Chapter 48: The Pressures of an Unmarried Chinese man in the Countryside

I wondered why Er Ge — the second oldest brother of John, my Chinese boyfriend — was so painfully quiet. Learning his story was like a window into the pressures of young unmarried Chinese in the countryside.

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Chapter 47: A Picture of My Chinese Boyfriend’s Family

Even as I shot a photo of John’s family during Chinese New Year, I still didn’t see have the entire picture of his family — until I showed them pictures of my own.

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Chapter 46: Cold Nights in the Chinese Countryside

I never felt such a bitter cold until I went to my Chinese boyfriend’s countryside hometown for Chinese New Year — and discovered I was too embarrassed to ask for more warmth at night, afraid his parents would look down on me.

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Ask the Yangxifu: Your Chinese Boyfriend’s Parents Say No?

A European girl, who came to China to mend her heartbreak, found love in a Chinese man — but not his parents, who refuse to accept a foreign girl dating their son. Ask the Yangxifu offers advice on how to understand, and overcome, parental refusal.

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Chapter 45: Paying Respects and Pondering Family

I followed John, my Chinese boyfriend, and his two older brothers as they paid respects at their ancestor’s grave during Chinese New Year. As I stood aside and took pictures, I wondered just how close — or how far — I was from their family.

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Chapter 44: Finding Comfort In a Strange Chinese Countryside

I felt like an anachronism visiting my Chinese boyfriend’s countryside home for the first time, with everything so strange to me. Yet, I was surprised to discover an unusual gesture his parents made, to make me feel welcome and comfortable.

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Chapter 43: Going to John’s China Hometown

John’s ancestors come from the area near Huangshan — one of China’s most impressive mountains. But his family lives in a countryside ravaged by economic development. I see this first-hand when I visit during Chinese New Year, 2003.

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Chapter 42: New Clothes for Chinese New Year

In Chinese New Year, wearing new clothes means a new beginning. One night, after losing my job, I commission a new Chinese-style outfit, in the hopes of a new beginning with John’s parents — and, eventually, with my career.

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Chapter 41: Losing Jobs and Gaining Chinese Friends

As I lost my job in the Chinese Internet company, Frank, my ex-Chinese boyfriend, became closer to management. I never thought Frank would understand, and didn’t see how we could stay friends, until one harried night when I left the company.

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