Sunday, November 16, 2008

ni hao!


ni hao!

welcome to china


a special welcome to all the BATW visitors today. For those of you unfamiliar this is a site where bloggers from all over the world can be connected. Every week a different blogger is chosen to give a tour of their area. I am very pleased to be invited and hope you all enjoy.


I am from the U.S.A. (me - Texas, hubby - Illinois) and with my husband and four children have been living in South America for over 7 years. We arrived in China in August and are just settling into this amazing country and enjoying learning about the people here.





We are living in the Guangdong Province, in a city called Shenzhen ( we are actually in the Shekou area). It is located just across the border from Hong Kong. You can easily take a ferry or train to Hong Kong for a nice day trip. Although I have not had the opportunity to visit much of mainland China yet I have the impression that this city is not like others in China. There are many foreign investors in the city, everything from electronics to clothing, pharmaceutical to machinery. It has become a proving ground of sorts to show the world how China is opening up.



One of the difficulties we have found here is the attention we draw as westerners, especially our children, having four plus the fair skin. Often on just a trip to the grocery store we will be assailed with people touching their hair and taking photos - with themselves in the picture of course. Last week we went to dinner and were stopped just outside the door for the photo fest. I think I could make a pretty penny if I set up a booth.



In Shenzhen there are restaurants for every taste. We have Japanese restaurants, thai, italian, tex-mex, and of course various fast food places. I have really enjoyed the chinese food although it is different from what I what see in the U.S. My particular favorites are the celery which is cooked in what I think is a sort of chicken broth and lotus root which is not only beautiful to see but tasty too. Martin Yan also has a cooking school here and gives classes.




Let's talk a little about language. Upon learning I was moving here I started to look into some mandarin. Finding that the words were in the same order as english i took heart, as this has been difficult for me in spanish. There are no singular and plural nouns, no gender specific nouns. You do not need to worry about past or present, active or passive, or pronouns. Wow, this sounded great. The pronunciation is so difficult and one word can have many meanings just by changing the inflection of your voice. so you must memorize where all the correct inflections go. How do you have a language with no alphabet! I see long nights of studying with headphones clamped to my head. àn bù jiù ban - one step at a time.


As I have the opportunity to travel more here I will share those experiences with you, so I hope you will all visit often. I leave you with some photos




visiting a temple


view from temple hike


hong kong haze



chinese cemetery from bus window




a favorite italian restaurant



a local shop

49 comments:

Debbie said...

Thanks so much Lizzy! The pictures are great!

Ballerina Girl said...

Great post! What a fun one!
Thanks for hsaring about China...maybe I'll end up there some day too, and then you can give me all the details ;)
BG

Gabriela said...

That's so funny about all the photo shoots! I bet you guys do stand out in a crowd.

Wish we could visit!

Casey said...

Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your day!

Michelle said...

Oh how interesting! I visited China once many many years ago now (before Hong Kong was Chinese if that tells you anything!), and it was interesting to see the differences between the different regions. And you're definitely right that Shenzen is different, too -- a friend of mine opened a factory there two years ago and has shared many of his stories with us (in fact, I was at his wedding this weekend -- but in the States!). You are definitely finding some interesting places to hang out.

However... the food was one thing he complained about. He and his fiancee would shop in HK every weekend and cook all week in their apartment. I'm glad to hear that you found it more to your tastes!

And the pictures thing? Yeah... I remember people THROWING toddlers into my arms at the Great Wall and elsewhere because I was blonde and blue eyed. I have a feeling it won't stop for you the whole time you're there!

Have a great time, and thanks for bringing back some memories :)

Jennifer said...

Wow. Isn't the world a fasinating place! Enjoy your time in China. I have yet to travel that far, not even close, but one day I'll get there. Thanks for the tour.

Cairo Typ0 said...

Thank you so much for your tour! I hope to go to China this summer for a week or so for a conference with my husband. Your post has only made me more excited to do so! :) :)

Enjoy your BAtW day!

Julie said...

Hello from Hungary... I am dying to go to China, a good friend of mine is married to a Chinese man and they live there... they have moved a lot, so I am not sure which province they are in now...but I want to vistit when the kiddos get a bit older!

