Amazon Fallout

My husband and I have a Cross border business and of course the platform to be is still Amazon. Although, this was not obvious to me a year ago. I have been living in China for 10 years, so I don’t know much what was going on in the rest of the world. I am not tech-savvy at all. My husband had to introduce me 3 years ago to 3G with the mention: welcome to the real world. So, for me, Amazon was a book seller online.

When my husband told me we would do e-commerce and sell on Amazon I didn’t understand. I have been learning so much these last few months about e-commerce and Amazon. I must say, a whole new world opened up for me. And now, I see myself as having to be a Social Media expert (even though I hate to be on Facebook sometimes, let alone other media platforms), and it intrigues me. So, I started to read everything about Amazon and Jeff Bezos. I discovered that I have a competitive mind and want to beat the best. So, I want to beat Jeff Bezos, also because I like honest business and when I read stories of Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs on how they treat(ed) employees and I hate to see how they can act just because they are big.

A couple of weeks ago Amazon started to shut down a lot of Chinese accounts without warning because, yes, Chinese are cheating. I don’t like the Chinese to cheat on reviews to try to be the number one seller. This is so low and I want to teach our team to not cheat on this. We will get reviews because we give value and good service.

But today I sent an email to Amazon because I had an issue with Amazon about listing our products. Before, I got an answer days later or even never and I had to start writing angry emails to just get an answer. Now, because Chinese protested before the Amazon building, I got an email every hour signed by a Chinese name. It said that they were investigating our issue and thanked me for my patience.

Amazon is finally getting on their knees?? Inside I am joyous, because finally their arrogance is put down. But, at the same time, I want to learn on how to be so arrogant and not be intimidated by other competitors.

I have been to a Tony Robbins seminar and I am studying Tony Robbins’ Life Coach program to become the best that I can be. My European education and upbringing taught me not to put attention on myself and just keep in line. It is very hard to break out of that. Also, I want to say now that we will beat Jeff Bezos and I know we can, just because my husband and I are from different cultures and I am European. I know different languages and I know different cultures exists. A lot of Americans think that everyone thinks like an American, but the most difficult thing is to get rid of this European modesty of not putting too much attention on you and not be too arrogant to think you are more special.

I am studying Amazon, Tony Robbins and am going to seminars now to get rid of this bad conditioning. Hope everyone will get on their own journey and know that the sky is not the limit.

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Female Power!!

When I see more and more women in power, I can only applaud it! I like to see more women in high position and have been reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg eagerly.

I must say that I am surprised to see that Chinese women can be very strong. When I see women here in Shenzhen and how they treat their boyfriend/husband, I am surprised to see how much power they yield over them. Men are usually seen carrying everything, even their spouse’s purse. This goes too far for me, as I still want to see a man as masculine and a man carrying a female purse looks strange.

The first and still only time that I went to Sichuan, my husband’s hometown, I was surprised at how strong the women are there. I couldn’t bear it as they were loud and I got a headache from just being around them.

But, now I know more about my husband’s character. I already saw his mother is very loud and rules in the household and his father is very quiet and never speaks up. I heard this is typical for Sichuan households, so my husband is also quiet and does a lot for me. Whenever I want something, he almost drops everything and helps me out.

We must find a balance where men and women are equal and I try to obtain that in my relationship. I want equal rights for both genders, as I know that there are still a lot of women in China that don’t have any rights yet. But, we also need to make sure that we don’t become too strong and make men too docile.

Anyway, I love the tendency where women have more leadership roles in business and government. Men and women have different thoughts and combined we can make businesses and countries more successful. It is never good to say that one is better than the other. We need both for balancing things. To follow the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin Yang: one cannot be without the other. And both have something of the other in them. We are not totally female or male. Every woman has some degree of masculinity as every man has some degree of femininity in them.

I am really looking forward to the future and see how the world emerges with this balance of the sexes. I can only think that it will be a better world where women are respected and listened to and where men can also speak up and are not afraid to talk about their feelings.

Pet Misery

Last month was Chinese New Year and I still want to write a story about what happened to our cat… We went to Henan to celebrate and took our dog with us, but it was hard to take our cat too and we decided to leave her in a pet shop.

I didn’t feel good with that, especially when I saw that he was putting her in a small cage, but we had no choice. It was the evening before we would leave and I comforted myself that it was only 1 week.

