George, a China’s German son-in-law: Our children’s native language is Chinese

At 7 o’clock in the morning, driving from home in Changping (a surburb area in Beijing) to the downtown, George first sends his children to the nursery school, then his wife to work and finally reaches his company near Jiuxianqiao and begins a busy day of work. After work, he goes to pick his children together with his wife and then drives 65 kms back to their home in the suburb. It is already 8 o’clock in the evening. It seems George Hoffman’s life has no much difference with many other office workers in Beijing.

George, a China’s German son-in-law: Now, our children’s native language is Chinese

Ten years ago, as luck would have it, George got a job in China branch of one German health and rehabilitation enterprise. So he came to Beijing from Germany, while his brother was also working there. Under his brother’s guidance, George has adapted to Chinese lifestyle quickly.

Even so, George came across a big problem that is the Chinese language. He spent two whole years on learning Chinese, in order to cope with his living in Beijing, but he can’t read and write Chinese texts. His Chinese wife becomes his “interpreter” when he sees any Chinese characters. Talking about his wife and family, George shows a speech full of happiness. He told, “At the beginning she helped me a lot, such as booking tickets for me etc. So I invited her for dinner to say thank you. Later we slowly get to know each other.” Four years later, they got married. Now George has a pair of lovely children. Like many parents, he sets his children’s pictures as WeChat avatar.

George, a China’s German son-in-law: Now, our children’s native language is Chinese

George is on business trip during his most working time. As technical director in China and Philippines branch, he is not only in charge of product designing, also travels frequently to other areas to conduct technician training and assists patients in rehabilitation training.

In spite of the busy work, George tries to spare some time to play with his children. They together set up the toy train track, play puzzles and games. Many of George’s leisure-time activities are carried out with children. He and his wife take them to the parks, to do swimming, horse riding, to watch the shadow plays and to listen to music. “Now the children’s native language is Chinese, and they also speak German and English. I hope they can lay a firm foundation in Chinese reading and writing in the future.”, said Geroge.

George, a China’s German son-in-law: Now, our children’s native language is Chinese

Two years ago, George and his wife moved from downtown to the mountain area in Changping. Although it takes a lot of time to work every day, they enjoy very much the fresh air there.

When it comes to their “large wooden house”, George said with a look of pride, “The house is our own design. No matter where we move to we will not sell it. Even though we will not live in Beijing later, I hope there is a home every time we come back.”

George, a China’s German son-in-law: Now, our children’s native language is Chinese

Having been to Beijing for ten years, George is delighted and worried when talking about the changes of this city. “The construction speed in Beijing is really fast, and Beijing is getting more and more clean and organized. There are more and more places for shopping. At the same time, some traditional elements are vanishing due to the lack of protection, but now it is gradually recovering, that is a good part. There are lots of traditional things in Germany, such as some music which have been spread for more than three hundred years, and we still love it very much. People should learn the value of their own traditions and cherish them.”

Happy 2015 Chinese New Year – Year of Goat!

Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name.

Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year’s Eve, the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month, making the festival the longest in the Chinese calendar. It falls on February 19th in 2015.

2015 Chinese New Year - Year of Goat

5 Traditions to be followed during Chinese Spring Festival:

No.1 “Săo chén” – Sweep the dust

"Săo chén" - Sweeping the dustIn Mandarin, “chén”(dust) and “chén”(old) share the same pronunciation. Sweeping the dust during the Spring Festival has become an old custom, indicating “sweeping away the bad luck and welcoming the new beginning”.

 

No.2 “Shǒu suì” – Stay up all night on New Year’s Eve

"Shǒu suì" - Staying up all late on New Year's EveShǒu suì is the most important activity on Chinese New Year’s Eve when all the family members reunite together, have a superb dinner and stay up all night to greet the arrival of the Chinese New Year. Around the countdown moment, most families would set off firecrackers.

 

No.3 “Bài nián” – Make New Year greetings

"Bài nián" - Make New Year greetings

During the whole festive period, Chinese people will visit the elders, relatives and friends. Before entering their houses, everybody shall make new year greetings, with the hands in gesture as above. The most common greetings are “Xīnnián Hăo” (Happy New Year), “Shēntǐ Jiànkāng” (In good health), “Wànshì Rúyì” (All the best)…

 

No.4 “Tiē Chūnlián” – Put up Spring Festival couplets on the doors

"Tiē Chūnlián" - Put up spring couplets on the doorsThis tradition dates back to the Chinese ancient ritual. The couplets are considered as the protection against evil spirits and the invitation to auspicious gods to home.

 

No.5 “Hóngbāo/Yāsuìqián” – Red envelope/Lucky money

"Hóngbāo/Yāsuìqián" - Red envelopeIn ancient time, Chinese people thought that kids are easy to get disturbed by ghosts. Since “suì”(ghost) has the same spelling as “suì”(year). Therefore, when the younger make new year greetings to the elder during the spring festival, the elder shall put certain amount of “Yāsuìqián” in the “Hóngbāo” and gift to the younger so that they can have a safe and lucky new year.