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  • Writer's pictureAnja

Wedding planning Level China

You have waited long enough for our next sign of life.

And I always wait until something exciting happens that I can tell you about :)

Finally my first SUP course

I got my first request for a SUP beginner course. That's why I started to check where here in Changchun are good entry points that are beginner-friendly and easy to reach by car. There is a lot of water in the city, but not every stream/river/lake is suitable, or it's hard to get there by car because it's a park, or it's not allowed. I can't read the signs anyway... But I can understand a "Don't touch water" sign. However, it is a matter of interpretation whether you touch the water while SUPing or not ;)


At the end of May, Denny and I were invited to Noelle's graduation. (Noelle is the daughter of a colleague of Denny's.) This is comparable to the graduation and ceremonial presentation of certificates in Germany. Here, an event hall was rented in a hotel, a buffet set up and an afternoon/evening programme planned. 13 students received their certificates, each gave a 2 minute speech and were applauded by the family members. Some of the students were so moved that it was really difficult for them to finish their speech. Afterwards, it was read out which universities the students would be going to. Everything from Germany to Spain, Australia and Canada was there.

After the official part, the buffet was opened. Even before that, some couldn't stand it and were already nibbling before the release... While everyone was serving themselves at the buffet, the students' performances were taking place. That is, while everyone is either outside at the buffet, chattering away, returning to the table, or eating smack, the students were on stage and were almost ignored. For me, that was really strange. The students had thought about what they wanted to perform (including a magic show), rehearsed it and then there was neither attention nor much applause. When asked by experienced expats, they say: "that's the way it is here, it's Chinese". I really wonder. Is it really the case here in China that only academic performance counts? That only the best university is good enough? That children or pupils are virtually drilled to learn things by heart and that their creativity is left no room? And if the child does become creative or wants to be creative, this is not rewarded? I find that really sad. I realise how much I can live out my creativity here and am happy about the opportunity.

Let's continue with the evening. After the first part was not very exciting for "non" parents, but the buffet brought relief, we waited for the next item on the agenda. The agenda ended after the "Students performance". Besides the magic show, some Chinese students also had a kind of karaoke performance. This is all the rage here in China. EVERYONE is into karaoke here. Dieter Bohlen would have a field day. Or not...

Well, who can guess which song it is?

In the hope that there would be dancing later, Denny and I had already laced up our dancing shoes. But no luck. No dance floor. Only when the first students and their mothers started dancing on the carpet did things get a bit lively. In the end it was a really nice afternoon and evening.

Our first western package

Just in time for Children's Day on 1 June, our first West parcel arrived. It was lovingly packed by my mum Ute with all the things we wanted. Among other things, two kites, Nimm2 and bread baking mixes. However, two bags of baking mix didn't survive the transport, so the flour trickled out of our package. There was flour in every corner. At first we thought about whether this was to prevent customs from opening our parcel.... By the way, Mum had put the sweets in the parcel individually and not in the bag.

That was a very exciting unpacking and afterwards we had to mop our living room....

BUT the parcels arrive and we think that's great. And Yuri too:

Yuri at the vet

In the first week of June, we also had our male cat neutered. Since everything is different here in China, I had to get used to the Chinese vets first.

On the positive side: they really take their time (perhaps this is also due to the language barrier, everything has to be translated laboriously with an app).

Unusual for me: open treatment rooms. I mean, the cat isn't standing there in a shirt, but somehow it's strange for me when my animal is being treated that someone else marches into the room and asks the doctor questions about his animal. And the doctor answers calmly instead of sending the owner to the waiting room. Moreover, if the other owner finds your own animal interesting, he just sits down and watches or asks you about your WeChat contact. So no privacy with animals either. Yuri survived the castration well. He just found the funnel really stupid and ran into everything with it.

Denny's SUP is broken

After I had already done the spot inspection for my upcoming SUP class at the end of May, I had my first student at the beginning of June. Also an expat companion. While pumping up the SUPs, we discovered that Denny's SUP was whistling. Well, at least we heard it on land and didn't notice it on the water. But how do you train with only one SUP? Luckily, the spot was well chosen. We had a very long jetty where I could go up and down and instruct my student almost normally. At the end, the final round so to speak, I went on the SUP with her. Both of us are only delicate people and the SUP can take loads of up to 150kg, which is nowhere near what we can do! It went really well and my student was thrilled.

Is our wedding cancelled?

Then we didn't get such great news in the same week, i.e. at the beginning of June:

Our wedding hotel in the Harz is renovating and can't host our wedding. Planned reopening spring 2023!!!

Denny and I didn't know what to say or even feel at first. Just completely empty and speechless. After the Harzschloss is now the second location and the date has been postponed for the third time, this was news we really don't need. Especially not here in China. You can't just fly to Germany and look for a new hotel.

A postponement to spring 2023 was out of the question for us! So what to do?

The first thing we did was to contact our wedding planner. Man, how lucky we are to have him.

I then spent a week researching. Over the internet. Rating, enquiring and ranking hotels via the internet. What a job. All in all, I wrote to about 70 locations. The date really isn't that long away now, 13 weeks only. And since Corona has cancelled so many weddings, the chance that a great location, the kind we want and imagine, will still have our date available is really not easy to find. It's clear that a lot of people have turned us down. I also asked for the idea of changing both the location and the date again in the emails.

In the meantime, a few favourites have emerged. In cooperation with our Harz hotel, we also received a few tips.

Should you, dear wedding guests, now get gasps:

1. we know it, we had it too 2. never mind, we'll manage and 3. it's going to be great and we're looking forward to seeing you.

Very important!

The date stays the same. You'll just get another address. And we'll send it to you, I promise.

Now it's time to relax

This week we have a holiday. Besides all the administrative things, we also have time for great things. We've been out and about with our roof tent again and when the weather is nice we go on day trips to the lake, take care of Denny's suit and go e-longboarding. We also got the new car at the beginning of June.

What we always notice when we leave the city: it's like a small leap in time every time. In the village, time has stood still. But I don't know what year it is, in any case before I was born!

The people, I would say almost exclusively farmers, live here in houses that have electricity but certainly no running water. We don't think there are any gas pipes or anything either. In the evening there is always the smell of a fire or a chimney. Denny's guess is that they cook on one of those multi-purpose cookers, the kind with a hot plate. We also watched the farmers spreading their maize over time. Unfortunately we don't have any photos of this. We did not dare to take photos of the people.

  1. the fields are dug by hand or at most with a tiny motorised harrow, so that individual rows are created like in the asparagus field, only smaller. (the power harrow can be used universally, both for digging and for pulling a trailer or driving a boat).

  2. then the maize grains are planted in the rows of mounds. One at a time! Each kernel is planted into the soil, either with some kind of jackhammer or something like a walk-learn-push scooter.

  3. Then weeds are diligently pulled or weeds are fought with canisters and irrigation apparatus. Of course, everything is done by hand and on foot.

Yesterday evening, many people were out and about in the villages and met to dance. We don't know what exactly was danced.

What is our terrace doing?

And my garden project is finally finished. Well, a bit of decoration is still missing, but I think it's good. And Denny sat with me on the stairs the other day and said:

"It's really great, I wouldn't have imagined it like this."

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

And here again the comparison:



Imagine some more fairy dust on it please :)

Updates and photos from the birthday

  • Our flat is still not rented. So if you know someone who would like to live in Stöckheim for a while. Please get in touch with us.

  • Denny his great Skoda is looking for a new owner

Greetings and love

Anja & Denny

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