5 tips to Bring Easter Spirit to China

‘Tis the season when some people around the world celebrate Eastern. If you are in China, you may or may not feel its spirit, so here are 5 tips on how to bring Easter Spirit to China and enjoy this special holiday.

1. Head to Taobao.com and input “Easter” into the search – you’ll be amazed at how many things you will find!

2. Stock up on seasonal chocolate – most of the stores, especially the ones selling imported things, will have chocolate eggs and bunny shaped eggs. By the way, those, along with Christmas candy, can be found year long in some stores.

3. There are tons of craft related to Easter that you can use to make. For example, check out my Easter Egg and Easter Bunny crafts.

4. Easter Egg hunt is always a hit among expats and local friends alike! Along with making and decorating Paska bread and dyeing eggs. It is amazing how much you fun you can have while doing it all!

5. Prepare an Easter feast or organise a potluck with your friends – all the same fun and friendly atmosphere that will make you feel at home.

Easter is a commercial holiday in China and while it is not a public holiday, it is celebrated by some. Friends get together, some people go to church for a service on that day. Some malls have decorations in a form of big figurines of eggs, bunnies and chicks.

Most of kindergartens that offer foreign teacher classes put Easter theme in their curriculum and the whole week leading to it there are crafts, book reading, egg painting, and games going on. For example, my blogger friend Becky of Badmintonbecky.com makes Bunny Masks with her students.

With a little of effort, research, and creativity you can have yourself a beautiful and joyful Easter celebration in China!

If you live abroad, how do you keep Easter Spirit where you are?

Series on Easter around the world

Easter is approaching, and once again we are excited to take you on a tour of the world and how it celebrates Easter! Explore the diverse traditions of Easter with us, and don’t miss our series from last year, or from 2016 or 2015. You also will enjoy this wonderful overview of global Easter traditions. Find these posts and more on our Easter Around the World Pinterest board:

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Easter Around the World on Pinterest.

March 12
Almost Indian Wife on Multicultural Kid Blogs:
Celebrating Easter Around the World

March 19
Crafty Moms Share: Easter in Bermuda

March 22
Crafty Moms Share: Easter in France

March 26
Pediatrician with a Passport: The Mysterious Origin of the American Easter Bunny

March 27
Let the Journey Begin: Why Do Germans Give Easter Gifts?

March 28
Creative World of Varya: 5 Tips to Bring Easter Spirit to China

March 29
Kori at Home

Ten Fun Facts About Teaching in China {What It Is Actually Not}

 

This my 17th Spring Festival in China, and after teaching here for as many years I thought it would be fun to share some facts with you. This post is about Ten Fun Facts about Teaching in China, however, it is actually how teaching in China is not what you thought it would be!

Fact #1:

Teaching in China is NOT boring! It can actually be quite fun: children truly adore foreign teachers, and if you get to experience lots of new thing.

Fact #2:

Your bachelor’s degree is NOT enough. You need to get a TEFL certificate which is a requirement for a work permit application.

Fact #3:

Your schedule is NOT stable. You can definitely some last minute changes. Oh, it can be frustrating but if you set your mind on flexibility – you will adapt fast!

Fact #4:

You CAN’T expect that everyone will be doing things like it is “back home”. Get ready to the unexpected: yes, sometimes it is like being in the outer space, exploring new planets.

Fact #5:

NOT all your students are interested in foreign teacher classes. Many of them are too preoccupied with scoring high scores in Math and Chinese, hence you will see a lot of snoozing in your lesson, or someone quickly doing their homework. Go easy on them! Just make your lessons fun enough for them to follow.

Fact #6:

Your contract is NOT written in stone. In fact, you will definitely be asked to perform some demo classes and participate in activities that are not listed in your contract. Make sure to clarify all little details, and discuss possible and impossible scenarios. Better yet – you should have it all in writing. Refer to Fact #4.

Facts #7:

Teaching in China is NOT the same as teaching back home. For instance, unless you are a lead subject teacher, or work in an international school, you will not be expected to attend parent-teacher conferences, nor really grade your students. Big relief, huh? I know! It was a huge change for me: coming to short lessons plans from pages of lesson plans and feedback for each student I had to write at home!