We came back 1 day earlier and we even arrived quite early in the evening, so we could get her that evening. We went to the pet shop to see it closed, but it was already around 8pm, so we didn’t think too much of it and we would go back the next day.

The next day, I went there every 2 hours and it was always closed. Unfortunately, we didn’t have their cell phone number. My husband had the paper of registration, but couldn’t find it. There was a landline number, but nobody picked up. I saw there was a paper stuck on the front of the shop with a cell phone number, but a piece was missing and I just had the beginning of the number. I was even looking for the rest of the paper, but couldn’t find it.

It started to be late afternoon and I grew more and more furious as I could see that the pets were just left behind and were not being taking care of at all. I was already thinking of calling the police or break open the door.

Around 6pm, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I wanted to get my cat back. There was an iron gate and I tried to lift it up. I was surprised to notice that it was not locked, so I lifted it all the way up. There was a glass door that was locked, but there was a cell phone number on the door. I called it and after calling twice, a guy answered it.

I gave him my honest opinion, especially when I heard he was in Dongguan (all of a sudden my Chinese came out perfect and fluently) and he said he will be there after 1 hour.

In less than an hour, he called that he was at his shop. When I went there, he apologized over and over again and he said that he has to take care of 4 shops (which I don’t care, he just need to make himself more organized then).

All in all, it was a happy ending: I got my cat back healthy and well, without being too much traumatized, but it will be the last time that I will give my cat to a pet shop!

Do you have your partner yet?

Chinese New Year has just been gone and it didn’t only bring holiday stress about the traveling, the money you have to give (the notorious ‘hongbao’) or the food that needs to be prepared. But, for many Chinese, it also brought the stress of having to have a boyfriend or girlfriend and if they have that, to get married and even then, to have a baby as soon as possible.

I am so happy to be a Western woman. Yes, my parents also wanted me to settle down with a man and have my 2.5 children in a house with a white fence, but if I said “no” they wouldn’t keep on pushing. They would know that it would not help anyway.

I got married to my Chinese husband quite quickly, but that was because we felt we were meant for each other as we share the same interests and view of life. I was also already 35 years old (and yes, my first marriage, so I think my parents partied many days when they heard I finally got married). For me, it was not important. I got a few relationships before and just living together was enough.

My Chinese husband got married when he was 28 years old and they had a baby soon after that all because of the pressure his parents were putting on him. No need to tell you that they also got divorced quite quickly after that. He told me that he didn’t love her, but he needed to do it as his parents were just putting too much pressure on him. If I would hear that, I would leave him too. Marriage supposed to be special and you should do it because you love and respect each other and want to show that to all the people you care.

It seems not here in China, because unfortunately, my husband’s parents hadn’t learned from the mistake they did with him. They were doing the same to his younger sister.
Already for a couple of years, her parents were anxious as she was getting closer and closer to 30 years old and still didn’t have anyone serious. They were organizing blind dates and were pushing her into a man’s arms. Last year, the year she turned 30, she finally met someone and she got married after only 2 months. Probably because of the pressure. My husband didn’t like it as he wants to prevent her from having the same troubles as he had. All we can hope for is that they truly love each other.

At the wedding, we were telling them that we can all travel to Europe together this year, but all of a sudden the mother was listening to that and she said that the daughter won’t be able to travel when she is pregnant. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She finally got her parents’ wish: got married before she was considered ‘too old’ and now she has to produce a baby as soon as possible! In what a society are Chinese living? I pity them more and more. They don’t seem to have any freedom. Parents are behaving like monsters to their children. Is this the parental love that most Chinese are so proud to say that it is a cornerstone of their culture? Parental love should be unconditional, which means: you love your children no matter what they are doing.

When even basic needs are not met

I still remember those early days when I just moved to China. I lived in Yangshuo, a touristy little town in Guangxi province. There was luckily a decent expat community, so I still had Western conversations and didn’t have to speak Chinese.

But, soon I started to see that to be totally immersed in China was quite difficult. There were no Western products and I was surprised when I went from supermarket to local grocery shop to beauty shop to finally understand that Chinese don’t use deodorant. I was quite shocked as in the West, men and women use deodorant from when they are a teenager. I couldn’t understand and didn’t believe it at first.

