4 Habits I’ve Learned from my Chinese Husband | Speaking of China

21 Responses

  1. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary
    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary January 5, 2015 at 9:21 am | | Reply

    I am not entirely sure if I learned this from my husband or from Taiwan in general, but hanging my clothes outside on hangers to dry was a first for me when I arrived in Taiwan. However, I quickly learned that the system works and the clothes dry in no time. Plus, you can’t beat the smell of ‘fresh air’ on your clothes or freshly washed bed sheets!!

  2. Tony Chow
    Tony Chow January 5, 2015 at 9:24 am | | Reply

    Thanks for another interesting post, Jocelyn. Yours is one of the most interesting China blogs I’ve ever come across, and I go through a lot of them!

    Good tip about the soup+fried rice combo. It is indeed delicious!

    Instead of having soup along with the fried rice, my habit is to always pour soup into the rice. This was actually a frequent trick of the Chinese chefs on the erstwhile Japanese smash-hit cooking show “Iron Chef”. When I first tried it, I instantly realized that they had good reasons to do so. Somehow the combination tastes twice as good as either soup or rice by themselves. I think it has something to do with the liquid allowing your tastebuds to make better contact with the flavor compounds.

  3. R Zhao
    R Zhao January 5, 2015 at 11:34 am | | Reply

    I just can’t do toilet seat covers. They gross me out. I had to put up quite a stink to get him to go cover less. He was scared of a cold butt!

    I am all about the slippers. I also have my “outdoor” and “indoor” clothes. Never go on the bed with the outdoor clothes! And of course, long underwire in the winter!

    I’m not a big tea drinker, although I do like it, coffee is still my go-to. I tend to drink warm water in the winter now. It seems strange to me that in the US we drink ice water all year.

  4. MM
    MM January 5, 2015 at 12:56 pm | | Reply

    @ R Zhao
    Agree with you about drinking hot/warm water in winter. I have a thermos at work which I drink hot water out of, and when I go out on factory visits I always take it with me. I’m a big fan of hot water and ginger.

  5. Yabin
    Yabin January 5, 2015 at 2:44 pm | | Reply

    Before I came to United States, I never knew that taking shoes off before going indoor is an East Asia habit.

    I was taught to do this, like you mentioned, to keep the house clean. But I have always been wondering, how come the Korean parents and Japanese parents have exactly the same idea? How do these parents come up with the same idea without even communicating with each other?

    And I also wondered why there is no such habit in America. Maybe it’s because America is very clean? But Japan is also very clean. Well, I don’t know. I guess this is one of those little things that would remain mysterious through out my life. 🙂

    1. robert
      robert January 5, 2015 at 3:39 pm | | Reply

      In Japan and Korea people often sit on the floor in their homes – think of the Japanese tatami floors. You don’t want to sit where you first walked around with dirty shoes – even if it’s just dusty and not other dirt.

      I’m not quite sure how this translates to China. The only thing that comes to mind even closely related to Korean / Japanese habits is the northern Chinese “kang”, which is an elevated big area which can be heated and serves as bed, but also as place to sit together and eat.

  6. Laura
    Laura January 5, 2015 at 8:05 pm | | Reply

    Yes to all!
    In my home we always used slipers so that was a habit for the two of us..but seat covers…T bought one this year for 5rmb, he was super excited. I don´t use it but he does

  7. Sarah
    Sarah January 5, 2015 at 8:47 pm | | Reply

    Great piece, gave me a few giggles 🙂

    I agree about the slipper habit, I feel uncomfortable now wearing shoes past the threshold, and my family too have all embraced the guest slippers provided by the door in our house.

    I can’t get on board with the toilet seat cover either! I just feel like with splashes it’ll need to be washed so frequently, or am I doing it wrong??

    Also, yes to hot water! I’ve not quite mastered the loose leaves but was thrilled to find disposable empty tea bags so you can mix loose leaf teas together but not spit leaves.

  8. chinaelevatorstories
    chinaelevatorstories January 5, 2015 at 8:48 pm | | Reply

    In Austria, it’s also common to take off your shoes when entering someone’s home. We do still run around in socks or barefoot a lot. My husband always reminds me to wear slippers not to have cold qi enter my body.

    I’ve also started drinking hot water. I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t like drinking cold water anymore.