Fact #8:

People DON’T always mean what they say. Oh no, I don’t mean they are liars! Quite the opposite: I see Chinese overall as quite pure-hearted people who will do what they promise to do. Of course, it doesn’t always work for employer-employee relationship. But this fact is not about that. It is about … a bargain. Yes, Chinese love bargain, you will see it from students, parents, and your co-workers. So if someone says “let me do it”, they may not necessarily know how to do it, and they will definitely be relieved if you finally take charge as you originally suggested. They are really just being polite! But if you do agree with them taking charge of that task, they will do it at their best capacity.

Fact #9:

Your students are NOT spoiled brats. They really are not. You set the rules from the first time you enter the classroom, and since it is in their nature to follow rules, with your consistency they will absolutely follow them.

Fan #10:

Your perception of whole life in China is about to be changed! I knew so many Chinese friends and lived near Chinese border for years. Yet, from the moment I stepped my foot on China soil, I had such change of heart. I had a huge culture shock (keep in mind, that was 17 years ago, China changed SO much since then). But within a year and a half I couldn’t wait to come back here. So 17 years and counting, I love what I do!

I wish you a happy and a prosperous Spring Festival! May the year of Dog bring you lots of joy and good beginnings. If you set your heart on moving to China to teach here in the year of Dog – good for you. And I wish you Good Luck!

新年快乐

Chinese New Year | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to our fourth annual Chinese New Year blog hop! Lunar New Year, more commonly known as Chinese New Year, starts on February 16. It is the beginning of the Year of the Dog, and we have lots of great ideas for celebrating it with kids! Don’t miss our series from last year, 2016 and 2015, and you can find even more on our Chinese New Year Pinterest board:

 

Participating Blogs

Creative World of Varya on Multicultural Kid Blogs: Earth Dog Year Fun Facts
Bicultural Mama: Chinese Soup Dumplings (Xiǎo Lóng Bāo): What They Are and How to Eat
Crafty Moms Share: The Year of the Dog
Miss Panda Chinese
Creative World of Varya: Ten Fun Facts about Teachin in China {What It Is Actually Not}
the gingerbread house: Simple Chinese New Year Lantern Craft for Kids to Make
ChrissyJee.com: Healthy Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year

Expat’s Emergency Checklist

I wish I was writing under better circumstances but unfortunately it is a sudden passing of a fellow expat that made me think of  an Expat’s Emergency Checklist, and share with it with my readers.

I won’t go into the details but since the person didn’t leave behind any information on how to contact his family, I asked my self a question: “Who has the information about our families in case something happens to us?” 

I mean, we all have good friends who would take care of our possessions and funeral in case we pass away; who will donate and raise the money if we are ever in need. But what information should I have available in case something to happen to me abroad?

So here is the checklist for you (and especially if you are an expat in China, since my list is based on the circumstances here):

1. Make sure you are registered with your consulate/Embassy. They should have your up-to-date information. It is probably the easiest. 

2. Make a list of emergency contacts back home and keep it somewhere visible.

3. Make a list of emergency contacts where you currently reside and keep it somewhere visible.

For the #2 and #3: a lot of phones now allow adding emergency contacts to the locked screen. So in case something happens one doesn’t need to break into your phone. 

4. Know your exact blood type and Rhesus. 

5. Always have a list of allergies and your ailments available.

For #4 and #5: you can keep that information in your wallet. Most hospitals can tell you your blood type and Rhesus when they draw blood from a vein. You can just request it as a separate blood tests, too. 

6. Have a copy of your apartment key with a trusted friend. This is optional but it is a great option. 

7. Carry a copy of your passport and police registration (if applicable) with you.
If you can add more points, please do comment. 

And last, but not the least:

While we all have right for privacy, it is important to let on some people. There will always be at least one person you can trust with your life. Don’t close up from them. Share the good and the bad. We never know how our life turns out to be. We just have to trust that there are enough people who will be there for you, no matter how close you are. 

Aromatherapy Amulet For The Baby

Life in the South of China teaches me new things every day. 

For example, I have recently found out that local Guangdong residents make a small hand-stiched amulet for the baby, which is attached to the back of the child’s clothes. It is mostly made with a red piece of cloth. Some people told me there is something inside from a temple – I guessed it was some kind of writing that is supposed to protect the child from harm.

