8 Surprising Things I've Learned from Living in China's Countryside | Speaking of China

48 Responses

  1. Harland
    Harland March 24, 2014 at 7:46 am | | Reply

    Why aren’t you pregnant yet? Isn’t that traditional Chinese? Infertile or something?

    1. Sara
      Sara March 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm | | Reply

      Harland. are you lacking some manners or something?

    2. HadiSS
      HadiSS May 13, 2014 at 8:26 am | | Reply

      Harland,
      If you’re not happy with anybody or anything here, you’re welcome to stay away or keep quiet. I don’t think anyone here needs your presence or comment.

      Jocelyn,
      Would you please remove and ban Harland’s IP address permanently? I’m pretty sure most of us, if not all, are not comfortable with someone like him/her.

      Thank You

  2. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian March 24, 2014 at 9:36 am | | Reply

    Happy that you have adapted so well to living in rural China with your hubby and your in-laws and that you are happy and feel so loved by all. I agree that sun-kissed laundry smells so good and that wood-fired wok cooked food tastes so much better, though nowadays most everyone use gas or electric stoves for cooking.

  3. MM
    MM March 24, 2014 at 10:02 am | | Reply

    This also shows that we can (when we have to and if we want to) do without modern day mod cons and keep it (life) simple.

    My mother from when I can remember ( whether living in the suburbs or on land) always kept chickens, has a vegetable garden, baked her own bread, line dried the laundry, uses herbs and some wild flowers for medicinal purposes and milks the goats to make her own cheese. She has a wood stove so in winter she stocks it up with wood that keeps the house warm all day.

    She lives simply but happily.

  4. Laura
    Laura March 24, 2014 at 11:12 am | | Reply

    Thanks once again for sharing your thoughts Jocelyn.
    I specially like last point, so true, we can take a place and make it our own home.

  5. Grace mineta
    Grace mineta March 24, 2014 at 11:43 am | | Reply

    I love this 🙂
    You sound like you’re having a great time!!

    I’m also living with the inlaws and it’s a LOT more fun than I imagined 🙂

  6. Marta
    Marta March 24, 2014 at 6:30 pm | | Reply

    You look so happy! I have thought sometimes that I would like to leave everything behind and live in the countryside, but I think I will be bored after a few days. I like big cities, crowds, window watching, subways… Maybe it is because I grew up in a small town with very few people, almost the countryside!

    I am curious that you had never sundried the clothes. What did you do then? Drying machine? I have never used that!

    Regarding your question… I had never expected to live in China! haha.

  7. Bruce
    Bruce March 24, 2014 at 10:55 pm | | Reply

    I love country lifestyle. We’re living in a rat race society and it’s tiring .

  8. lenore look
    lenore look March 25, 2014 at 3:58 am | | Reply

    Love this! I’m so happy for you :). What a wonderful gift you’re sharing with us. Love all your photos too! Keep ’em coming! Thank you, Joss!

  9. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen March 25, 2014 at 8:49 am | | Reply

    I love this post, Jocelyn. What a wonderful family you married into! And wow! Your mother-in-law has an enormous wok.

    My mom used to hang clothes outside on nice days. Sometimes I helped her when I was a kid. It was a pleasant activity.

    Beautiful countryside. In my opinion, one of the most important things in deciding where to live is choosing a place with good walks.

  10. PaolaC
    PaolaC March 25, 2014 at 9:22 am | | Reply

    Great post! Great to see hear about the joys and surprises of your new life. Love does make a difference. Ultimately that might be the key that opens ‘home’ for us.

    I am curious about your in-laws not allowing you to do any housework. In Europe that’s often the line between being a guest and one of the family. On the other hand, in Chinese culture the xifu is normally expected to work a great deal right from the start. Something very different is going on in your loving household and my logic does not apply. Can you shed some light?

