Getting married in China,  My Life

Our First Anniversary

Wedding Cake

One year ago in 14th February 2014 it was no ordinary Valentine’s Day. On that year the Chinese Lantern Festival fell on the exact same day, being held on the 15th of the first month of the lunar calendar. As Lantern Festival is also considered a Chinese Valentine’s Day, it was a double lucky day, the perfect day to register our marriage.

Even though we had our Wedding later in May both with Chinese and Finnish characteristics, we still consider the Valentine’s Day as our anniversary. Easy to remember too!

After our wedding we finally moved to our own house, the old family house, and started our life together surrounded by history and four cats. I’m probably the worst person to be given a big house to live as I’m not the housekeeping kind, but it’s been great to have a real home where you can decorate and arrange furniture just the way you like it. I hope we will have lots of happy years in this Chinese house with a lot of character.

The Autumn was so busy we barely even saw each other. I was at the university from Monday to Friday, sometimes from morning till late night. Alan was taking English lessons on the Saturdays so Sundays became our only time to relax and have fun together. Our first year as a married couple ended with our honeymoon to Malaysia, from where I will share more photos later on.

All in all it’s great to be married to a man like Alan who understands and supports you when you pursue things that are important for you. Alan is a husband who always puts his family first. The other day when I told him to always be by my side, he replied: “Of course I will always be by your side, and our kids too.”


  • I Am Me! Jerry Andrew Blizzard

    Sara, I recently purchased a Chinese language learning program. And really love the province of Yunnan, and east to the ocean. At my age of whatever, I do like warmer weather. Is pollution more up North, rather in these southern provinces? I love clean air, pure water, and blue skies. I’ve watched you tube where some cities have none of that. What are your opinions?

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Hi Jerry, you can check information on pollution here: I’ve heard a lot of good things about Yunnan, the weather seems to be very nice there. But I haven’t visited Yunnan yet, so can’t say anything exact.

  • Yubo Gong

    Hi Sara, congratulations on your anniversary. I came across your blog while randomly browsing the internet for things to do in guangzhou. Even though my family is from guangzhou, we immigrated abroad when I was 9. Since then my parents have moved back to guangzhou and I visit quite often from Hong Kong. How strange it is to learn about your hometown from a foreigner! I enjoy reading your experiences very much and love your independent spirit. I look forward to your new posts!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thank you Gong! I’ve really enjoyed living in your hometown and grown to like it a lot. Guangzhou seems to offer a little bit of everything to everyone.

  • I Am Me! Jerry Andrew Blizzard

    Sara, I just got an email from my lady(Shaoping) that I truly love. I met her 1 time a couple months ago. She wrote me an intro letter on the China Love site. I stopped everything. It is hard for me to believe that after all the distractions I have encountered that we may each be true soulmates. This will take time, but I now desire information concerning Guangdong. Ping lives and works there. I am Stateside. Her parents are living in Canada. I have my latest Passport and I still possess my Canadian SSI number. Canada was my home away from Stateside discrimination. Also my workplace. Her and I have so many common interests and beliefs that she is like my long lost twin. Thank you Sara for any help that you may provide me in my quest for marriage to Ping.

  • Paula Fernández

    Dear Sara,

    I follow you since one or two years ago.I found you by chance, maybe looking for some information to improve my Chinese. Actually, I couldn’t put into words, how I love your blog, your history, your courage, and so on.

    I love Chinese language, I am preparing HSK4 by myself, because at that moment, and for work reasons I couldn’t attend to classes at my town, Oviedo, in the north of Spain, ASTURIAS.

    Congratulations for everything. I really love your adventures, photos, and of course, everything you tell us and show about Chinese Learning.

    Really, you are an inspiration person.

    Cheers from,
    Paula Fernández

    Alva Reply:

    Hi, Paula:
    I am also from Oviedo, Asturias, I live in Shanghai. Nice to find you here!
    Sara writes wonderful pieces!

    Paula Fernández Reply:

    Hii Alva, very nice to find you too.
    How long have you been living in China?
    Are you studying or working?
    In fact, Chinese are still being a dream and a goal in the future to me.
    And one day I found Sara and it was so great.
    Really lives writes of Sara too.
    If you want to talk my email is
    Un besín:)))

  • Karina

    Serious question: did your husband, Alan, learn how to stop manners that could be seen as surprising in foreign countries, such as hacking and spitting in the street, littering, going through door in front of women etc…? If so, how did he become conscious of those and what made hom click to start changing? My appologies if this sounds rude or offensive. I’d really like to know.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Hi Karina, my hubby Alan didn’t do those things before he met me either. The only exception is holding the doors for women, which is not as common here in China that it seems to be in Southern Europe for example. In Finland I’m not used to having guys holding the door for me either, even though it feels nice when it happens.

    I think according to my experience lot of Chinese guys that date and marry foreigners already have experience outside the country or have lots of foreign friends. These connections might make their habits a bit different with others in the mainland.

  • Jari Lahdenpera

    Hi Sara, have you registered your marriage in Finland? If so, where did Alan get his “certificate of marital status” document and what is is called in Chinese.
    I am planning on marrying my fiancee in Helsinki on the Christmas week and then again in Chongqing in January.
    I got the instructions for the Chinese wedding from your excellent blog, but I’m not sure of the Finnish process.
    I am a Finnish citizen, but have lived in the USA for 20 years. The “maistraatti” sent me an email where it said that my fiancee needs a “certificate of marital status” from her native country (China), but as far as I can tell the Chinese government doesn’t issue such documents.

    Jari Lahdenpera
    PS. The pic is from Helsinki, summer of 2014

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Hi Jari!

    Yes we registered our marriage in Finland as well. We married in China so the process was a bit different than for you if you plan to marry in Helsinki. You are kind of doing it in the different order as us.

    Has you fiancee asked the Chinese Embassy on what documents she needs and if they can issue it for her? I think the Chinese often refer to that document as a “single certificate” 单身证明. But again I think the Chinese embassy will be the best place to ask first.

    Love the picture by the way!