Thanks for the tour!!!

lizzy-loo said...

debbie - thanks for the chance to share

bg - i would be happy to share with you upon your move here.

gabby - you can visit anytime. stay with us. we babysit too.

michelle - it is difficult to find the types of food we are used to cooking with, we usually go to several stores to find all we need. if you cook as the chinese do it is quite cheap, but to cook as we do in the U.S. it can be expensive.

Charity Childs-Gevero said...

Hey there! :)

My mother is from Xiamen, China! :)

My mother's mother (my "amah") had to flee China during the WW2 to save her life, because she was from a bourgeoisie family, she came to the Philippines on a boat when she was 17, took up a job as a teacher at the local Chinese school, then married another Chinese man, and had 6 children, then my mother later met my father in California, at the School of Ministry where she was going to school at! hee hee! Ok, that was a pretty long story...hee hee!

:)

illahee said...

congrats on BATW!!

Lady Fi said...

Hope you enjoy your BATW day.

I believe that Shenzhen is very Western as it has been set up as a special economic zone. I'm sure you'll have lots of new and good experiences.

I lived in Hunan in the 1980s as one of the first foreigners ever and it was quite an experience!

Back then I was usually followed by hundreds of curious Chinese who wanted to stroke me, my hair, the hairs on my arms etc... This part at least doesn't seem to have changed.

Rachael said...

Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your life with us. Your post on being an American Pat was so thought provoking. Have a great day!

Louise, Carmine Superiore, Italy said...

China! How exotic. You are very brave - it must be very different from south America. I was in a very famous Paris kitchen store a couple of years back, and suddenly we were mobbed by a group of young Chinese people all wanting to have their picture taken with my kids - the kids loved it. I thought it was a bit strange! Thank-you for a great post.

Melissa Lester said...

I think it's lovely that people want to be photographed with you. Their celebration of your cultural differences is such a nice contrast to the more reserved attitude of people in the U.S. to foreigners.

Ruthanne said...

Thanks for the tour! I hope our family can visit some day.

Lauren W said...

What a great post!
How funny that your kids are such novelties. When I was little, my family lived in El Paso, and my super fair coloring got similar reactions quite often :)
Anyway... Thanks for the lovely introduction :D

Becky Welch said...

Thanks for your tour! We have friends who just moved to China, too. I forget exactly where they are though. Enjoy your BATW day!

Carla said...

Hi there . . . wishing more than ever that I was in China right about now, it sound like you are getting your bit of attention though. PS: I'm a Brazilian living in American and read on to some of your posts. I just kept smiling. :)

Jen said...

Thank you for taking us on a wonderful tour!

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

Wow. Great pictures and descriptions. I think I might be tempted to set up a photo booth too. ;)

I loved getting a peek inside your world there.

Kathi said...

This is so neat! Thank you for sharing! I can't believe how much I'm learning from BATW!! Who'd have thought????

You should set up a booth for the pics...even 25 cents per person = hello college fund!!!

Have a great day!

Ashley said...

Congrats on your BATW feature! What an interesting life!

Oh2122 said...

Wow! What an amazing adventure. Thanks for sharing!

karin said...

Greetings via BATW from Western Canada. Thanks for showing us around! What an interesting life!

Betty said...

Very interesting! My sister and family live in Xining and are missionaries there, so I know a bit about that area.
Have a great BATW day!

Vanessa Rogers said...

Wow! What takes you all over the world? It seems my husband and I are following loosely in your path. We are both from Texas, we spent 8 months teaching English in Chile and we are now planning on teaching English in Korea for at least a year. At the very least we are following the continents :) Funny huh!

Caution Flag said...

Thank-you for a genuinely enjoyable tour. I look forward to following your future posts.

{The Sassy Mom} said...

Such a great post...it's so amazing to learn about other people in far away places. I'm not much of a traveler...to chicken!
Awesome Tour!

JourneytoFamily said...

Thanks for the awesome tour! That's absolutely crazy that people stop you so they can take pictures with your fair-skinned children! (visiting from Los Angeles, CA)

The Hultman's said...

Congrats on being featured on BATW. Hope you had fun!