  11. Sarah
    Sarah March 25, 2014 at 5:35 pm | | Reply

    I think we may have been neighbores. I grew up in Hudson so I am curious which all white suburb you were referring to! I think you have embraced your new family and lifestyle in a beautiful way. Not everyone could adapt as you have. Thanks for sharing!

  12. AG
    AG March 26, 2014 at 1:06 am | | Reply

    This looks all familiar since I grew up in China countryside (northern China). In north, the condition is even tougher especially in winter.

  13. Laura
    Laura March 26, 2014 at 8:35 am | | Reply

    Till now I have only sundried clothes all my life so I didn’t get that point till now 😉

  14. Definitely Maybe
    Definitely Maybe March 26, 2014 at 10:33 am | | Reply

    Yeah, Americans are somewhat unique in that most of their drying of laundry is done by the dryer, so the idea of hanging clothes out on clotheslines is alien to many of them. In fact, I don’t think many Americans have clotheslines out in their backyards anymore.

    1. M
      M February 3, 2016 at 12:14 am | | Reply

      Unless you’re from Hawaii! Lots of clotheslines there 🙂

  15. Suzanne Warr
    Suzanne Warr March 26, 2014 at 11:05 am | | Reply

    This was a lovely post, and a fascinating insight! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Sveta
    Sveta March 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm | | Reply

    I’m surprised to be living in America and to be enjoying Korean culture.

  17. Timo
    Timo March 26, 2014 at 7:12 pm | | Reply

    It is easy to forget how drying clothes in the fresh air feels so much better somehow.
    But I am always wondering in China or to be more precise in the countryside without the heating systems. Why they just don’t build more isolated and/or build fireplaces which absorb the heat and keep it for several hours to half day. I mean in Finland we have some very old houses (wooden log houses) which were built that way over 100years ago by farmers and I doubt they had any more skills than people living these days

  18. Eileen黃愛玲
    Eileen黃愛玲 March 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm | | Reply

    My husband was shocked that my family usually hangs out clothes out to dry. We do have a clothes line. We might use a dryer during the cold, winter days. There were times where there were so much snow, we couldn’t hang them out to dry.

    My husband was also shocked when he walked in the home, he had to take off his shoes. 😀 “Your family takes off the shoes?” “Yes, always,” I said to him.

    All of this reminds me of Maine somehow. My grandmother used wood to keep her house warm, though.

    My husband (especially my husband) and I never thought we would ever live in China but it’s a pretty great adventure, to say the least (despite my husband still find it rather hard to adapt). Maybe one day I will write my own list what I’ve learned. We’ll see. 🙂 Where you live is quite beautiful, by the way.

  19. gaffer
    gaffer March 28, 2014 at 6:57 pm | | Reply

    My wife is from a small village in Jillin province in the north. No solar water heating there but a rubber bag full of water on top of the outdoor shower hut does warm up enough water for a shower on a sunny day. Don’t ask about winter showers, it gets VERY cold up there. They have a similar style wok but no wood there so fueled by dried corn stalks. The wok chimney is fed through the rooms warming the brick/concrete beds in each room. This “dais” is also used for sitting and eating on. As the first “laowai” ever to set foot in the village I was warmly welcomed and during our visit we “dined out” every evening as the guests of friends and relatives.

  20. Ephraim
    Ephraim April 29, 2014 at 11:34 pm | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn,
    I’m a Brazilian that also lives in China (Shaanxi) contryside since 2010. Very nice to read your posts and found that I live many similar situations over here.
    Best Wishes to you and your family
    Ephraim 雷福
    马召县-虎峪村

  21. Tomy D
    Tomy D June 3, 2015 at 12:06 am | | Reply

    hi Jocelyn,
    Just find your website when looking for some tips about real countryside in Zhejiang province. Currently living in Shanghai, I am looking for some genuine get away in the countryside. And I would love to know where in Zhejiang is the area you’re living in. Also any tips about nice countryside area in Zhejiang is welcomed. Thanks !

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