Thursday, November 17, 2016

Immigration Part 1

This first part of the immigration process took us a long time to figure out and to get approval.  It took about six months or so to get through this part.   We decided to do this part without a lawyer and just do it ourselves.  It took a lot of research.  I found so many conflicting information out there that my best advice is to go through the USCIS site and not go through some 3rd party or other services. 

Immigration can seem like a scary thing to deal with. You have a mountain of forms to fill out and a lot of fees.  Applying for immigration for your spouse can be more easy than you first think.  You have to take one step at a time so you are not overwhelmed.

In the USA, immigration law and procedures change often so you need to do your research and stay up to date on the required forms and  documents needed at that time. Also you need to know what department you need to send your forms to, as well.

You need to decide if you want to do it on our own or pay for an immigration lawyer to assist you.  Some people may find the added assistance is helpful to them and much needed.  For me, I did it myself to help lower the cost.

Remember to not send originals to the places unless it is required.   I had read conflicting information and sent some originals to the USCIS and have to now try to get them back.  To save you the trouble of the round about to get the documents back, always send photocopies.

  1. Fill out I-130 form and send that to the USCIS.  
  2. Gather proper documents 
  3. Make the payment of the fee(s)
  4. Send all the information to the directed office.  Each region has their own office. 

The I-130 is not very difficult to complete as long as you follow the instructions too.  Do not just fill it out, read the instructions to help understand the information needed.

If you are going to apply for a K-3/K-4 visa then you should also fill out the forms as well and send to the appropriate location.  You need to have filled out the I-130 and sent it in for you to apply for the K-3/K-4 visa.

Processing times do change and it can seem that it is taking forever. For us, it took four to five months for it to be processed.  Sometimes the officials will approve I-130 first and will send a message that the K-3/K-4 visa is not needed.  It all depends on the officials handling your case.

Once you have approval and have been sent the official notice, your case will be transferred to another office, NVC.   I received a notice that was very offical with multi colored, watermarked paper.  Most legal government documents are prepared with such markings to reveal the authenticity of the document.

Think of this step as the pre-pre-screening for a visa.  Remember that it takes time.  When I was waiting for the notice I saw wait times as long as 8 months or so.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Talk Chinese Now!

Younger uncle and my mother-in-law standing proud with us at our wedding.

There were times I had no idea what was being said.  Yu was able to let me know what was being said.

"You have been here long enough, you must talk Chinese now!" my husband's younger uncle told me (in Chinese) on his way out to greet other guests that attended the wedding.  I nodded my head.  At this point in time I only knew how to say polite words such as: good morning, good night, hello, how are you, thank you, and I love you.  I had no idea what to say to people.  It takes a long time for me to learn words and statements in other languages.  Ask my Spanish teacher, I really needed all the help I could get to recall all the vocabulary.  I have a learning disability so my brain processes information differently and recalls things in a different way.  It is slow for me to learn so my husband wasn't too insistent for me to learn Chinese.

He knew that it was a challenge for me to get the tones right and the words and form the sounds correctly.  We would spend hours on our walks, dates, and time spent at home, practicing Chinese for me to use when we are hosting the wedding.  I learned all the family names that I could and tried my best.  I forgot things and I know I said the wrong words but I think everyone was happy to know I was trying.  If you are learning a new language the majority of people will be pleased you are trying to embrace the language and culture.

My husband was a great help at the wedding, he would tell me what to say in Chinese and I would repeat to the best of my ability.  I was so nervous I would say the wrong thing or do something impolite.  This was on of my biggest anxiety moments I had when I was in China.  Meeting people I don't know and immersing myself in a culture that I knew little about and had no idea what people are saying does give me high levels of anxiety. You can do as much research as you can in preparation for your trip or whatever the setting you are in but that doesn't mean you know it.  You only know it through research knowledge that is stored in your brain but you have yet to experience it.

For me, I did a lot of reading of blogs of AMWF relationships and women living in China with their Chinese husbands, just to learn about culture. I found myself worried about knowing enough when I was in China. I know now that it wasn't necessary to be too worried.  I was able to be more relaxed after a few minutes with my family in China and then their family and friends that came to celebrate with us.

I was able to talk with friends and family whom spoke a little English and then also with those whom had translators to help with communication.  Even though uncle told me to speak Chinese and not English that day, I still spoke English and still made people proud with my little Chinese I did spoke that day.  I was glad to make my Chinese family proud.

