A Chinese tattoo in Canada

Saw a lot of Chinese tattoos during our two months in North America this summer. Some were good, some were legible but obviously drawn by a non-Chinese, some were wrong but guessable.

This is the tattoo of one of the kids’ nature program instructors at the provincial park we camped at in B.C. (super nice guy, taught our daughter about climate change and bears). Can anyone help me out with the middle character?


He said it’s supposed to be “courage” 勇气 (勇氣), “achievement” 芸, and “peace of mind” or “comfort” 安心,but all I can find for 芸 is that it’s a Japanese variant of 艺 (skill, art). Anyone got any better ideas?

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…

Welcome to Canada… are you the father?

After arriving in Vancouver a few hours earlier than when we left Beijing, we had a little post-flight run-in with Immigration Canada. Despite questioning the paternity of the child in Jessica’s tummy (the officer was really apologetic about it — they had to make sure she wasn’t trying to get Canadian citizenship for an ineligible child), the immigration officials were actually pretty nice. But getting processed took forever. Canadians living in China or any China expats who will travel to Canada might want to read this.

I didn’t know that there’s a six month limit on foreign visitors to Canada, and Jessica’s an American. Plus it’s complicated: I was born and raised in Canada (dual citizenship). We don’t have a place in China at the moment (we had to move out of the apartment). We haven’t been to Canada in almost three years, and previous to that that we were in the States for university for even longer.

I shouldn’t have put my parents’ address where I grew up as our current residence, or told them that we planned to be in Canada for more than six months. They made us get in a really slow line full of people who don’t know English well enough to fill out their landing cards properly and who apparently also don’t know that you can’t take photos of Immigration Canada operations while waiting in said line (they had to get a translator just to delete the photo off the poor guy’s phone, since the phone all in Chinese).

Canadians living in China take note: put a Chinese address as your current residence, and if you’ve got a foreign wife and want to stay longer than six months, plan a trip to the States within the first six months and when entering Canada tell them that you plan to stay until that trip to the States. Then re-enter a second time from the States. (If you tell them you plan to stay in Canada for more than 6 months but plan a trip to the States during that time, it won’t work.)

PS – Vancouver smells like trees. Aaah…

PPS – And to drunk Canadians on overnight flights who keep everyone on the airplane awake with loud, boring, boorish, and bawdy stories when they want to sleep: I hope the altitude change gives you massive hangover. You earned it. I should’ve put the video I took of you on YouTube with the date and flight number.