Now coming to the title of my post today. This amulet gave an idea that I could create lovely gifts for my friends who have babies – Aromatherapy Amulet for the Baby.  Instead of a protective writing, it would have a piece of cotton inside and a drop of safe for babies oil could be applied. This amulet can be easily made together with your older children! 

What you will need:

A piece of cloth 

Some cotton

A needle and a thread

A safety pin

Scissors

How to make it:

1. Cut a square shaped piece of cloth (yes, it is a rectangle in the photo. It became a square later!)

2. Stitch along the edge, following the shape of the cloth, with a single stitch. When done, pull slightly by the thread to gather the cloth together. 

3. Fill in the cloth with cotton and pull together. Secured the ends by stitching through them few more stitches. 

4. Open the safety pin and stitch over the non-moving part to attach the amulet to it. Secure the amulet. Close the pin. You have your amulet!

For a young baby not many oils are recommended to use. But such oils as Lavender and Roman Chamomile are my oils on the go with tiny ones. One drop on the amulet and the soothing smell with accompany your little one throughout the day. 

You don’t need to keep the pin on the baby, it can be placed near the crib, and in the pram. Either way, it will be a nice thoughtful handmade gift along with one of the oils to share with your friends. 

Today is the last day of wonderful series – 10 Days of Kid-Made Christmas . Hop over to other blogs who posted today by clicking the links below. 

The Life of Jennifer Dawn

Castle View Academy

40 Things I wish I knew Before Moving to China

It has been a while since I spoiled you with interesting posts. I had problems with my blog, then I was busy with summer vacation. 
Now that we are settled back to school I hope to bring you more of interesting read, craft, and other stuff.

Today a bunch of Multicultural bloggers are gathered together to bring you lists of 40 things to celebrate Leanna’s – our founder – birthday.

Naturally, I would like to share with you 40 things I wish I knew before moving to China. I had few friends chip in with their things!

1. I would move to China. In my list of countries I wanted to visit, or live in, China was not a priority.

2. I would marry in China. My husband is actually from Tanzania.

2. I would give birth 3 times in China. 

3.  I would stay here for over a year. It’s been 15 years, and still counting.

4. I would marry in China. 

5. Chinese laugh when they are nervous or uncomfortable. It would save me a lot of energy getting upset over people laughing in stressduk situations!

6. If you ever try to be polite and say you liked something, you stall be given that something and your Chinese friends will remember it and go out of their way to get it!

7. Public spitting is a norm. And with the time you simply stop noticing it. And then you laugh at the reaction of those who witness it for the first time.

8. Everything is met with “mei wen ti” (no problem), even when it is a huge problem.

9. You will not easily find your usual items of hygiene around here. May be some imported shops. Stock up on yours!

10. Things can be fake. Even if you bought them in a reputable store. I once bought a fake perfume from a very big store in Beijing. Oh well!

11. Bring tissues whenever you go.

10. Carry tissues or a roll of toilet paper wherever you go.

12. You can’t, apparently, publicly blow your knows in a tissue, let alone stick that tissue back in your purse. 

13. But you can clear your nose and throat into a nearby trash can. Or into the ground. (Gross for you – not gross here).

14. Learn to squat. It will be a great skill for time pass at the train station; and in the loo. 

15. Learn to use wechat ( a very popular messenger/mobile social network).

16. Don’t trust wechat translation. You will definitely stumble upon sentences that are nowhere close to the original.

17. Pedestrians yield to buses trucks cars bikes and motorcycles. So watch your steps!

18. Zebra crossing is no guarantee for an accident free passage. Learn to manoeuvre.

18. Sometimes red light means green light. And green light doesn’t mean all cars stop moving – you really need a crash course in understanding local road system.

20. You can sometimes find the biggest counterfeit market right under the immigration boarder control.

21. Chewing with mouth open shows you enjoy the food. The more you enjoy – the loud your chewing should be. I got over my pet peev of people chewing with mouth open here. 

22.  Mooncakes are mostly a tradition. They are given away in large quantities. They are rarely eaten.

23. “Guangxi” (useful relationships) are an important part of the culture. You have no idea how many times this wonderful cultural trait has helped us. 

