As we move to Hangzhou, we're feeling the love (and support) from family in China | Speaking of China

46 Responses

  1. Sveta
    Sveta May 26, 2014 at 7:55 am | | Reply

    Good luck with the move and your in-laws sound awesome by the way!

  2. Grace Buchele Mineta
    Grace Buchele Mineta May 26, 2014 at 8:13 am | | Reply

    Congrats on your move!
    Lucky you that y’all got all your appliances already. What a nice mother in law 🙂

  3. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary
    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary May 26, 2014 at 10:03 am | | Reply

    May 27th? That’s tomorrow!! Congrats on the move! I guess the next time we hear from you, you will be writing us from your new place in the city!!!

    My husband’s family are the same way. They go out of their way to help each other. Borrowing money is never a problem, asking for something is never an issue and best of all, no timeline is given to return it and nothing is expected in return.

    And I am like you, I sometimes don’t know how to respond to their generosity. And for me, it is the little things that mean the most. Like my mother-in-law buying shaved ice for us on a hot day, bringing over barbeque corn when we are going to watch a movie at our place, or buying gifts upon gifts during her many travels!!

  4. Marta
    Marta May 26, 2014 at 11:09 am | | Reply

    My dad is coming to visit us, he is arriving on Wednesday and yesterday my boyfriend’s mum called to tell me that she had new beddings and pillows prepared, that I didn’t need to buy any for my dad’s stay. So cute, haha.
    Good luck with the move! But you don’t need it, as you will be moving on an officially approved auspicious day 😀

  5. Sara
    Sara May 26, 2014 at 11:35 am | | Reply

    Good luck to the move tomorrow!

    Like you, I usually feel embarrassed when the topic of money comes up. Before I visited Finland this January my in-laws gave me a thick envelope of RMB to buy gifts for my family. I returned the money to them as it was way too much, but then just a day or two of my flight from HK they came back with a thick envelope and now it was full of Hong Kong dollars. I didn’t know how to politely turn it away again so I accepted and that same envelope lasted me three trips to Hong Kong.

  6. Ashleigh Son
    Ashleigh Son May 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm | | Reply

    Yay! Congrats on the upcoming move. John’s family sounds so generous. I would be touched….. Hope all goes well, and keep us updated!

  7. D-Maybe
    D-Maybe May 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm | | Reply

    Yeah, the boundary between Chinese parents and their adult children is either unclear or non-existent. The result of this for Westerners who are married to a Chinese is that they may get a lot of intrusions into their “private” affairs. The flip side, however, is that the Westerners may also receive a lot of generous assistance, as Jocelyn demonstrates here.

    Hope everything goes smoothly with your move, Jocelyn.

  8. Kane
    Kane May 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm | | Reply

    Oh how Jo and I dread moving, now with a young bub we can’t even begin to imagine the horror 🙂 but we do hope everything goes according to plans for you and John. Hangzhou is a beautiful city and you will certainly enjoy it.

    Now D-Maybe has touched on the subject of Chinese parents in law, I would like to throw in my 2 cents on this as a Chinese son with a Western fiancee.
    The intrusive and authoritative Chinese mother in law figure has scorched such an inprint in the back of the mind of many a “xifu”, that reputation now far precedes them as it landed on foreign shores across the seven seas, how true is it? I cannot tell you from any personal experiences, but I do not for one second doubt that MILs as such certainly exist, in China, the rest of East Asia and to a smaller extend, other parts of the world.
    Now let’s talk about the relationship between me and my mother, she has possibly, the most bubbly personality I’ve ever known in a person, in contrast, Jo, my wonderful fiancee, is some what more reserved, I’m not saying that she won’t open up herself but not without some time has been invested in getting to know someone. Yet the two women got on famously the first day they’d met, despite the language and culture barriers, my mother would cook, accommodate, offer to treat and do the washings for a girl her son has just brough home from somewhere far away, because she’d already knew that Jo wasn’t just “a girl”, she respected my choice without any doubt, she and Jo would share a mutual respect that would put them on equal footing right from the beginning. We would decide on a days activities as a family, Jo was included right from the start, and her inputs would outweigh mine, she was consultated on meals, shopping, attractions to visit, in whole, their acceptance of Jo into this family has been a smooth and enjoyable transition for all parties involved.