I will give advice for those who are learning Chinese.  Chinese can be difficult to master so don't give up.  Just practice.  I try to practice new words for 10 minutes before I go to work, around lunch time or dinner time, and then before going to bed.  I try to master words to remember the meaning, the character(s), the sound, and the way to say it.  I have found some apps that help with this but practicing with my husband is the best so I can have him tell me if I am saying it correctly.  I have found that some apps are not fully accurate with recording recognition.  Sometimes I have found that the words are not said correctly but the apps I have used says that it is.

I have may textbooks and recorded lessons for learning Chinese too.  These can help but not always the best for knowing if you are saying the words correctly. The best way to learn Chinese is being around those who speak Chinese.  This helps to know if you are speaking correctly.  Find friends whom speak Chinese and ask if they can help you too.  I have friends who do language exchange so we teach each other our languages.

Remember that if you have been immersed in a setting of Chinese speaking you will need time too.  I did not become fluent in Chinese in the small time I was living in China.  Sometimes expectations is not realistic so keep your goals real.  Setting goals should be measurable, able to meet that goal, and continue to make future goals.

Work in your time.  Don't follow other people's time of when to be fluent, just be you.  Each person has different learning abilities and time-frames to learn.  Find what works for you.  What works for me may not work for you.  I think you need to think about what makes learning easy for you and enjoyable.  Yes, learning can be enjoyable no matter what my brother-in-law or cousins may think.

For me, I like to learn through different things like music and TV shows.  My husband made his English better by watching TV shows and movies in English and learning English songs. This has helped me too. It is a very fun way to learn.  Watching some Chinese TV shows has been very fun.  You can learn about the culture through TV shows and even the form of storytelling that people use for those TV shows.  I love learning story telling techniques from different people groups.  It has always fascinated me.

What do you do to learn something new?  Have you learned a new language?  What did you do to learn?  What worked the best and what didn't work?  Do you have advice for language learning?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Chinese Memories: Hello and Drama

What was it like being in China?  This is a common question people ask me.  There wasn't too many differences from the town I live.  I felt just like I was at home, but I didn't understand most people or signs, there was more smoking and drinking than at home, and there was more need to pay attention to culture.  There were many similar things in China as in the USA.  I didn't really feel like I was thousands of miles away.

I felt like I was at home.  I felt welcome.  This was all over the place.  People would come up to me and say hello.  A lot of kids were told to come talk to me to practice their English.  This was so cute.  They all did great! I'm glad I can help to with your English practice.  I remember going to the market and looking at different things with my husband, Yu.  There was this boy who was very shy but his parent was insistent he goes to say hi.  You did a good job little buddy!

One time, late at night, my husband and I went out for something to eat and of course at this time of night most places are closed.  There was a few places opened but my hubby didn't want to go to those places.  He decided to get street BBQ food.  There was a narrow long grill on the side of the road with tables of foods to choose from and tables to eat at.  My husband picked out foods for the man to cook for us and we were told to sit down to wait for it.  Not too long after sitting there I heard loud voices.  By this time in China I had become accustomed to people just starring at me and people coming up Yu asking about me.  These voices were different.  It was a mixture of excitement exclamation and strange drunken, no filter loudness.  There was a table, on the other side of Yu, where two men were sitting.  The table had many bottles of what used to be beer.  Bottles of beer are much bigger in China than in the USA, think of the bottle as about two or three bottles of beer or cans of beer in USA.  There was about 6 or more bottles of Chinese beer that were empty and of course these two men wanted more.  They went to the man who was cooking the food to ask more more and then saw me.

Those who know me know that I don't like to draw attention to myself and try to blend in.  The man that was making such a loud fuss was rather loud and drawing more attention to those walking across the street and in nearby shops and restaurants that were still open. The man went to my husband and started to talk to him.  First I thought he was an old friend but then it changed once my hubby said the man wanted to know who I was and where I was from.  Of course once my hubby said I was his wife, the shock became voiced.  For some reason it was unbelievable for a Chinese man to have a wife from another country.  I became accustomed to the shock in people's face when they heard Yu was my boyfriend, fiancee, and now husband. The sheer volume of the shocked man's voice was a little ear piercing.