24. It is a big sign of respect to be called “brother” or “sister” here. 

25. The term “ayi” (auntie) which may be offensive in another culture when addressed to a young female, in fact a respectful term here when addressed to a stranger.

26. Calling a woman “mei nü”(beauty) will warm up her heart to you. It is also used to call a waisteass or a sales woman, which is a very very polite term. 

27. Chinese are very curious people. They can ask you about your salary and cost of rent without any malicious or envious thoughts. 

28. Be prepared to carry a map around showing everyone exactly where you are from. 
29. Be prepared to answer various questions on leaders of your country. 

30. Avoid talking politics. It is really not a very comfortable topic.

31. People may tough your skin or hair. They can even attempt to touch your eyelashes. See #27.

32. People will be watching you and make a very direct eye contact. See #27.

33. People may march through your apartment and open your fridge to see what you eat. See #27. 

34. People usually talk very loud here. 

35. 10pm seems to be the time when everything quiets down here. If you make noise after 10 pm your neighbours can call the police on you.

36. Between 12 pm and 2.30 pm everyone takes a nap. However, shops and hospital emergencies work.

37. When people see that you can’t understand them speaking, they start writing for you. Because in China even if you don’t speak, you can usually still read. 

38. Chinese are very pure-hearted. I think the whole concept of “face saving” was created because of that.

39. Body language doesn’t work here. 

40. TAOBAO is the place find everything you need and more!

Bloggers share their lists of 40 favorite things

To celebrate her 40th birthday, Leanna from All Done Monkey has organized a virtual party, where each blogger shares her list of 40 favorite things, plus we are giving away a big cash prize to a lucky winner! Don’t miss these creative Top 40 lists, and be sure to enter the giveaway, which is open internationally. (Thanks to the Piri-Piri Lexicon for designing this beautiful series button!)
All Done Monkey: 40 Ways to Celebrate Turning 40

The Piri-Piri Lexicon: 40 Tips for Parents of Bilingual Children

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: 40 Things to Do with Kids in Puerto Rico

Play Dough & Popsicles: 40 Paper Plate Crafts for Kids

Hispanic Mama: 40 Books for Hispanic Heritage Month

Pura Vida Moms: 40 Best Cupcake Recipes

Globe Trottin’ Kids: 40 Ways to Go Global in the Elementary Classroom

Spanglish Monkey: 40 Dishes from Around the World You Should Try

Peakle Pie: 40 Free Family Fun Things to Make and Do

Witty Hoots: 40 Amazing Books to Read Before You Get Old

MommyMaestra: 40 Ways to Have a Multicultural Homeschool

MarocMama: 40 Things to Do in Morocco You Haven’t Thought Of!

Multilingual Parenting: 40 Ways to Motivate Bilingual Children to Speak the Minority Language

Creative World of Varya: 40 Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to China

Pack-n-Go Girls: 40 Fabulous Travel Tips

Enter below for your chance to win!

PayPal cash giveaway is open internationally! Giveaway closes at midnight Pacific Time on September 19, 2016.

Chinese Tea Sensory Dough

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Welcome to 12 Months of Sensory Dough hosted by Lemon Lime Adventures!

This month we are all about Natural Dough. And so I thought about making it with a twist – Chinese Tea Sensory Dough.

For the base I took a simple recipe of salt Dough but here is how I made some changes:

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First, I brewed some Chinese Tea.

Then, the girls mixed cooled off to warm tea and dissolve salt in it.

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Next, they added the flour and mixed their dough. It became VERY soft and smooth!

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So, I let them divide the dough into two parts:

Part one was mixed with dry tea leaves.

Part two was mixed with tea leaves that were drained off excess tea.

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Then, the girls insisted for both parts to be mixed and they made lots of figurines using the cookie cutters.

While the dough didn’t get any color, it actually looked whiter than a regular salt Dough.

Girls got to experience three textures from very smooth to very rough using dry and wet tea leaves.

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Natural Play Dough with Natural Dye | Lemon Lime Adventures
No Cook Lemon Scented Natural Play Dough | Natural Beach Living
Natural Chamomile Playdough Recipe | Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
Paprika Natural Play Dough Recipe | Sugar Aunts
Mud Dough with Flowers | Powerful Mothering
Natural Calming Play Dough | Sugar, Spice & Glitter
Chinese Tea Play Dough | Creative World of Varya
Herbal Tea Dough | Peakle Pie

Please follow Lemon Lime Adventure’s Sensory Dough Pinterest Board for more ideas!

