This year several bloggers from Multicultural Kid Blogs Community have again gathered to commemorate Asia-Pacific American Heritage Month. While some of us don’t live in the US or not from there, we either have an Asian-Pacific background or reside in the region.
Last year I shared with you a bit of my family’s background. And you do know I have been living in China for the past 14 years. Today I would like to honour Asian-Pacific heritage by sharing you a story – my China story.
Some time in 2001 I had a dear friend moving to China and telling me what an exciting place it was. She kept calling me and convincing that I should try and come here for at least a year. So I applied to various schools and long story short – I received an invitation to work for an educational company that published books (Little Dragon American English – the program that unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore), and sent teachers to kindergartens to teach.
I remember how I felt going to the Chinese Embassy, getting my visa, getting my flight ticket and getting help from a bunch of supportive friends.
I remember landing in Chengdu, the first city I lived in. It was a little cold (end of November), but not the cold I was used to: it was humid and the cold would reach down to the depth of my bones and joints. Friends used to take us sometimes to local restaurants where I couldn’t eat the food: it was so full of chilli pepper that my mouth burnt for days if I ate at least something. Just as generous they were and treated us, they also soon understood my misery and would always order extra dishes for me that had no spices in them. They also took great interest in how everything was for me and one family used to invite me often to dinners at their house. They treated me with love and respect and made sure I was as comfortable as possible. This is how I first learned about big hearts Chinese have.
I spent 3 months in Chengdu and then I moved onto Shenzhen – a big city in the South of China. It was the first time I tried sweet & sour sauce they made lots of food with. I really enjoyed living in Shenzhen- I made lovely friends and I worked in 2 beautiful kindergartens.
Harbin – a city in Heilongjiang. I lived there for a year teaching in kindergartens and learning the basics of Chinese language. Harbin belonged to Russia for a short period of time and since it is very close to Russian border in Far East, there are lots of Russians there working and studying and you can find Russian food and many older people still speak Russian pretty well!!!
My next city for a year and a half was Qingdao. I will always hold dear the time I spent in this coastal city. It is by far my most favorite city in China! The climate is not too humid, not too dry. The winter is also not too cold. But there is some mild snow. The city used to belong to Germany for a very short time and there is an older part of the city where you can find buildings built in Gothic style and the streets paved with stones. Beautiful!
After Qingdao I moved to Beijing. It was a city with a special character (which is not there much anymore – the city is still beautiful but the older structures have been replaced with new, modern and shiny ones). Beijing will always be special to me as that’s where my husband and I got married!
So, once I was done with my contract, I moved to Zhuhai, where I am residing now and where we are bringing up our 3 children. I have written about Zhuhai when participated in Neighbourhoods around the World Series.
So that’s just a summary.
What have I learned so far about Chinese people? I believe Chinese people have very open hearts. They will treat you with love and respect as long as you are true and honest with them. I can’t say I have never encountered anyone here who is completely the opposite of what I said above. But overall and vast majority of people I met were kind and helpful. Even our best friends, people whom we can trust with all our lives, are Chinese.
This doesn’t really change when Chinese move abroad: they still follow their cultural trends, they try their best to bring children up with dignity and patience. Most of Chinese I know are hard-working people and very persistent in achieving their goals.
I am grateful for China has brought me lots of experience, both professional and personal, and since this is where my family was born, it will always hold dear in my heart.
Multicultural Kid Blogs is excited to announce our second annual Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series and Giveaway! See our main page for a full schedule, and be sure to enter the amazing giveaway below!
The giveaway starts Monday, May 4 and goes through Monday, June 1. Enter for a chance to win one of these amazing prizes!
Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.
Grand Prize Package
Personal Tea Ceremony Gift Set from Gift a Feast
Includes everything you need to prepare and enjoy matcha, the tea served in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Enjoy being part of the journey of matcha tea from the temples of 12th century Buddhist monks to today! US shipping only
Calin Yang Doll from Pattycake Doll Company
For the parents of Multicultural, Biracial, Black or Asian children, finding that perfect doll used to be a challenge. But today all that has changed. Pattycake Doll Company is the recognized source for Black, Asian, Hispanic, Biracial, and Multicultural Dolls as well as Dolls for Boys, and donate 10% of profits to children’s charities. This month’s contest winner will receive the most popular Asian Baby Doll in the world – Calin Yang by Corolle.