The man then asked where I was from and how to say he loves Americans.  The whole time he kept saying "I love American" and "I want to go to American" saying he loves USA and wants to go.  He then offered to pay for our meal.  Now in China, my husband pays for my meal.  There is a huge cultural significant of who pays the bill for food.  Before going to China I read about this cultural view point.  You can see it in a popular TV show in the USA called "Fresh Off the Boat" which explains that there is much to be said about who pays the bill.  The person who paid is the host, the provider, the person who paid for you.  Being the person whom doesn't pay can sometimes mean you owe the person whom paid, depending on the context.  When I was in China, my hubby paid for everything.  It is culturally expected for him to provide for his wife.  This is shown by paying for things, having some kind of property, and a car of some kind.  This is something I don't actually agree with but in the Chinese culture it is something that matters to them.

So the man offers to pay for the food and my husband says no.  I even told him no that my husband would pay for our food, since he then addressed me. I told him that he wasn't thinking straight that he might be drunk and it wasn't right to take money from people who were drunk.  The man then said he wasn't drunk and was just wanting to pay the money.  To this day I still am convinced he was what we call tipsy which is still a level of drunk. The man was still rather eager to pay.  He even went up to the "boss," the owner of the food stall and said he will pay no matter what. After a very long time of going back and forth of who will pay, Yu gave in and let the man pay.  The man paid and expressed through slurred speech that he will even pay for when my parents get to China.  As we were leaving the man expressed again that he America and people from there.

As we walked down the road Yu told me that I just witnessed Chinese drama.  I also felt as though I also witnessed a man that was the type of person I read about that just wants to be friends with someone from another country to brag about it or show off to friends.  When I was in China I felt as though I was a trophy at times for people to show off they met a foreigner.  I felt as though I was the foreigner and not just Jen.  Don't get me wrong, I love to help others learn about other cultures and help them with their English but I also felt as though I was just a teacher of English or just a person to take a photo or selfie with. 

Even though I felt as though this was happening I still felt welcomed in China.  I did make some good friends and enjoyed my time there.  I will forever remember the little kids trying to practice their English.  Those kids were so cute and I just loved them.  I will also remember the strange drunk man who I ended up seeing again and all he could say was "I love American"  and I just answered, "Yes, good job with your English!" for encouragement. 
The street BBQ had a table like this with all the foods to pick from.

Yu picked out scallops that he knew I loved. It have veggies and the boss put it with noodles and oysters too.
Oysters were really yummy! 
Yu also got me pork too.  He made me believe it was something totally different. 

Yu also picked out chicken skin that had some sauce on it. It was so good but again he tricked me into believing it was something else.

The boss had a narrow grill like this.  He would cook the food and season it too.  Good job boss, it was very delicious.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Top 5 Dates in China

My favorite dates I went on in China is difficult to pick so I will list my top 5 dates. For those who are looking for ideas you first need to understand the interests of both persons going on the date.  If you find things that both persons love to do, then it should be just fine.

When I was in China, a lot of our dates were had a lot of walking.  We would walk to all kinds of places.  If you don't like to walk, make sure you bring money with you so you can pay for the taxi.  We also enjoyed food when we were on our dates.  A large varieties of foods are available in China.  There are big fancy dinning experiences which Yu wanted to have me experience them.  Even though it was a nice gesture, I am not always comfortable with fancy things.  I enjoyed more relaxing meal settings.  I loved going to BBQ and having hot pot.

A fast food place in the subway in Shanghai.  So yummy!

Chinese BBQ in Shanghai.  This was World War 2 themed.  This place also had hot pot too.

My Top 5 dates when I was in China:

1. Taking a walk :  Yu and I took walks all the time.  It was lovely to take walks around in all cities we were in.  In Shanghai we would take walks around to see different sites, shopping, or going out to eat.  In Wuxi we would take a walk to talk and to exercise together.  In Nantong we didn't have much to do so we would go for a walk around the little village town near the farms we were at.  The best thing when you go on a walk is to talk and enjoy the time together.  If you are going to walk, find a place to eat too and make it fun.  That is what makes a simple walk rememberable. Sometimes if you don't know what to do, just walk because there will be ideas of things to do everywhere you look.

Walking around Shanghai. 

We walked around People's Square in Shanghai.

2. The park: This is a great thing to do.  It doesn't take much money to enjoy being with another person.  Yu and I walked to the local park in Wuxi.  This part was way different than some of the parks we have in USA.  There was a shopping center connected to the park along with many different nature paths and statues.  It was fun to just walk together and enjoy nature.  In Wuxi we came across a saxophone player who was practicing.  It was great to hear his music.  I will always remember Yu giving me a flower from a tree near the path and putting it in my hair.  It wasn't too long until bees started to try to get me.  Funny moments to remember.  There are amusement parks that charge admission if you are wanting to pay but if you are looking for a cost effective date, just go to the local park and look around.

