AMWF History: Chinese Surgeon Qiu Fazu and His German Wife Loni Saved Jewish Prisoners During World War II

It’s April 30, 1945, a little over a week before unconditional surrender by Germany and the declaration of Victory Europe Day, ending World War II in Europe. Qiu Fazu, a German-educated Chinese surgeon, is the attending physician at a hospital in the Bavarian region of southern Germany. Suddenly, a nurse calls him to come out to the street in front of the hospital, where Qiu Fazu discovers a group of Jewish prisoners from a concentration camp, guarded by the SS. A death march. Here’s an account from The BMJ:

…Qiu remembered clearly that he was getting ready to operate when a nurse shouted that there were many prisoners from a concentration camp lying outside. He ran out of his room with his operation cap on, as he had already learnt what happened in the camp. More than 40 ragged prisoners were squatting down on the ground in the corner of a street. Sick and weak, they could not move any further. The SS troops standing there shouted at them and ordered them to stand up.

“I was shocked that they were not able to move any further,” Qiu recalled. He summoned up his courage and told the troops, “These prisoners have typhoid fever. Let me take them away.” The prisoners were released, and the doctors led them to the basement, saving their lives with careful nursing.

One of the supporting nurses, a German student named Loni, would become more to Qiu Fazu than just a colleague at the hospital. The two married soon after the war ended and moved to China in 1946, as he missed his homeland. They would have three children together, surviving the hardships of that tumultuous era known as the Cultural Revolution. The BMJ notes, “Qiu had to clean toilets—‘and this was the only time they were really clean,’ he used to joke. The family had to grow its own food, and he was sent into faraway rural areas to provide medical care for peasants.”

Nevertheless, Qiu Fazu rose to prominence in China, pioneering modern organ transplants in China and authoring a classic textbook on surgery still used in the country. Some have dubbed Qiu, who was a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences from 1975 to 1983, “the father of modern surgery”.

Let’s remember Chinese surgeon Qiu Fazu and his German wife Loni, a couple who once helped save precious lives during World War II.

Guest Post: Kiss and Tell from China and the UK

What’s the difference between dating in China and the UK? Here’s one personal take on that question from Miriam, including the story of how she met her Chinese husband.

Do you have your own “kiss and tell” story you’d like to share here on Speaking of China? Check out the submit a post page to learn more about what we’re looking for.
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The author with her husband and his family.
The author with her husband and his family.

I came to China at the age of 26 and already knew about more divorces than I could count on both hands and feet (including my parents), as well as many more single women my age than married (or happily partnered) ones. I’d also had enough experience with men to know I wasn’t impressed with the dating and marriage culture in the UK.

One evening in the UK I was out having a drink with two female colleagues after work. While I was at the bar, an attractive guy in his late 20s/early 30s came up to me.

“I just got promoted today and I’d love to buy you a drink to celebrate.”

I was flattered by this and looked back at my colleagues to make sure they didn’t mind me being waylaid. The two girls looked back and me with smiles on their faces and motioned for me to keep talking to him.

“Thanks, a gin and tonic would be great.”

We got talking and I found myself thinking: why would this guy not have a girlfriend already? To find out whether he was single or not I casually asked: “So where’s your girlfriend tonight?”

“Oh, she’s at home having a night in with the girls.”

What!?!? And this wasn’t the only time.

For several months a man used to come into my work in the UK just to talk to me. They didn’t seem like especially romantically driven exchanges – he would just ask me how I was and talk about other neutral topics. However, finding myself bored of being single, I took the plunge and asked him out. If he had a girlfriend he would decline and we would go back to regular, friendly chit-chat. I was pleased when he accepted my invitation for coffee, but still had a little doubt in my mind. I decided to act on these doubts and ask directly whether he was seeing anyone else.

“So, do you have a girlfriend?”

“Yes, I have two actually. One’s 25 and the other’s 32.”

I repeat: what?!?!?

He proceeded to talk to me about how much difficulty he had deciding on which girl he should be with, but felt no rush to make a decision about it right away. I was tired of this attitude towards dating, which seemed to be getting more and more common.

The author's husband proposing to her
The author’s husband proposing to her

Before coming to China, I was open to the idea that it might be for the long-term, as my job prospects would be better in China. On researching Chinese culture before I came to China, I was pleased to read about the emphasis on marriage and also pleased about the less liberal attitude towards sex. In saying this, I’m not suggesting that I thought it would be “easy” to get married in China, or that there would be any fewer relationship difficulties than I might have had in the UK. However, just knowing that marriage was valued and that both men and women were strongly encouraged to seek marriage at my age gave me a sense of security and confidence that I hadn’t had before.

I met my husband on a dating website. His profile told me he was 34 and “looking for marriage”. He messaged me first saying something about his surprise seeing a British woman on an Asian dating website and we exchanged a few emails after that. From his emails he was clearly talkative, charming and open-minded (willing to talk about anything from Astrology to books on popular science). And yes, he had excellent English (a very understandable barrier to AM/WF relationships as mentioned on Jocelyn’s blog in different posts). Just over a year after we met he proposed to me on a beach in Qingdao and the following year we got registered as married.

My family in the UK are all delighted for me and I’ve been told numerous times about what an excellent choice of husband I’ve made! My in-laws in China were also incredibly supportive of our relationship from the start and my mother-in-law especially treats me like I’m her flesh and blood daughter. Although we’ve gone through our rough patches, my husband’s complete commitment to the values of marriage and family have made it so much easier to resolve any conflicts or misunderstandings as soon as they occur. We’re both committed to making our future a happy and fulfilling one, even though we both know that a happy marriage takes work. I’m also delighted that my husband is now planning our approaching wedding party in China with as much zeal and enthusiasm as his bride!

partyP.S.: This comparison is just from my experience of living and dating in the UK and China. I do know many happily married British couples from my generation…just not as many as you might expect. Please don’t be offended if you’re a British woman who isn’t the least bit interested in getting married, or a British man who would like nothing more than to walk down the aisle, or a Chinese man who has ‘two girlfriends’ and isn’t looking for a wife!

P.P.S.: If you’ve had similar experiences dating in the West then you may be interested in the book Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game by Jon Birger. Although the book is written about dating in America, many of the points apply to the UK as well.

Miriam is a British woman married to a wonderful Chinese man. Her interests are reading, thinking and writing and she works as a teacher in an international school in China.
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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

Things I’ve Learned from My Chinese Husband: Asia Is Not That United

(Photo by U.S. Army via Flickr.com)
(Photo by U.S. Army via Flickr.com)

Years ago, a fellow blogger with a Chinese husband wrote to me, “I follow some blogs by Western women married to Japanese men. You’d probably like them too.” It was the kind of friendly recommendation that you often get from other bloggers – except it came with a warning. “But shhh, don’t tell our husbands!”

Why did a suggestion to read someone’s blog suddenly get slapped with a cautionary note, as if all blogs written by Western women with Japanese husbands might be hazardous to our health? