Happy Chinese New Year (Spain to China)

chinese red shoesThe beauty of blogging is meeting fellow Bloggers from around the world. Last year, I met Marta through her blog, “Marta Lives in China.” She is from Spain and married a Chinese man. As her blog states, she lives in China and shares stories about life there compared to Spain. When she got married she had two weddings, one in China and one in Spain. She has fabulous pictures from both weddings. Recently, she shared her story about being pregnant and giving birth in China. If you visit her blog, you will be transported to China and learn about the Chinese way of life.

In her latest post, “Getting Ready for Chinese New Year.” Marta has photos of shopping for Chinese New Year. She mentions the importance of the color “red” in this celebration. This is her child’s first New Year’s, so it is very exciting.

Years ago when I worked in manufacturing a fellow co-worker, who was Vietnamese, brought in red envelopes ($1 inside) for ALL of his employees, he even included me. He invited me out for Chinese lunch with the group and wished me good fortune. I was honored to be included in their celebrations.

It’s a New Year, time to dust off my red shoes again, put on my prettiest red dress and head to Chinatown with my Chinese friends to celebrate! They will order the food, so I will try many new dishes.

Wishing a Happy Chinese New Year / Happy Lunar New Year to my Asian friends. Excited to be included in the festivities.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair

20F7A794-B126-42B9-8F49-3A441FBF6155Today was the first day of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. I got there by fast train from Florence. Then it was an easy 10 minute bus ride from train station to the conference center.

Upon entering the hall, it was exciting to see all the books as you can imagine. I was amazed at how International this Fair was. Countries from all over the world had booths. Some booths were big, some small, it didn’t matter, they were ALL showing off their best selling books.

This fair is mainly used for the buying and selling of rights to books. So, in ALL the booths you could see “major” meetings going on and orders being taken.

China was the Guest of Honor. They gave different speeches with the Mayor of Bologna. Their booth showcased their Chinese authors and illustrators. They also had a specific booth displaying the work of their BEST illustrators.

I went to check out the Literary Agents Center. There was a strong buzz in the air. This is where authors and illustrators, who have set up appointments, meet with agents to pitch their books!

8A26E60E-A794-41C9-8FDB-2F554A80CB9AThis is what the board looked like, I don’t know what those numbers next to their names were. It was too busy for me to ask someone, people didn’t want to miss their appointments by answering my questions.

I finally made it to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair! So glad I went.

Oh, I could tell I was a book fair beginner, because I forgot to bring a BIG bag to put all the pamphlets that I would gather in. The book show veterans had roller bags!

The power of learning strategy. Play the board game “GO!”

Go Game BoardIsn’t there a saying that if we think about something enough we will attract it to ourselves?  Well, that’s what happened to me yesterday. I’ve been wanting to see and learn how this Asian board game is played. I walked in the coffee shop and there were two guys playing the game.  Wow – I was over there in a micro-second.

You see, I have watched some Asian historical dramas. In those movies the Emperor plays this board game with his Advisor. The Emperor always plays with intensity and strategic thinking. It’s clear that he uses this game as a way to help him think “real war strategy.” As I read the book, “The Art of War,” I wanted to learn about this game too.

These fellas were very welcoming. They told me the board game is called, “GO!”  The object of the game is to get as much territory as possible. As you surround your opponent’s stone(s) with your color of stone, you can take his stone(s) off the board. In the photo, you can see that the gentleman on the right is pointing to the white stones… he was showing me that he was “losing,” and needed to “focus” more.

If you’ve been wanting to learn about this game, I hope this post encourages you to give it a try. I know I’m going to try and play. Wikipedia’s article, “Go (game),” says this board game was created in ancient China 2,500 years ago and it is the oldest board game still played in its original form. The article also gives more information on the history of the game and how/why it tests your thinking and strategic skills.

If you are on the fence about playing, see American Go Association’s website where they list the “Top Ten Reasons to Play Go.”

If you like to think and to conquer, THIS GAME will challenge YOU!


Need motivation? Then it’s time for Sun Tzu’s, “The Art of War”


Statue of Sun Tzu in Yurihama, Tottori, in Japan

I’m not sure how I heard about Sun Tzu’s, “The Art of War,” but it piqued my interest as a book I needed to read.

Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general known to be a great war leader and strategist. His goal was always to try and win a battle without fighting and if he did have to fight, to win the easiest battles first. If you read his book, you’ll find that his war strategies apply to business as well.

When I was in Singapore, I was determined to visit a bookstore and find Sun Tzu’s book. I also wanted to explore “other” interesting books that I might not find back home. The bookstore, of course, had a variety of books from Asian authors (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), a great Supply Chain section and a big area for best selling American novels as well.

image1Being the popular book that it is, the bookstore was out of Sun Tzu’s, “The Art of War;” however, they had a business version called, “Sun Tzu for Success: How to Use The Art of War to Master Challenges and Accomplish the Important Goals in Your life,” by Gerald Michaelson with Steven Michaelson.

As I started flipping through the pages, I was hooked. Michaelson takes Sun Tzu’s strategies and relates them to management/business situations. In Section One of Michelson’s book he talks about the importance of understanding “who you are.” He says that Sun Tzu’s philosophy was about knowing yourself, because if you do not know yourself, you are your worst enemy.

Sun Tzu/Michaelson’s goal is to prove to us that no matter how challenged life can be, we are in charge of our destiny, our dreams and our goals. For any hurdle in life, we need to find that inner passion and strength to “stay strong” and want to push through “rejections/failures” in our studies, jobs, owning a business, and more. It takes hard work to win!

I leave you with another bit of inspiration…

Midas Kwant (a 19 year old from the Netherlands), gave an inspiring TedxMaastricht talk on “Finding your Passion.” He talks about being really unhappy in grade school and how his life changed with the determination of his parents and a “little bit of luck.”

Here is to staying positive in life. By reading, learning, meeting new people and sharing inspiring stories, we help each other.

REMEMBER:  When we least expect it, miracles and creative ideas come to us that change the course of our lives. One small act of kindness toward someone can change the course of THEIR day, and the smile they give us warms our hearts and changes OUR day too!

So, I challenge you to go out and do one kind deed today!   Good luck, be creative!

Guizhou – Sister’s Meals Festival



A few months ago I started following a Blog called, “Enjoying Life… don’t quit.” I am not sure how I came across it, but the blogger had posted some fantastic photos of birds. They were amazing and as I looked at some of her other work, I was hooked. So, now I look forward to seeing “what” photos she will post next.

Well, this week she posted some really beautiful photos from the Guizhou – Sister’s Meals Festival in China. Due to copyright rules, I did not take this photo from her website, but it gives you an idea of the type of photos she has posted this week. I encourage you to click here, and see her pictures of the festival.

This is something I would love to see, so I did a search to find out more about this Chinese village and the significance of the festival. The China Highlights website describes the festival and has an itinerary for a tour you could take. They say that the Sister’s Meals Festival is known as the Oriental Valentine’s Day.

This festival allows Miao (Hmong) youth to possibly find their marriage partners through rice. Disclaimer: The photo I have is of young children. You need to click on site above to see the photos of the older “mature ladies” who participate in this exchange of rice ceremony. I didn’t want to mislead you with the photo I have.

Back to the rice exchange…  The ladies come out in traditional costumes wearing their elaborate silver jewelry. The Miao believe that silver dispels evil spirits. At the dance party, the young men present a parcel of rice to the lady they are interested in. In return, the lady gives the young man a parcel of rice, which gives him her answer. When the young man opens his package if he finds 2 chopsticks, it’s an acceptance. If the man finds 1 chopstick it is a refusal and if he finds a chili that is a definite, “No.”  There are other activities at the festival like dragon boat racing, bull fights, wooden drum dance, etc.

So glad I opened this lady’s post this week. I want to learn more about the “Guizhou Ethnic Minorities Festival Tour.” In fact, see China Discovery, if you are interested in more information as well. The world is full of traditions and special customs. Let’s keep sharing!