The Arthur Clan said...

What an interesting life your children have had! Amazing experiences that they will remember forever. I really enjoyed your BATW post. :)

Susie said...

Greetings from Wisconsin in the States. Congratulations on your BATW feature. I hope that you are enjoying your day in the sun. And thanks for sharing your neck of the woods with us:-)

Joy in the Burbs... said...

Lizzy, you gave a great tour of your new home place.
I'm commenting from Texas, via BATW. Does your husbands work move you all around?
What an adventure.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Lady Dorothy said...

Happy BATW Day!

I've been to China only once. Didn't go to the touristy places. Spent a couple days in the "back woods". I would say my eyes were definitely opened to the effects of their government.

But, on a lighter note, you are right. Asians certainly don't have the sense of personal space we Westerners do. Once, a woman came about two inches from my husband's face to stare at his freckles. My son-in-law (from Mongolia) laughed and said, "She's never seen a black man before."

Tamie said...

what an amazing experience for you and your kids....wow! my husbands dream is to go to china....he wanted to go to the olympics soooo badly.
how exciting to get the opportunity to discover and experience such an amazing culture so different from our own!
thanks for sharing!

Connie said...

ni hao (I learned that from my 3yo niece who got it from TV)

I love the photos! And good to know that my blonde kids aren't the only ones whose smiling faces are ending up in strangers' cell phones! :-D

My father was in China at/after WWII and he loved it there. So many stories. I would love to go see for myself.

Gina said...

I don't get the thing about taking photos with random white people! Having had Chinese exchange students, they always want to tough my girls' LONG blonde hair. And WHY do the ALWAYS make peace signs?
I liked the cultural lesson about chewing with your mouth shut.
Happy BATW day.

Gombojav Tribe said...

I've been to China many times, but mostly just Beijing where we take the train to Mongolia--where my husband is from.

I'd love to see what the rest of China is like!! Thanks for the tour!

Star Forbis said...

Hello, it's nice to meet you. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

Aubrey said...

Ni Hao! Love it!

Thanks for the tour. What an amazing journey your family is on! Thanks for sharing.

LaDonna said...

Thanks for the tour. Love the pictures.

very funny about the photo fests

CaraBee said...

What an amazing experience for you and your family! I can't imagine people just coming up and touching you, I'll bet that was pretty weird at first.

Laural Out Loud said...

What an amazing experience for your children- first Brasil, now China.

I've always wanted to go to China because the pictures are so gorgeous. Maybe someday I'll make it. But from now on I'll be reading your blog to see it through your eyes! You have a lovely writing style.

Thanks for the tour!

"The Queen in Residence" said...

Great tour and I really enjoyed the expat post. I think that is so true where ever you are there are unknown expectations and there are also perceptions about what we are and are not. I always say just be yourself and then you can never go wrong.
Enjoy the bloggy love today, BATW is the best.

ella said...

I found you through BAtW.
I know I will enjoy reading your blog. We loved in Australia for a year (orig. from CA) and I found myself in severe culture shock. I was invited to a "craft group"---ladies gathering at one's house to work on crafts. Straight-forward right? I showed up in Birkenstocks and shorts, all the other OZ ladies were in linen skirts and silk blouses (just to cross stich in someons'e living room?) but it taught me so much about projecting my expectations and how I was resistant to cultural differences.
good for you to be so open and what an amazing childhood you're giving your kids.

Elena said...

I'm late in coming, but thank you for sharing. I loved the bit about being accosted with your kids. We visited Singapore with our blonde hair blue eyed baby a few years ago and it was the same for us. I've never seen so many people whipping out cell phones with cameras in my life. And people just coming and taking him right of the stroller or touching him. It was like having a celebrity with me. Thank you for sharing your world with us.

Lynnette Kraft said...

Thanks so much for the invitation to visit China! I enjoyed the pictures very much. It must be very interesting living somewhere where you stand out. Opportunities to share your life though. :)
Have a great day.
Lynnette

Amanda said...

I've lived near China for 3.5 years now and still haven't been - but big plans to change that next fall! Can't wait, now that I'm reading all about the country on your blog!