few words. Her two favorite words are baibai (bye bye) and Lucy (one of our cats).

We still have the same ayi with us since September and Anna has a great bond with her. Anna will most likely stay at home for another 1.5 years, because the kindergarten won’t accept kids until 3 years old.


It’s been a very busy and hectic Spring. Now I know why they call these years “busy years” or “traffic jam years” in Finland!

But no matter how busy, it’s very exciting time as well to see our daughter and both of our businesses grow day by day. 

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!