Healthy Language learner issues

If you’ve ever lived in Korea or heard about Korean food, you’ll know the importance of Samjang, Korean soybean paste. I call it my happy ingredient. So I bought the ‘MSG Free’ (see photo) from Carrefour last week. Uhm, and then of course these days I’ve taken interest in the food labels. Well…. I can’t read Chinese. I took a photo of the nutrition info, sent it to a Chinese friend and ask for a translation of the words.

Friends first reply: From top to bottom, energy, protein, fat, carbohydrates and sodium/natrium. And bang! See, see, it’s a lie! It contains salt. Damn! All these hidden salts and sugars make me sick. How the hell? Fine, okay calm down. Mhm let it be. I thanked the Chinese speaker and moved on. 

But here’s the come back.

 Friend replies a few minutes later saying, I think you should’ve known these Chinese words. Lol.

(First frown on my face) 

I replied: I can’t read or  write Chinese. 

Friend’s reply: I think you were learning Chinese before you left BJ. (I lived in Beijing from 2015-2016). 

Okay come on! Cut me some slack here! And as a beginner learner I’m supposed to know these words? And recognise the characters? 

My final reply: (after being upset) 1 sad face and 2 smileys. There’s nothing that an emoji can’t fix, it’s the futuristic way of communication and the best way to express your confused, hidden emotions. I need one here right now.

Then I said to myself, Char, he has a point, a very valid point. Yes, I was motivated then but I got distracted and stopped. I felt pressured by  my Chinese tutor yet now I miss her. Right now I’m at a different place, better environment and I have my motivation back. Ive studied this, I teach this! Learning a language takes practice, consistency, personal motivation and good guidance. No matter who says what! 

A few weeks ago I discovered a new method that I’m going to share here, (many probably know it already) that I’d like to experiment with. I returned from my summer vacation a short while back and on my long plane ride it was one of the things I wanted to do in my new year. So here goes! 

But the universe – the universe is a master at sending signs. Cause I’ve been slacking. I took the books out and every day it’s on the table looking at me. 

So now it has taken a painful innocent insult for me to bounce back. 

Thank you universe.

Until next time…

#practicewhatyoupreach #juststart #noneedtowait #nomoreexcuses #makeithappen 


But first let’s express gratitude

How do you start your day?

These are my morning tools, together with a glass of water and a cup of coffee. For me its the perfect set. The little white gratitude journal was a giveaway in the Oprah magazine back in 2005 or 6, can’t remember exactly. I loved the cover and just the idea of having a gratitude journal sounded cool. The magazine team put together  nice exercises on the first few pages around The Power of Positive Thanking,  enough to shake you, or even let you cry. Another post for that topic. What did I do? Ignored it. Self help for me then was something I didn’t really think about seriously.  Self love? Oh come on! Yes, I love myself. Also a post for another day, in fact lots of posts about my now favourite topic.

Back to this topic.

So now you can see how old little white Mimi really is. And guess what? A few days ago, Mimi retired. She has no more pages left. It was almost unbelievable. The very same book I’ve had for so many years, and written in since 2008, as far as I can remember. Profound! It was a true celebration for me. As you can see from the photo, she has now been replaced with Daisy, the yellow book. Perfect colour! Zesty, full of life and sunshine, bursting with energy and joy and loving what is.

And on that note. I was never consistent in my gratitude writing. I’ve gone from using a gratitude jar (this was fun, we did it at work in our office every single morning), to an organised gratitude journal with different sections, blocks etc., printed on fancy paper that I didn’t get to use. But in the end, Mimi has always been around. I went back to Mimi to express my gratitude whenever I remembered. Now, only the thought of Mimi has kept me grounded. Thank you Mimi, for always being around. Today I’m grateful that my little gratitude book was always around and available for me to express my thanks. I am now grateful for my new beautiful yellow gratitude journal named, Daisy. 

If you’ve never done this, omGosh! it is the most calming experience ever. One day I’ll give you an example from one of my pages. There’s a lot to this, Seriously!

Expressing Gratt.jpg

Until next time…


What I eat daily.

Meal prepping is my middle name. If I don’t do this, ugh, that means spending time in the kitchen every day. One day I’ll give you the grande tour of my gorgeous little kitchen. I call it, Tiny Kitchen – Great Pleasures! make sense right?

Yes, sometimes I eat Chinese food, sometimes when I’m in a hurry like the 5% I didn’t plan my meals. My school has a restaurant and canteen for staff. I can grab vegetables from the restaurant, like mixed veggies and they make a nice hot plate fish dish.  Near the local supermarket we have rows of restaurants. We always visit the halal restaurant, good clean food! For the most part, I depend on myself to cook healthy meals. My husband and I have different food likes, he grades my cooking 7 out of 10, mhm. No comment.

I’m fortunate to have the local supermarket 10 minutes away from me, I get fresh produce from them on a daily basis and its right above the gym. By bus, there  are  3 different supermarkets in one area: Metro, Carrefour and Walmart. Believe me, I have to go to all of them. Metro (most expensive) for tofu, wine and on the very odd occasion, something meaty or fish. Carrefour (always crowded) just upgraded their imported food section, they now sell ‘light’ coconut milk, wooohooo! Right outside Carrefour is a vendor selling fresh nuts, I get my walnuts and pistachios from her. Walmart is my regular go-to supermarket and I really can’t buy my almonds and seeds anywhere else. I know! I love shopping around looking for the best options that will satisfy my needs. And for fish, I take the trip down to IKEA for salmon and whatever else they have. Their coffee is also satisfying. Oh! theres the online grocery store called, Guangzhou online grocer. You are required to submit an order of a  minimum RMB350 (free delivery), don’t worry i’ve bought 4 items for that price. They sell a lot of imports and of course without doubt, good fresh produce – at a price.  And…. the website is in English (applause). I don’t usually buy from wet markets because my Mandarin sucks (triple sigh), working on it. I have trust issues as well – working on that too.

With that being said, I’m not vegetarian, but I consume very little meat and/or fish. I get my protein from legumes, seeds and some vegetables. Now you can tell that I’m a veggie & beans lover and not a big meat eater.  I should be called (drum roll) The Salad Diva! (curtsy bow).

I LOVE restaurants! Good thing we live far from the centre of Guangzhou, so weekends are ideal for visiting restaurants, but not every single weekend! Okay, most. There are a great selection of local and international restaurants in Guangzhou. Generally, I enjoy preparing my own meals, very therapeutic as well. I’ll be posting about this in the future, a lot!!

Until next time….


Welcome to my blog!

Welcome Welcome Welcome!!!  On this blog I’ll share some of my daily life experiences living in China, past experiences, and my general thoughts and ideas about healthy living. I’ve been fortunate to experience different cultures, making China my 3rd homebase outside my motherland, South Africa.  This blog will also feature helpful tips and suggestions for potential English teachers and those planning to live abroad. Thank you for stopping by, hope you’ll be back again.  Your questions are always welcome 🤗.