Follow Dayna | Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Sensory | Dough Recipes on Pinterest.

Chinese New Year Math and Literacy Unit Review

Becky CNY Pack

Being a blogger means having lots of wonderful blogger friends.

I have previously introduced to you an amazing blogger friend of mine – Becky – who blogs at Kid World Citizen and shares the most amazing content on multiculturalism, multilingualism and globalization.

Today I am happy to introduce to you Becky’s TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers) shop where she shared this wonderful Unit on New Year Math and Literacy.

This Unit packet is aimed at children of PreK to Grade 1 and it is so well structured – I was really sitting and adoring it for a moment from a teacher’s point of view.

This Unit is also suitable for homeschoolers – the instructions are simple and easy and anyone can follow them.

First of all, the Unit contains a great introduction to Chinese New Year – its history and traditions. It is really enough to give the children a proper introduction to this holiday and leave them interested and excited about upcoming activities.

The Unit starts with sight words related to this holiday, continues with counting, goes onto mazes and words scrambles; and ends with a fun activity on making a Chinese red envelo

I liked that the material can be easily adjusted to different age groups and levels of math and literacy. E.g. in counting part while suggested to count the blossoms by ten, for younger children it can be changed to counting blossoms by a number of branches (hence, the teacher/parent needs to just change the numbers).

And in the part of where the sight words are introduced, instead of learning to spell and memorize them, younger children can just use the first letter/phonic for recognition.

Another wonderful thing about this particular Unit is that it doesn’t really have to be used for just Chinese New Year time. It can be used throughout the year and adjusted according to one’s needs. It introduces an essence of China and will be a great hit with kids any time of the year!

The Year of the Monkey Door Decoration Printable

Monkey Printable title image 1
As I mentioned so many times before, Chinese New Year in China is a huge deal. It is also a big deal for many countries where Chinese population is rapidly growing.
This year Kid Blogger Network bloggers have joined up again to bring you some fun ideas with our Chinese New Year Blog Hop!
Today I am sharing with you beautiful printable door decoration for the Year of the Monkey which you can print out and hang outside your door, or anywhere in your house. You can also choose to print it out in black and white and decoration with your children.
Please click on the image below to open a .pdf file and download your printable!
PDF snapshot
I would also like to take a moment and summer up all the post I have so far shared with you for this wonderful Festival! Living in China and avoiding Chinese New Year is pretty much impossible. But even then – besides the crazy fireworks – who wants to avoid it??? It is so beautiful and brings people together!
So, here are my all-time posts on Chinese New Year!
I wish you a happy Chinese New Year / Spring Festival / Lunar New Year!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Hong Bao La Lai!

cny blog hop 2016 vertical
Please join us in this blog hop hosted by Peakle Pie and link your favorite blog posts dedicated to Chinese New Year!
Below is the list of all the blogs that participated!
the gingerbread house shared a cute Chinese New Year paper plate monkey
KiddyCharts shared these wonderful Dragon colouring pages
Kelly’s Classroom shared a brilliant Year of the Monkey Coloring Sheet
Peakle Pie shared a striking Red Monkey Mask
Witty Hoots shared these colourful Chinese New Year Lucky Fish
Kidz Activities shared this awesome Monkey Paper Bag Puppet
Creative World of Varya shared this adorable Year of the Monkey Door Hanger
Mama Smiles shared some favourite Monkey Picture Books
In The Playroom a musical Chinese New Year Shaker Craft
Play & Learn Everyday shared these festive Chinese New Year Mini Lanterns
Simple Fun for Kids shared a great game with Chinese New Year I Spy Game


Popular Gift Ideas for Chinese New Year

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Photo credit - Jan Stowers

Every year I try to write a post dedicated to a very special holiday in a country where we live – China.

Chinese New Year (also known as CNY, Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) and it comes in many colors, decorations, celebrations and, of course, money spent on new clothes and gifts.

It so happens that the vacation that follows CNY is usually one of the longest for working people and it is time to get together with family and old friends.