The park in Wuxi.  I loved this park so much.

There was all kinds of statues around.

The amusement park (Happy Valley) we went to in Shanghai.

3. The zoo:  For those who love animals the zoo is a great idea for a date.  We went to the wildlife park in Shanghai. There is a fee for this zoo so keep that in mind.  It was fun to walk around the zoo seeing all the animals.  This zoo even had a bus to take you through the enclosures.  It was fun to fee the animals too.  The best part of this date was just being relaxed around the animals.  I enjoyed it so much. 

At the front gate of the zoo. 

Feeding the coy fish with a baby bottle.

At first I was scared to fee the swans.  Moments like this make memories.

On the bus to see the animals in the enclosures.

4. KTV: This has got to be the most popular activity in China.  KTV  is a place to go for karaoke. These places are more private than out in the open.  Each place is a little different with their rates.  This is something I haven't seen in USA before.  In USA most places for karaoke is more public.  This was fun to just sit back and enjoy music and song.  Yu told me that most Chinese use this to relax and unwind from work.  The place we went to KTV was in Shanghai.  They are found all over in all the cities I had visited.  The KTV we went to charges by the hour.  There was a large collection of songs to pick from even English songs.  Yu had to pull up the songs for me. haha

At KTV with Yu.  The room was set up like a living room.

5. Staying in: The best date I have been on did not involve money but time.  That is the reason to go on a date.  Spending time with your husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend is the best part of a date.  When I was in China, we would spend a lot of time visiting family and doing activities for the wedding that when we were able to just be at home, that was the best feeling.  Watching a movie or tv show was always fun to do.  Yu loves movies and he loves putting up the projector to put the movie on the wall.
Yu setting up the movie!

Who says you have to go to the club/bar for a good drink?

In Wuxi trying to enjoy some time before the next family meet and greet.

Yu and I together in Nantong.  We just got back form shopping for wedding things.  Such a long day.

Finding joy in the small things and knowing expectations is a big factor in planning a date.  I am not one to expect much of anything from people.  I am happy with what I have and enjoy the small things in life. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Respect Your Elders

Grandma J Ehlers and Grandma R Ehlers

For a long time I have been trying to figure out what has been bothering me.  I have done a lot of reflecting and have figured out what has been bothering my soul.  Respect has been bothering me lately.  This post is a reflection on what I have been thinking about for a long time.  Grandparents and other elders are important to me and I wanted to share what was on my heart.

Elders these days in the USA seem to have been receiving less respect more and more.  This is something that makes me rather sad.  There are many elders in our population and they all should be shown respect just like each human being should.  At my work, I see a lot of elders come in for assistance and I try my best to help them out.  I am very surprised that many are deeply moved by my helpful and respectful service.  This got me to think about the philosophy we live today.

I started to analyze how people in my life treat elders I interact with.  In my own extended family I noticed there was a disconnect between honoring different elders.  In China, honoring elders is very important.  If you don't have respect for your grandparents, for example, you don't have respect at all.  Every elder was addressed in a family title when I was in China.  You called every elder man, grandpa, and elder woman, grandma.
Yu and I with Grandma Sheng and Grandpa Sheng

In the USA, we don't call people by family titles unless we are related to them somehow.  I noticed that in my family on my dad's side, some people don't even use family titles for all of us.  We don't call people brother, sister, cousin, or even elders as grandma/grandpa.  In China, we even called cousins our brothers and sisters.  Here in the USA, a cousin is called cousin but usually by there own name.  My father's step mom is even addressed by her name by some people in the family.  When my step-grandmother is not called "grandma" it effects her and others, like me.  I do see my biological grandmother being called "grandma" as her title but not the same with my step-grandmother.  Once you do not use the proper title for elders, you also start to show less care for the person and unfair treatments or favoritism is started.  On my dad's side of the family I do see many times biological relationships between the families matter most of all.  This made me think as to why.  Why must having a biological relationship connection matter more to showing respect and honor to an elder?