Asian Kites from Tuttle Publishing
Kids will learn how to make colorful kites while exploring Asian culture and history with this easy-to-follow crafts for kids book.
All About Japan from Tuttle Publishing
2012 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award Winner! A cultural adventure for kids, All About Japan offers a journey to a new place—and ways to bring it to life! Dive into stories, play some games from Japan, learn some Japanese songs.
Hello, Bali from Kids Yoga Stories
Say good day to the magical island of Bali through these energizing yoga poses for kids. Join one of the Yoga Kids, Anamika, as you surf like a surfer, dance like a Balinese dancer, and sit like a monkey. Included is a list of Kids Yoga Poses, Basic Indonesian phrases, and a Parent-Teacher Guide with tips on creating a successful yoga experience.
1st Prize Package
The 1st Prize Package includes:
Udon Noodle Bowls from Uncommon Goods
Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or lounging on the couch, this creation is ideal for udon, soup or stir-fry. A blend of a mug and a bowl, the handmade piece is contoured to fit snugly in the palm of your hand. Black lacquer bamboo chopsticks included. US Shipping only
Japanese House Architectural Blocks Set from HABA
One of the oldest cultures in the world also has one of the most beautiful forms of architecture. Complicated multi-tier roofs and ornate pagodas allow the builder to create temples, palaces or calming formal gardens. With this set your child can take their imagination on a trip to Japan in the safety of their own living room. US/Canada Shipping Only
All About Indonesia from Tuttle Publishing
A book for children that takes them on an adventure through one of the world’s largest and most culturally diverse countries. Along the way, kids are introduced to Indonesian culture and history, the food, the language, and the natural beauty of this fascinating country!
Fun with Asian Food from Tuttle Publishing
This Asian cookbook for kids contains fun and easy recipes that children will love to cook and dishes that even the pickiest eaters will savor!
Indian Children’s Favorite Stories from Tuttle Publishing
This colorfully illustrated multicultural children’s book presents Indian fairy tales and other folk stories—providing insight into a rich literary culture.
2nd Prize Package
The 2nd Prize Package includes:
Sushi Slicing Play Set from Melissa & Doug
This elegant 24-piece wooden sushi play-food set is packed in a beautiful storage box and includes sliceable sushi rolls, shrimp, tuna, easy-use chopsticks, a cleaver and more. Sushi rolls make realistic chopping sounds when sliced! US/Canada Shipping Only
Countryside from Kevin So
An album filled with “heartfelt great songs, great singing and great playing…simply something you’ll love if you’re a fan of originality, melody, surprising lyrics and beautiful instrumentation, beautifully played.” Learn more about this artist and listen to samples of his work here.
Book from the Maui New Zealand series from Global Kids Oz
Enjoy a book of from this collection of New Zealand Maori Myths and Legends that every New Zealand child is brought up with in school!
Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella from Lee & Low
In the first English retelling of this ancient Cambodian tale, our heroine goes further, survives more, and has to conquer her own mortality to regain her rightful place. Angkat—child of ashes—endures great wrongs as she seeks to rise above the distresses caused by her own family. US Shipping only
Summoning the Phoenix: Poems and Prose About Chinese Musical Instruments from Lee & Low
Including both flights of fancy and practical considerations, lively poems capture each child’s musical experience with a different Chinese instrument, while sidebars provide more information about each one. US Shipping only
Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story from Lee & Low
The incredible true story of the first Asian American to win an Olympic gold medal. Winner of Lee & Low’s New Voices Award. US Shipping only
Juna’s Jar from Lee & Low
When her best friend moves away, Juna sets out to search for him with the help of a special jar. What Juna finds is that adventure—and new friends—can be found in the most unexpected places. US Shipping only
A Place Where Sunflowers Grow from Lee & Low
A powerful story of hope, recounting the little known tale of the art schools that offered moments of solace and self-expression to Japanese Americans in the US internment camps of World War II. US Shipping only