Free Chinese Sidewalk Calligraphy Lessons

Our daughter gets some pointers from a friendly security guard in Qingdao’s Licun Park (李村公园).
The brushes are made with reused materials: plastic pipe, sponge/foam, plastic water bottle, and a couple small nails.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2015!

Some Christmas-y photos from our final month of 2015 in China.

Chinese Sunday school kids sing at the annual Christmas party/show.

We’ve appropriated traditional Chinese decorations as Christmas tree ornaments.

Mulled wine, 2015.

Every year we put up new door couplets and a new at Christmas/New Year’s, right around the time people start thinking about getting ready for Chinese New Year. It’s actually a little early for this, as these are CNY decorations, but our family basically has a giant long winter holiday season from Advent through Chinese New Year each year.

We played Santa around the neighbourhood this year with over 60 Christmas cookie packages.

In exchange for the cookies, he gave our daughter a live octopus.


A Chinese wedding banquet (is always a small adventure)

A Chinese celebration is a special thing. We’re grateful that we occasionally get to take part in them. The way they’re done — the ‘family style’ dining, the toasting, etc. — really is fun when done well.

And, of course, there’s the food. Weddings will have special dishes, fancy dishes, expensive dishes — and for Euro-Americans that often means eyebrow-raising dishes.

There are two kinds of adventure eating in China. It’s one thing to deliberately go out of your way to seek out some crazy-to-your-home-culture dish — like dog or máodàn or cányǒng or starfish — and share the photos on social media, regardless of how common those are to locals (Canadians eat bull testicles — did you know?). Sure it’s cliche but whatever, have fun. You’re not hurting anybody.

The other kind of adventure eating is the the kind that seeks you out. You’re just going about your business, accepting a neighbour’s dinner invitation or attending a friend’s wedding feast, and you’re served “cicada monkeys” 知了猴:

Cicada nymphs, a standard restaurant menu item in Shandong province.

Or this:
#somepig #terrific #radiant #humble

Both of those were last weekend for us, at a friend’s wedding banquet, which was lots of fun.

The real Chinese nightlife

Nightlife in China, Qingdao-style:
Little groups like this are sprinkled throughout our neighbourhood in the after-dinner hours. I’m sure we weren’t the only one hanging our beer on the wall.

Happy dancers in Licun Park, Qingdao, China

One of the fun things about China is the out-of-doors, active, social culture. And ballroom dancing groups in parks or any large, flat, central public place are a happy sight.
This couple was one of many last Saturday morning at Qingdao’s Licun Park 李村公园

Chinese Tourist of the Year

This summer, during our family’s first visit to North America in three years, we shared the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria with a literal bus-load of Chinese tourists.

Chinese tourist in Canada

I’m giving this guy from Yunan, who was really nice and took pictures for us, the Chinese Tourist of the Year award for coordinating his Canada hat and Canada shirt with the Canada flag. Full points for Canada enthusiasm! Just warms my frozen Canadian heart…