Biological relationships has the reputation of being closer and having longer bounds between each member, but this is a myth.  Biological relationships means a person is related by blood.  Sometimes these relationships are close but sometimes they can be broken bonds.  Non-biological relationships can be broken but some can be close too.  Some of these relationships can be very strong.  Love can come in different forms.  People can choose to love people.

I am so lucky to have non-biological relationships. Elders make life better because they help shape and mold others.  It is the elders that help teach the younger generations.  (Many elders come into my workplace and give advice to all of us younger people.)  To those whom believe biological relationships are more important and respectable, you couldn't be more off the mark.  Examples of this is adoptions, step families, marriages, and so on.  These examples of non-biological relationships help uncover this myth.  In fact, non-biological relationships started biological ones.  You cannot have biological relationships without non-biological ones. 

Families come in all shapes and sizes.  Families always change and continue to be a living thing.  There are good times and bad times.  The heart of families are the elders.  On my father's side, Grandma J Ehlers, the eldest of the family, is truely the heart of the family.  She is like the glue that holds the family together.  Sometimes she does things or says things that is not logical but that is because of the mind slowly fading because of age.  Having an understanding mind is key when relating to elders.  As I noticed, there appears to be a change in how each elder relates to the other members of a family and society.  This reflects in the minds of younger members of family and society as to importance and usefulness in the present day.  Many may see my Grandma J Ehlers as not having much use to society because her memory is slowly disappearing but she does remember some things that helps people learn about the past.  She can share about different times in history and she has a long life knowledge too. 

Many see elders as being stuck in the past but many people lack the wisdom to know that elders have far more knowledge than they realize. This knowledge has value to the present day.  History can repeat itself and it is vital to know history and the warning signs of historic disasters coming back to haunt humanity. It is the foolish to disregard any elder.  I believe that the Chinese culture is wise in holding elders in high regard.  In the USA culture, there are many views on the subject. I still cannot completely wrap my head around the idea of disrespecting elders even if they have lost their memories or are still putting up the fight.  No matter what state an elder is in, they need confidence, kindness, understanding, and respect.

In my family I have my biological grandma and my step grandma, on my dad's side, whom are the only grandparents I have that are alive.  I also now have grandparents in China too.  It makes me very happy to have these elders in my life.  I do find it very sad when I hear one of my grandmas not being honored like she should.  It breaks my heart that she has been disrespected so.  I often tell myself that I hope that when I am an elder that the treatment she receives is not how people would treat me too. I told myself that I will do what I can to honor all grandparents in my life.  I also told myself that I will honor all elders too.

I love you Grandma J Ehlers, Grandma R Ehlers, Grandma Sheng, and Grandpa Sheng!

My cousin, Grandma R Ehlers, and I took a photo outside the barn wedding for my eldest cousin.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Follow Your Dreams

Anyone who has watched a Disney film can tell you that the characters in these films are centered around following your dreams and your heart.  Making dreams come true is an important aspect of Disney's philosophy.

When I was younger I always wanted to be an actor, an author, or own my own shop or restaurant. As I grew up I started to realize that I want to make my dream come true.  I want to start my shop.  The shop I want to start is a homemade gifts shop.

Sometimes in life it takes time to figure out what you are good at, what you like to do, and what you want to do with your life. Dreams can change too.

I have decided to start my own business. When I was in China, my mother-in-law told me to see about working with local businesses in China to start a shop in the USA to sell bedding.  She even told me she would teach me to make bedding sometime.  I admired her passion to help out my husband and I.

The shop I decided to start is not a bedding shop but a homemade gifts shop.  In China homemade things are lower in price than other items that are made with big factory machines.  This fact shocked me because in the USA, we price handmade objects higher than factory made things.  When I was in Wuxi we went to a wholesale market.  There were all kinds of different products there.  There was an area with baby clothes that were handmade.  I was shocked to find out that it was less than $1 USD (USA Dollar).

Knowing that my handmade gifts business won't do so well in China, I deiced to start the shop in the USA.  My shop will sell things made by my family, friends, and me. I hope I will get to sell some of my mother-in-law's crafts.  She does very well with making things.  I know she would get more for her crafts in another country that puts a higher price tag on handmade items.   She seems excited about it.

Following your dreams can take time and sometimes people don't believe in you.  I am sure there are many people out there that have heard the same thing I have about how you will never achieve your dream.  Be positive to yourself.  If you can dream it and believe in yourself, you can do anything.  It won't happen overnight, but it will happen sometime.  There are many famous people all over the world that didn't get to their dream until later on in life.  Just don't give up.

