Hi there! I am Felix from Germany and my China adventure began 10 years ago.
大家好！我是来自德国的 Felix，我的中国之旅 10 年前就启程啦。
In 2012, I was invited by a professor from Xiamen University to teach design workshops here for second year students. When I came to China first, I travelled with my German friend David. We traveled through China for a good four weeks, and then we landed in Xiamen where we stayed.
2012 年，我受一位厦门大学教授的邀请，为大二学生讲授设计工作坊。当时是我第一次来到中国，我和德国朋友 David 一起旅行。我们在中国玩了四个星期，然后在厦门落脚，住了下来。
10 years ago, Xiamen was kind of blooming, in the sense that it was seen as a very creative, and a little bit romantic place. There were couples traveling to Xiamen to walk along the beach. In the Zengcuo’an area, there were lots of indie concerts from small Chinese bands, and then paddle boarding started. There was a small beach resort there called Daring Duck, which had water sports facilities, a restaurant, a bar, and cozy areas to chill. That business was just starting, so we could go sailing and paddle boarding, and chill near Huangdao Road, with all those picturesque palm trees.
10 年前，厦门正在蓬勃发展，这里是一个富有创造力的地方，带有一点浪漫的氛围。情侣们会来厦门旅游，沿着海滩散步。许多小乐队在曾厝垵开独立演唱会，单桨冲浪运动也如火如荼地开展。那里有一个小型海滩度假村，叫“大胆鸭”（Daring Duck），水上运动设施丰富，还有餐厅、酒吧以及舒适的休闲区。那时候我们的工作刚刚起步，所以有空出海划船，在环岛路附近休息，欣赏如画的棕榈树。
As for my name — as you may know — many foreigners adopt a Chinese name so that it is easier to blend in with the locals. Some foreign names have translations or transliterations into Chinese. Sometimes, if they don’t, it’s usually language teachers or local friends who help foreigners choose a name. For David it was easy, but that was not the case for me. The story behind my Chinese name goes like this: people couldn’t pronounce Felix, and there is no name that has a similar meaning to Felix (from Latin, “the lucky one, the happy one”). I was with my wife, May, and we used a phone app where you put in all your data, when you were born, and it will spit out a few names suggestions. There was a list of around 40 names or so, so we chose the one that was close to the original meaning. And I thought it was kind of cool that people call me 达乐, meaning “happy.” Then, I adopted my wife’s family name 韩 (Han).
谈谈我的名字。许多外国人会取个中文名，以便融入当地人。有些外国名字可以直接翻译或音译成中文。如果行不通，中文老师或当地朋友会帮着取中文名。对 David 来说，取一个中文名非常容易，但对我而言，情况就大不相同了。讲讲我的取名历程：人们不会读 “Felix”，而且没有与 Felix（来自拉丁语，”幸运的人，快乐的人”）含义接近的名字。我和妻子 May 使用一个手机 App 取名，只要输入你的数据，包括你的生日，就会生成一些推荐名字。这个 App 生成了大约 40 个名字，我们选择了与原意接近的一个。我觉得叫“达乐”有点酷，意思是“快乐”。然后，我借用了妻子的姓氏“韩”。
I met my wife May at a bar I had opened with my friend. It was called Amoy Brau, and it was located on Daxue Road near the University campus. She came with a friend of hers. She doesn’t even drink beer, or alcohol for that matter. I cooked some Western dishes for her, and somehow we ended up together. Probably because she was helping a great deal setting up Fat Fat Beer Horse brewery at the time, and we spent a lot of time together. I love that she’s a very natural girl. She accepts me for who I am, and that’s actually the point.
我和朋友一起开了一家酒吧，在那里认识了我的妻子 May。那家酒吧叫 Amoy Brau，位于厦大附近的大学路。当时 May 是和她朋友一起来的。她不喝啤酒，含酒精的饮料都不喝。我给她做了一些西餐，不知为何最后我们在一起了。可能是因为当时我正在装修“胖胖啤酒马”酒厂，她帮了很大的忙，我们也经常在一起。她是一个很朴实的女孩，我非常爱她。她接受了我这个人，这才是最重要的。
Currently, we live in Xiang’an district, a more rural area of Xiamen, on the inland. We moved here because I had had enough of working in a bar. There was too much drinking involved, and too much of the same kind of vibe all the time… Then I was kind of free, and an Italian friend of mine, Lisa, who lived in Xiang’an campus, had rented an old house and opened some kind of café. I helped her to decorate it a little bit, and that’s how I learned there were some old houses available for rent, and that there were international and local students in that area.
目前，我们住在翔安区，这是厦门一个更偏向于内陆的农村地区。我们搬到这里是因为我已经受够了在酒吧工作。每天都喝很多酒，每天的氛围都一样……后来我终于获得些许自由，我有一个意大利朋友 Lisa，住在翔安校区，租了一个老房子开咖啡馆。我帮她稍微装修了一下，就这样我才知道翔安有一些老房子待租，而且那里生活着许多留学生和本地学生。Then, a local friend said to me: “Hey, let’s have a few beers in Xiang’an district. I have an old house there that can be rented out,” and I thought that it sounded like a good plan.
I spent a night in the old stone house and I thought it was so relaxing, and so cool. So I asked May, my wife, “What do you think, should we go to the countryside and experiment a little bit? Maybe open a bar or a restaurant?” And May said, “Sounds good to me, I work online so I’m fine with that.” I did a bit of research about what students here would like to eat and they said as long as there’s cheese on it, it’s all good. So I thought, pizza sounds good. There’s lots of cheese on it. Then I started doing research about pizza, like which flours and what cheese to use. I bought some stuff, and actually, the house I was renting already had a kitchen built, with an oven, so it was perfect.
我在老旧的石屋里呆了一晚上，这里太舒服，太棒了。所以我问妻子：”你怎么想，我们是不是应该去乡下看一看，实地考察一下？也许可以开个酒吧或餐馆？”May 说：”听起来不错，我线上办公，没问题。”我调查了一下这里学生的饮食偏好，他们说只要上面有芝士就行。披萨是一个很好的选项，上面有很多芝士。然后我开始研究怎么做比萨，比如用什么面粉和芝士。我采购了一些东西，我租的房子有厨房，还有烤箱，太完美了。Then, step by step, I bought more things, and people started coming. In the first year, we had so many international students. We had Thai students coming often, so I asked them to teach us how to cook their local delicacies, to cater to the international students. The idea was to build a place for everyone to feel welcome in Xiang’an. A home away from home, which is still our slogan.
Every month, the Yellow Stone House got better and better, so it gave me confidence that I’m doing the right thing. Now, the international students are basically gone, and I’ve realized that I have to make more dishes to cater to both international and local friends. We have turned into a family restaurant. Lots of people from the surrounding area come with their kids, who love spaghetti, sausage, pork knuckle, and all our other specialties. This is how we built our home in Xiamen and a quite successful restaurant in Xiang’an district.