How to Celebrate a Birthday American style in China

Olivia turns 10

This is the first birthday we have celebrated in our family since moving to China 3 months ago.  Olivia wanted to have a pool party in the outdoor pool in Luxehills where we live.  The only problem is it rained the entire weekend so the water was nice and chilly but the rain let up long enough to swim outdoors just like she wanted.

Finding party supplies was much harder than I expected but I did find these cute flip-flops for the girls to decorate with ribbons and some baskets to personalize with vinyl stickers I made.

I’m so glad Betty Crocker made her way into China because I wouldn’t have had cupcakes with frosting without her.  A box of cake mix and a can of frosting from the foreign food store will cost you $4 each.  I’ve been told the traditional Chinese birthday is celebrated with what else but a cup of long noodles.  The longer the better as it represents “a good, long life” wish.  We get pretty tired of eating noodles I don’t know how they do it everyday and for birthdays too.  Olivia also wanted to have Root beer Floats and you’ll be surprised to hear a can of root beer costs us $1.15 in China.  I still buy it because it makes my family happy and we need every bit of happiness we can get while living in a foreign country.

Trying to find a gift for Olivia was quite tricky this year.  I took her to the mall to get her a birthday outfit like I do every year but we just don’t have the same ideas for what’s fashionable as the chinese people so for the first time ever she didn’t get a birthday outfit.  I think this was actually harder on me than it was on Olivia.  She kept saying “Mom, don’t stress about my birthday.  I’m happy.”  Finding wrapping paper is another tricky thing since Hallmark and American Greetings are both American based companies you won’t find them in China.  We had to be creative using our packing paper from our shipment to wrap small items and a blanket to wrap the big swivel-style skateboard we found her.


Olivia still had a fun birthday and one she’ll never forget.  She’s lucky to have made some fun friends here and even our driver and ayi showed their love for her by giving her a special gift.


3 Comments on “How to Celebrate a Birthday American style in China”

  1. Jamie says:

    Happy Birthday Olivia!!! It sounds like you managed to put together a wonderful birthday party! I love the flip-flops!! We’ll be celebrating a 5 year old’s Birthday in Chengdu soon after our move!

  2. Vanessa says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO OLIVIA! 10 is such a big transition—double digits! Glad to hear you were able to make the most of it.

  3. Anna says:

    It looks like a really fun birthday celebration! I’m glad the rain let up so you could swim. Olivia is a sweet girl and I love how she asked you not to stress about things because she is happy.

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