A gift basket I made for a cousin of mine.  Some of the items in the basket I will continue to make to sell.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gift Giving

Giving gifts has always been something I loved to do.  I got it down to a science of picking out the perfect gift to make someone happy, surprised, and feel like I know them. When it came to giving gifts to my Chinese family, it was a lot of effort to figure out what to get them.  I read so many things about what is culturally acceptable to give as a gift.  I even asked some of my Chinese friends in the USA what would be good.  There are many things that I had to keep in mind. 

I ended up picking items that are specialty items or something I know the person will use.  Specialty items have more value in China.  So I was able to bring some specialty items from my home state to China. Everyone sure liked the maple candy I brought.  Specialty candies are great to give.  I explained to my family in China that the candy was made from a tree.  It was from a local farm that allowed people to tap the trees there.  It was great to see the little cousins enjoy the candy.  We had to cut some of them to allow for more pieces for people to try. 

I also brought along a gift for my brother-in-law who loves music.  I got him a speaker for him to play his music.  I thought it would be something he would like.  To be fully honest I had no idea what he would like or think about what I got him.  I know he likes music and sports.  I think he liked it well enough.  Brother was rather shy so it was hard to tell much of anything.  That was something I noticed a lot was people being too shy to talk to me or some hairdressers were very shy about their ability to fix my hair.  It's okay little brother, I don't mind, you can talk to me when you feel like it! I also gave him some s'more hot chocolate.  My husband told me that he has never heard of s'mores before so I brought little brother something with  s'mores in it.

Note to self:  Do not bring a drum that resembles a rattle, that just makes the person feel like you are calling them a baby.  Not what I wanted to say at all little brother.  I did bring him a drum from my state that were used for Native American music.  I thought it was a great gift because it was fun to play with, but in China, this kind of drum is for babies.  In USA we don't give this to a kid because the beads on each string will some off in the baby's mouth.  Cultural Difference! 

My mother-in-law got a stained glass item that had English on it saying I am honored to have her as my mother-in-law.  She loved it.  It had to be translated to her but she loved seeing it.   She put it by her bedside. She also got a bag from me.  It was a real name-brand bag, Coach. I made sure to get her a bag that wasn't red.  One of my Chinese friends told me that never give or buy a wallet in the color red because it is the color of fire and it would be like burning your money. 

My mother-in-law loved the bag I gave her.  That day she had told my husband and me about taking us to see where they sell fake bags.  It was funny because I gave her a real bag.  Later that day we went to see the fake bags.  My mother-in-law bragged to everyone how I gave her a real, a very REAL Coach bag.  She had to show off to the whole family and friends.  She was very happy.  If you are looking for a gift to give your future mother-in-law or another female, give her something name-brand thing like a bag. 

Grandma and Grandpa Sheng liked my gifts too. I gave them tea and mugs with my state's name and symbols on them.  In some readings I found that this has a bad cultural meaning in China.  My husband told them I made the mugs so it was more enjoyable than just a regular mug.  I also gave Grandma a hat.  She loved the hat.  One night we even danced with our hats on.  We both had similar style hats.  I had originally thought a red hat would work because it was her favorite color and in the USA, there is the red hat society.  This society is for elder women and they wear red hats and purple clothing.  My husband told me that red was for young women in China and that the purple hat that I also took alone would work for her.  I let her choose and she chose the purple one.  She was so cute.  I am glad to make Grandma happy.   Don't give someone a green hat (culturally meaning that the wearer's wife is cheating on him) and also don't give an elder a red hat because it is for a younger person.

Regardless of what you give, many people are thankful that you think of them. Here are tips:
  1. Research what items are allowed in the country that you are traveling and the cultural understanding of gifts.  If you are traveling by air, you should wrap the gifts when you arrived, security needs to see what you have along for safety and customs. 
    1. a) The weight of the gift should also be kept in mind.  
  2. Remember that gifts are a kind way to show how you care for someone, this should be see in your gifts you give.  Rule of thumb is that if you would like it, they most likely will too.  
  3. Seasons can help you also deiced what gift to give. Different times of the year allows different things to be given as gifts.  Flowers are great in the summer but not available in the winter months.  
  4. How you give gifts can also be different.  In China, watching someone open a gift is rude whereas in the USA it is a normal thing. 
One of my gifts was making cookies, Grandpa Sheng loved these cookie bars.