    So to the girls out there who are considering marrying your Chinese man, don’t be put off by what you hear or perceive of your potential Chinese MILs, there is a lot of Chinese families out there that are just as dynamic and loving as any other country you care to name, experience a little, quite often the rewards are totally worth it.

  9. Eileen黃愛玲
    Eileen黃愛玲 May 26, 2014 at 4:50 pm | | Reply

    How exciting! Hangzhou is beautiful! 🙂

    I can relate, my husband’s family is the same. It’s pretty refreshing as somebody who spend a lot of her childhood in foster homes.

  10. chinaelevatorstories
    chinaelevatorstories May 26, 2014 at 6:30 pm | | Reply

    All the best for the move!

    It’s great to have a support network like your in-laws and husband’s relatives.

  11. Anna
    Anna May 26, 2014 at 6:50 pm | | Reply

    Precious! I can relate to everything you have said.
    This is one of the reasons I will be moving down to rural China with my husband next month. His family will be just half an hour away. And their love and support just give me so much strength, something I would never get back in Germany. I love my mom in Germany, but it’s just different. For the next few years we will need more support. I am excited and also afraid about the new step I am about to take.
    I wish you all the best for your new life in Hangzhou!

  12. ordinary malaysian
    ordinary malaysian May 26, 2014 at 7:32 pm | | Reply

    Glad to hear that your Chinese part of the family are so loving. We would do the same too for family and not think much about helping each other without hesitation when there is a need or even think of a “deadline’ for the return of any “favour” because we just know that help is there for all in need. That’s just part of being family. Right, we may not be too much into hugging or verbally expressing our love for each other but we show it just the same in other ways, much like what you have described. Having moving!

    1. ordinary malaysian
      ordinary malaysian May 28, 2014 at 11:30 pm | | Reply

      oops, should have read ” Happy moving and take care!”

  13. Hadiss
    Hadiss May 27, 2014 at 7:19 am | | Reply


    Congrats for your move and best wishes for your new life in Hangzhou.

  14. 孟樂嵐
    孟樂嵐 May 27, 2014 at 7:50 am | | Reply

    I totally understand this post. When I’m in China my friends and I are always commanding each other to accept insane amounts of cash from each other. This never happens in the US.

  15. Susan
    Susan May 27, 2014 at 8:03 am | | Reply

    Congratulations on your upcoming move (actually I think it is the 27th there by now so it really isn’t upcoming anymore); I hope it leads to more new and exciting blog entries!

  16. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen May 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm | | Reply

    It’s a delight to read about such a generous family–equally good to read about your appreciation of them. I hope you’ll enjoy your walks in Hangzhou as much as you’ve enjoyed them in the countryside.

  17. Fred
    Fred May 28, 2014 at 12:50 am | | Reply

    @ J.E.

    Wow! I know all about money. My parents and family gave me those red envelopes also when I and my Brazilian wife were getting married.

    I cannot believe that you are leaving the village life to go to the big city. I wish you and your husband nothing but the very best. I hope that you two will flourish and prosper.

    Plesae don’t forget that we all expect you to be pregnant soon and give the ultimate gift (child) to yourselves and your in-laws.


  18. Bruce
    Bruce May 28, 2014 at 6:47 am | | Reply

    I’ve been telling you guys for years that Chinese families are very close and supportive but nobody listened to me. Now, you understand where I’m coming from.


  19. Yabin
    Yabin May 28, 2014 at 8:56 am | | Reply

    First of all I want to say that Hangzhou is one of my favorite cities in China; It’s the first city I know in China that cars will wait for pedestrians to pass first.