Many expats will traveling home for this time and so I decided to share a list of most popular items people  buy to take back home.

1. Everything related to tea: actual tea, tea sets, tea pets. You can get those in many places, but do ask your local friend if there is a good tea market in the area – they sell at wholesale prices and you might be able to find items that are not available in stores.

Note: Good Chinese tea packed in a beautiful box would make a great present to your local friends or colleagues!

2. Chinese silk. Everything from scarves, to qi-pao, to tablecloths, to shirts. The silk is not always natural but the designs are gorgeous and popular abroad.

3. Jewelry. I am not talking gold. I am talking local beaded necklaces, earrings, real and fake pearls; and real and fake jade. Small pendants shaped like Zodiac animals fall into this category, as well as the phone and key chains with translucent jade.

4. Bags. Chinese have come up with tons of own brands as well as fake designers stuff. It is hard to miss them in the markers and getting a Coach for 20 USD would definitely make you suspicious about the authenticity.

Note: I would personally advise against buying fake designers stuff if you are going back to Europe and North America since border control just might confiscate them and make you pay a fine.

5. Chinese name stamps. Those are made in a lot of markets. They can be fairly cheap and they are hugely popular.

6. Other gift items: chopsticks, fans, Chinese knots, famous quotes carved on wood or painted on canvas, small paintings on thin paper with traditional designs (double fish, flowers, nature and more).

If you are getting parents for your local friends, avoid getting clocks, knives and such. Best gifts to bring to your local friends home for Chinese New Year are fruit, tea, flowers and Western baked goods!

These are about all that I have managed to gather. There were lots more suggestions from my friends but I will let you add to the list!

Five Things to Do With Kids in Zhuhai {Around the World in 30 Days}

zhuhai things to doSince I live in China, I take every opportunity to share things about our life here. This month I am participating in a series called Around the World in 30 Days hosted by Cutting Tiny Bites – a series intended for younger children (but suitable for kindy children!)
I have previously wrote about living in Zhuhai – a city in Guangdong province that is in the South of China. Today I’d like to share with you Five Things you can do with your children in our city!
1. Visit all the marvelous parks and enjoy running around, getting on the rides and having a picnic in the shade of the trees. Most popular parks are Haibin Gongyuan (Waterfront park), Bailiangdong Gongyuan (White Lotus park) and Yuan Ming Xin Yuan (New Yuan Ming Palace). There are many more out there but these 3 are the most central and familiar. In Yuan Ming Xin Yuan there is also a swimming pool with various water rides. And in Bailiangdong Gongyuan one can take a hike up the mountain till a small Buddhist temple and ring a bell for luck there.
2. Take a stroll on Lover’s Road, all the way to the Yeli Dao (Fox Island) and take a ride on the family bikes. Lover’s Road stretches for hundreds of kilometers along the seaside and every now and then you can hire these bikes.

bike

3. Visit various indoor playgrounds. The ones we and our friends frequent are in Jida malls, in a shop called Baby Love Island; one in Jusco (known as Yang Ming Guang Cheng or Aeon); Yuyuto in Huafa Shandu (Huafa Mall); Lego Land in Huafa Century City; Tong Yi playground in Huafa Century city. There are MANY more. And they are not free! However, you can opt to buy a membership card – there are many schemes that give you offers with reduced price.
4. Visit Chimelong Ocean Kingdom (Chang Long). It is a big amusement park that has dozens of sea creatures living in a huge aquarium. There are also various rides, restaurants and shows that you can attend at certain hours. It is quite far away and it is a whole day trip, but really worth seeing especially if you don’t have an easy access to such places.

ocean

5. In hot season – hit the pools! A lot of compounds offer free pools to those who live there. Plus, there are various pools all over the city with various charges per person per time. 
In colder season  – try various outdoor playgrounds. There is a big one at the Haibin Yong Cheng (Haibin beach) and there is a coffee shop right next to it. Another one is located close to a community called Jida Hao Yuan – it is a playground with exercise machines intended for senior citizens.
And in the evenings – go out around 8 pm and follow people to a big open area near where you are staying – you can see them dancing in lines and in pairs. So much fun!
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Join us and follow the series in June 2015 – travel to a new country every day and learn about it, make a craft, a dish or simply see what fun things you can do there!
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