“Chun jie kuai le!” or “Hey ya’ll, watch this”

“Chun jie kuai le!” means “Happy Spring Festival!”

Spring Festival is the most important holiday in China. (Spring Festival = Chinese New Year = Lunar New Year) Very much like Christmas in the US. It is a time for family reunions, celebrations, and vacation. Pretty much the whole country shuts down and heads home (to wherever they grew up or their family lives now). It makes for a really interesting experience for foreigners as the cities empty out and the party begins.

In case of destroy by fireworks

On Monday night, the hubby and I were headed out to dinner and we noticed this sign posted in the elevator.
Who doesn’t love some good chinglish? Make sure you move that car.

The fireworks had already been going off for several days. All hours of the day. I still haven’t figured out the point of shooting fireworks in the middle of the day. But they do it. 6 am… 8 am… noon… midnight… Literally all day long.

New Year Firecrackers

These were given to some friends by their driver. We don’t know for sure, but I’d guess this particular 2000 round set of crackers cost a few yuan (probably less than $1). They don’t have restrictions here on who can buy fireworks. They sell any kind to any one. Huge boxes that would only be sold to professionals in the US are readily available here.

Wednesday was “New Years Eve”. We’d already been warned that there was no way you’d get any sleep until at least 1 am. And that’s if you’re a heavy sleeper.

Fireworks for Spring Festival

Turns out that was a huge understatement.

Fireworks line the street

This is the street right outside our apartment. Taken from our bedroom window. They started laying them out around 10 p.m. These boxes were huge, and they had dozens of them. Traffic just drove around them.

**Note: it is 2 days after the New Year as I’m writing this… and I literally just jumped out of my skin as ANOTHER firecracker went off just outside our window. I feel like I’m in the middle of a war zone.**

Celebrating Spring Festival

Our apartment is on the 11th floor. Turns out that’s right at explosion height for most fireworks. It was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. You can’t even imagine.

But maybe this will give you an idea.

This went on for a solid hour and a half non-stop.

Across the whole city.

Did you notice the guy walking down the middle of the street? And the cars driving by right at the the base of the fireworks? Safety is really an afterthought around here.

**Ok. This is getting really annoying. We’ve now just had to pause the movie for the 6th time because we can’t hear over them.**

Can you imagine the aftermath of such an explosion?

The aftermath of the Chinese festival

Well, it was just as amazing…


China Life: Things you don’t see in America

As you can imagine, there are a lot of things around here that are just different than we’re used to. We got here expecting things to be different. I think it’s important when you move to a foreign country to not expect it be like home. They are going to do things differently. And rather than let it bother me, I try to enjoy noticing the differences. Most of them, I find very amusing anyway.

Like this, for example.

Lost in translation

Our apartment was unfurnished when we moved in, but the owner had left behind a few things. Most are useful and we appreciated not having to buy them. Things such as the appliances, iron, and mops and brooms, etc. However, this was left behind also.

Now I’m not sure whether this was purposely left here for us to use, or rather falls into the category of something the previous renters just didn’t want to pack. I’m guessing its the latter. At least, I would hope so.


Now, obviously it’s a trashcan. At least I’m guessing. But what is it really used for? It’s only 6 inches tall! Seriously, you can only fit like two tissues in this thing. You’d have to go empty it every other time you put something in. And if you’re going to do that, why not just walk to the bigger trashcan in the first place?

(And don’t get me started on the “bigger” trashcan. The biggest one you can find around here is the size that we normally use in a bathroom. Apparently they don’t produce much trash here, or else they take it out every day. Haven’t quite figure out how to “do as the Romans do” in this case.)

And did you notice the text? …it’s in English! (When you are surrounded by characters you can’t read, this is very exciting.) At first I thought “Great! They’re going to explain how I’m supposed to use this thing.” But wait… when you get a little closer…

It is refinement life

What IN THE WORLD does that MEAN?

Is that supposed to be English? That is not the English I speak. I mean I can read the words individually, but put them all together and… huh? Around here, we like to call it Chinglish. It’s when someone takes text in Chinese, and just directly translates it into English words without paying much attention to meaning.

Can you figure out what this is supposed to mean? If you do, PLEASE let me know. I’ve been racking my brain since we got here. Still have no idea.

This will forever be what comes to mind when I hear someone say “lost in translation”.