Dating my posts – Anqing

10 02 2011

No, I am not that lonely that I have decided to go out with my blog 😉

Quite the opposite: I have been so busy I did not manage to post all the special things that happened to me and that I experienced especially about Chinese traditions and cultures!!!

Since I want to share with my friends and random readers in a sort of proper order, I postdated the posts, and here it is a wrap up.. starting from the Anqing days!!

Click and enjoy! 🙂

2010-02-03, 初一 (chū yī): Welcoming 2011
2010-02-04: Chinese Spring and CNY holidays in Anqing

Are you a foreigner?

9 02 2011

2 amazing funny encounters during these holidays:

On the train to Anqing a university girl really wanted to start a conversation in English with me. So she came over and asked me:

Are you a foreigner?

After few seconds of surprised I broke into laugh!! And I asked her:

Do I look like a Chinese to you????

..but she did not understand the funny situation and the incredible silly question she asked me..

And then I went my way to Bengbu to visit my friend and colleague Yuming. Like Anqing, not many foreigners around Bengbu (even if I know and met 2 american teachers and I know there are a few more). One day we took a taxi and the driver asked my friend if I was from..


Do I look I am from Pakistan to.. anyone?????

Last sun of 2010..

4 02 2011

..Chinese year 2010 was going down..

I took the picture on the train to Anqing where I spent a really good couple of days with 潘蕾’s family..

More words and pictures soon.. I had some uploading troubles..


CNY holidays in Anqing

4 02 2011

The trip by train to Anqing took forever: the train due to 16:45 arrived around 18 stopping on the way in villages with only a sign written on a post and nobody getting in or out. I have my doubts the doors were actually opening. PanLei told me afterwards that the train is “famous” for being so late.. but there was no other option.  During spring festival holidays there were tons of people moving, but the funny thing is that I got a standing ticket in an empty train!! Good for me, there was really no one or almost. So I could sit all the way.

From the first moment I arrived in Anqing, Pan Lei and her family made me feel extremely comfortable, even if I do not understand Chinese and most of them could not speak English. Good translation practice for Pan Lei too 🙂

Also from the first day to the last I enjoyed great food, drinks and company! A very traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, indeed!

Pan Lei calligraphyAmong the other great things I visited the house where 潘蕾 grew up and the father’s factory where he is actually building a new section where the family will move in the close future. Great weather those days, the kind of blue cloudless sky that we had in Hefei almost all December and January.

The same comfortable weather was also during the New Year night, making ever better the walk from Pan Lei’s relatives to the center of Anqing, to the nice area along Yangtze river.

Along the way Pan Lei, her cool cousin and I played with different fireworks, and enjoyed all the others playing as well. And then at the pagoda the real show started with great fireworks.. and extremely noisy firecrackers!!

Pagoda, fireworks and walk along Yangtze river

Along to many traditions similar to Western ones for “our” New Year (or better, for a good start of the new year) during these days I experienced more Chinese traditions. The first day of the year one of Pan Lei’s uncle that is 36 years old (therefore his animal is the rabbit, year 2011) was not allowed to go out of the house and even meet the other people coming into his house. Other Chinese friends told me this is a quite local tradition.

Days that I will remember for sure and a spectacular show much better than the first time I saw it, probably because this time I completely shared it with Chinese people, and one in particular very close to me..

CNY in Anqing

Chinese spring

4 02 2011

4th of February was the first day of spring, 立春 lìchūn, according to Chinese calendar: today at 12:35 it was a tradition firecrackers (the one exploding with no light effects but with enough noise to be heard far away) were fired by 潘蕾’s grandfather.

These few days in Anqing, 安庆, have been very special: I learned a lot about Chinese traditions and I had a wonderful time with 潘蕾 family. They all welcomed me and made me feel like not so different, sharing the most special Chinese festivity.

CNY in Anqing

So the Chinese spring day was also my last day in Anqing and I managed to meet more of Pan Lei’s family, more babies to play with with and another great lunch.

Welcoming 2011

3 02 2011

A tradition is to fire firecrackers early in the morning, like 6am, of the first day of the year, called 初一 (chū yī).

I was in the bed in Anqing and I took this video just to give an idea about the sound..

CNY in AnqingOf course at midnight the celebrations had been more common also at the eyes of us Western people, especially after that historically the fireworks were brought to Europe from.. China!

The wonderful location of the new year midnight celebrations is the Anqing tower temple (or pagoda) called Zhèn fēng. But entering the tower and the temple had been a challenge. I think I was praying not for a good year but just to survive the night!! 🙂

Quite cool at midnight when 2 other traditions took place in the temple:

  • in the main temple room there was a typical huge bronze bell that at midnight was struck with the solid wood  horizontal pool, with several people vigorously oscillating it from side to side, putting all their body on the pole and more people trying to get on that
  • at the same time all the other people present in the room starts throwing coins at the bell, other traditions for good luck in the year to come

CNY in Anqing
Let’s just say it was a challenge to breath in the room at midnight!!!

Happy Chinese New Year!!!!

3 02 2011

新年快乐!!!! Xīn nián kuài lè!!!!
Happy New Year!!!!

happy new chinese year


me and Ting TingRight now I am in Anqing, Veronika’s home town, celebrating new year with her family. Like the first time I came to China I get again the chance to live the New Year tradition with a special family environment. Always the best way for me to experience places and people and traditions!

Today it starts the year of the rabbit.. but I do not want to be a rabbit and run away from this sometimes scary new life!

I had a blue day, not the first, not the last that my frustration need an escape valve. I always knew it would have not been an easy experience. Sometimes it goes very well and I forget it. I must not expect too much from myself, especially at work: if normally it takes some time to find your own place in a new company, I must give myself more time over here.

And just a couple of days ago I have received a bonus and a positive year evaluation from my managers… probably they are more positive about me than.. me.. as usual!!

So, my dear friends and readers out there, even if you stumbled by pure chance on this blog today, since I am sure I am enjoying great Chinese food, I want to wish you happy new year in a special (food) way.. with wonderful memory from marzipan Easter rabbits!!! And memories of friends, babies and all that matters!!! So, to all of you:

Best wishes for the year of the rabbit!!

marzipan easter rabbits

新年快乐!!!! Xīn nián kuài lè!!!!
Happy New Year!!!!