Another most awkward and frustrating moment was to realize that Chinese women don’t use tampons. No way that I would go back to grandma’s sanitary pads!

So, I remember that I emailed my mother in exasperation to quickly send me deodorant and tampons (and while sending those anyway, some Belgian chocolate to comfort me. For us Belgians this is as much a basic need as these other two).

Flash forward 9 years later and married to a Chinese for almost 3 years now. He doesn’t understand the deodorant thing and another Western thing: shaving armpits and legs.

Last week, was the first time my husband ever used deodorant as he sees me doing it every day and doesn’t understand why. So, he finally had the courage to try it himself.

The other thing we even had some big discussions about was why I had to shave my armpits and legs. I told him that I feel like a man if I don’t and I want to feel like a woman. I don’t care that much about clothes or shoes, but there is no way I am going to let my hair grow in these places.

In the beginning of our relationship, we went trekking for at least 6 days by tent. We couldn’t shower during those 6 days and I felt an immense relief when I could finally shower, but the best part was, to be able to remove the hair from my legs. I felt civilized and clean again.

It’s interesting to see the differences in cultures and it doesn’t have to be the big things. It’s those little everyday things that make it interesting. I would never stop to think about using deodorant or shaving legs in the West and nobody would mention it as it is such a normal thing to do. But in China you see that it is not so common and that other people see it as something weird to do.

I can’t wait to take my husband back to Europe and see what he thinks of it. Now, he just went for 2 weeks on holiday, but that is not the same as living there and starting to miss those everyday little habits that you do! Although, I already got him hooked on drinking a cup of coffee every morning. He is slowly getting there.

Memories…

So many memories of my time in China. It’s been nine years since I moved here and the adventures that I have had so far I couldn’t have imagined in a million years.

Here are 2 videos of that time:
This one was by a National TV crew and broadcast on Chinese National TV in 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDVvoy5jB0o&lc=z22dizpqduirivppx04t1aokggd50vglml2prqlwivwerk0h00410

And this one my husband made about our honeymoon:

Tai Chi as a lifestyle

What is Tai Chi?
When I ask people this question, they picture old Chinese people doing exercise in the park, so they see it mainly as a health exercise.

Did you ever think that Tai Chi could be like an iceberg? The top you see above the water is what you see people doing. The rest (most of the mountain) is hidden under water, like most of Tai Chi is hidden in our bodies and mind.

How to start Tai Chi practice?
Tai Chi starts with basic movements and meditation. For me, I also didn’t like meditation the first months of my Tai Chi practice. I found I didn’t want to waste time to just standing still. I wanted to learn the Tai Chi movements and focused on how to perform them well. It was only after I really put some effort in doing the meditation every day for 15 to 20 minutes that I felt a huge difference. I walked differently, like my feet were sucked to the ground with every step and my Tai Chi practice took a whole other level: I had better balance, better focus, better… just an overall huge improvement of my movements.

The basic movements in Tai Chi consist of the figure 8 movement to loosen your hips and to improve coordination with your legs and arms. Our hips are very stiff, because we always do exercise in a linear way: walk, run, cycle,… Our hips don’t loosen, on the contrary, they become more stiff. With Tai Chi you have to move your hips in a circular way, you will loosen your hips and release any blockages you have in any of your joints.

Further Tai Chi practice
With every Tai Chi movement, you focus on your Dantian, the energy center in your body, located just 2 fingers under your navel. From there the energy moves all over your body, to every limb and back to your center. When you feel uncomfortable in a certain area of your body, you have a blockage there. With continued practice and the flow of the movements and Qi (as your energy is called in Chinese), you will release this blockage.

Tai Chi is much more than just exercise, it works with your energy and enhances the natural healing process of your body.

I welcome everyone to my workshops to experience it for yourself. If you can’t attend, send me a private message and we can do an online session. I don’t like to make videos, because you need a teacher to correct your movements. If you do the movements wrong, you will hurt yourself.

Visit my website: http://www.bodymindchallenger.org

“Kathy De Leye. originally from Belgium, has been in China since 2008 where she has been studying Tai Chi ever since. In 2013, she won a gold and silver medal at an international competition in Henan, China. She received a high score in both the traditional and sword form at the Tai Chi World Championship in 2014, respectively 8.65 for her traditional form and 8.88 for her sword form.
Her aim is to let everyone know the benefits of Tai Chi.”