  9. Eileen黃愛玲
    Eileen黃愛玲 January 5, 2015 at 9:20 pm | | Reply

    My Grandmother had a habit of taking off her shoes when she enters the home and it passed on to my dad. My dad would yell at my brother to take off his sneakers in the house. When my husband visited my home, he was shocked when he saw all of our shoes all lined up. I honestly didn’t learn that habit from my husband.

    I asked my husband what has changed the most about me and he said my diet. It completely changed. His words, “You eat like me.” xD

  10. Charlotte
    Charlotte January 6, 2015 at 8:27 am | | Reply

    Neat post!
    I’ve learned to wear slippers, too. My family still refuses when they visit; they go barefoot!
    Hubby’s also taught me to have “indoor” and “outdoor” clothes. Somedays I change clothes four or five times…just switching back and forth between outfits…but that’s what he grew up doing and his family does.

  11. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen January 6, 2015 at 12:16 pm | | Reply

    I love loose leaf tea, but I usually use a strainer.

    My husband taught me lots of cooking techniques–how to handle a butcher knife, the benefits of using ginger root, how to choose the freshest fish and seafood. He taught me how to fight for the bill in a restaurant. (I’m still not very good at it. Our daughters are better.)

  12. Sorrel
    Sorrel January 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm | | Reply

    I used to bring tissues with me all the time anyway, now I bring even more and also now carry hand wipes and hand sanitizer.
    Before China, I would remove my shoes when entering my home anyway, but now in the evening (during winter) if I know I am not going out again, I change into my evening ‘pyjamas’ – so comfortable I have converted some of my family members.
    I drink more tea now – because of the greater variety available. And it is as refreshing cold as it is warm. Can’t do this with Indian tea.

  13. Mary
    Mary January 7, 2015 at 6:56 am | | Reply

    I love this list! I can relate to so many items on here! (Although thankfully, I never had to use the toilet seat cover, haha! But I agree, with no central heating in southern China the toilet seat is like an icicle).

    Another habit I picked up from China is eating a healthy balance of food. One meat dish, one rice/noodle dish, one vegetable dish and a soup! If I don’t have a fully balanced meal (vegetable dish, rice, and a main course..) when eating at the dinner table or going out, I feel like something is lacking. It was really appalling to come back to the USA where fried rice and noodles are usually eaten together, and the white rice gets doused in soy sauce. Not to mention Americans surprisingly eat very little to no vegetables!

    I love your socks by the way!

  14. Sandeep
    Sandeep January 7, 2015 at 6:11 pm | | Reply

    Write about your sexual experiences with Chinese guys.Should be interesting.

    1. Fred
      Fred January 8, 2015 at 8:10 am | | Reply

      @ Sandeep.

      Yes, I agree that she should write something about it. It would be interesting to read a Western woman’s opinion on this subject. So, Jocelyn, if you are reading this post now, please indulge us and tell us. I cannot wait to read about it.

  15. Anna
    Anna January 8, 2015 at 8:45 am | | Reply

    I really had to laugh when I saw the toilet seat cover! Not because I am against it, but because right before I went online to check new posts, my husband and me went out to get a new more comfortable cover for our toilet! Honestly, everyone who has lived in a place in China without central heating (and where it still is under zero degree during winter!) will appreciate the seat cover! It is not just the shock of the ice cold toilet seat, but it is also very unhealthy to sit on such a cold surface! My Chinese mother-in-law could tell you some interesting stories about cold butts and the consequences haha

    Anyhow, I think it is great that we learn from each other and adapt useful habits. I am not sure what habits I have adapted over the years. I would really have to sit down and think for a while. It has just been such a long time that I cannot remember anymore if I already did those things before meeting my husband or if he influenced me. They just became a part of me and my life.

  16. Bruce
    Bruce January 8, 2015 at 10:35 am | | Reply

    Yes, write more about the sexual experience so I’ll be horny again 🙂 lol. I doubt it that she’ll write that kind of stuff again. Hurry, I’m drooling !

    1. Fred
      Fred January 9, 2015 at 1:29 am | | Reply

      @ Bruce.

      Don’t count Jocelyn out. Maybe she will indulge our prurient interest in the subject during this New Year.


  17. Yocelyn
    Yocelyn January 9, 2015 at 4:18 pm | | Reply

    I use to think having soup on the side was weird too. Now I need it for everything. We use soup as a beverage for our meals. Taking shoes off took some time to get use to. Overtime it has become second nature to me. I don’t think about it or question it. Except sometimes people find it weird now when I take off my shoes when visiting their homes. I forget not everyone does this…

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