    From your blog I see a similar me, except that we are in swapped position. I grow up in Chinese culture and somehow grew a rebelling attitude towards it. While I am in the States, I see how everything is distinctively different from my home country, and I feel somehow liberated from the chains that used to bundle me. Literally I told my parents to stop giving me money! Because “American parents never do that unless their kids ask”. Haha, sounds familiar (But they keep giving anyway)?

    Now I am less judgmental about cultures. But one thing I did benefit from experiencing American culture, is that I get the chance to see Chinese culture from a very different angle. Reading your blog is also part of this process. I am not saying that I become appreciative of Chinese people’s insane drinking manner — I still don’t; But seeing how you react to the same things that I also encountered (Buying things for you unexpectedly; Picking up lucky days; Giving money without you asking) with totally different attitude do somehow stop my auto-pilot mode. It forcibly reveals my hidden assumptions about my own culture; A small “A-Ha!” moment.

    Anyway, it’s always good to be with the things you like. Just like the recent popular slogan narrated by Han Han, “和你喜欢的一切在一起”. Haha. Hangzhou is awesome, so have fun and best of luck!

  20. SBB
    SBB May 28, 2014 at 10:43 am | | Reply

    My in-laws were extremely generous hosts when we visited them and insisted on paying for us even though their means are extremely limited. They always ask if we need money when my wife calls them. They’re also fairly progressive in their views (my father-in-law is extremely anti “feudal superstition” such as fengshui, TCM, or yijing, and they neither expect nor want to live with us eventually). On the other hand, I didn’t have to grow up with them as parents and there are reasons why my wife is quite happy to have an ocean between us and them.

  21. jodee
    jodee May 28, 2014 at 6:33 pm | | Reply

    the good ole chinese culture is incredible. i am glad you got some help to make the transition easier for john and you. ican’t wait to see your blogs from the city.

  22. PaolaC
    PaolaC May 30, 2014 at 8:33 am | | Reply

    What a great story! I can feel all the warmth and your surprise and happiness.
    Happy settling in your new home!

    PS if you are Italian, you get the material support AND the cuddles! 😉

  23. Timo
    Timo May 30, 2014 at 10:01 pm | | Reply

    Moving is always exciting, I hope everything went well. I am not looking forward to our move from Finland as we have to sell alot of furniture to make the whole process cheaper…

  24. PaolaC
    PaolaC June 1, 2014 at 9:27 am | | Reply

    Jocelyn, I am also preparing for an epic move: relocating to Europe after many years in China and move in with my boyfriend.

    We’ve got a rice cooker and kitchen equipment… now.. could you pass on the details of that little book, the Farmer’s Almanac? I don’t generally think of myself as ‘superstitious’ (maybe nobody does?!), but when taking a 8000km step, it is nice to think that we’ll have The Universe on our side 😉

  25. Sarah
    Sarah June 2, 2014 at 4:57 pm | | Reply

    Hope you have a great move to Hangzhou! It really is a very beautiful and interesting city. 🙂

  26. D-Maybe
    D-Maybe June 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm | | Reply


    Thanks for the information. I actually wasn’t sure what to call the almanac in Chinese to direct you to the right place. In the end, I went with 農曆 because I figured that you couldn’t go wrong with it.

    The calendar I’ve got at home right now is exactly like the one you describe: it has the dates indicated for both the Gregorian and the Lunar calendars. My mom gets these calendars for free at her local Chinese grocery store, and she gets angry/frustrated if she misses out on them. 🙂

  27. marghini
    marghini June 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm | | Reply

    Jocelyn your Chinese family seems great! What a luck to be married to a man with such a caring and nice attitude towards you. Oh you know it is not always like that! I am sure you are just as lovely with them, I can feel it from the way talk about these people.

    PS: I mentioned you on my newborn blog as an inspirational blog to follow, I hope you are okay with it!

Leave a Reply