Fruit Tea and Jam by Anna

When I first met Anna I liked her straight away. Maybe it was her fluffy hat and dimply grin, maybe it was the bright flowers on her table, or maybe it was because she offered me a free sample of fruit tea, yum! I tried her homemade tea and jam and came straight back for more. She uses whole fruit and flower combinations that just really work well – in a teacup or on toast, amazing! I asked if I could interview her and she responded with an invitation to dinner. 

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Favourite Mistakes

Slide4Yes, we all enjoy having a giggle over the myriad of ‘Chinglish’ mistakes we see all around us in China. I myself was posting a picture of a menu offering “catch-up sauce” when it occurred to me: what about the other way around? Do our mistakes in Chinese get laughed about? So I investigated the most common and the most embarrassing mistakes made by foreigners and have distilled my favourites into a nice list below – over which you are welcome to ‘LYFAO’. Continue reading

A Cup of Milk Tea

milkteaWhat could be more simple than ordering a cup of milk tea?

After a few months of being restricted to cafes with picture books as menus, I began to rue the loss of my eloquence as I could only point to things I wanted with a childlike, “这个”(zhège: this one) and “那个” (nàgè: that one). Feeling like an idiot soon became a bore.

So I decided to expand my vocabulary range using café menus as my textbook. One morning I decided to take the plunge and order a milk tea… properly. As I waited in line, I looked up the words I thought I would need: Continue reading

Chinese Feats: Seth and Tang Poetry

There are some people who have really made friends with the Chinese language and it comes out of them so naturally that you need a double-take to make sure they are not Chinese. I was so inspired by these people’s hard work that I decided to interview them for some tips and wisdom to help the rest of us on our journey towards fluency. 

Name: Seth
Nationality: Alaska
Learning Chinese for: 6 years (on and off)
Chinese Proficiency: HSK6 + Continue reading

Chinese Feats: Bjorn and Traditional Chinese

There are some people who have really made friends with the Chinese language and it comes out of them so naturally that you need a double-take to make sure they are not Chinese. I was so inspired by these people’s ability that I decided to interview them for some tips and wisdom to help the rest of us on our journey towards fluency. 

Name: Bjorn
Nationality: South Africa
Learning Chinese for: 9 years (on and off)
Chinese Proficiency: Fluent Continue reading

Chinese Feats: Rebecca and Raspberries

There are some people who have really made friends with the Chinese language and it comes out of them so naturally that you need a double-take to make sure they are not Chinese. I was so inspired by these people’s ability that I decided to interview them for some tips and wisdom to help the rest of us on our journey towards fluency. 

Name: Rebecca
Nationality: USA
Learning Chinese for: 10 years (on and off)
Chinese Proficiency: Fluent Continue reading

The Vegetable Community

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The education system in China is strict and exacting, and there is no relief to be found at home for the students either. Their piles of homework are notoriously high, and competition for top-of-the-class is more fierce among parents than the students themselves. I don’t need to explain the negative impact it has on society. It is so ingrained in the culture that I was beginning to wonder if change was even possible. Then I found the Vegetable Community.  Continue reading

The Acupuncturist

photo-3Half Thai, half Mauritian, living in China, Jade is mastering her fifth language with the help of her Bolivian boyfriend, and works as a sort of freelance acupuncturist. She basically makes Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) more accessible to foreigners by administering in-home treatments and saving them from the hassle and confusion of a visit to a local hospital. Genius.

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Culture Shock

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First milestone reached: six months in China. What does that feel like? What am I supposed to feel? Acclimatised? Adapting to a new culture, apparently, is supposed to happen in stages:

Step 1: The Honeymoon Stage

When you first arrive in a new culture, differences are intriguing and you may feel excited, stimulated and curious. Like any new experience, there’s a feeling of euphoria when you first arrive and you’re in awe of the differences you see and experience. You feel excited, stimulated, enriched.

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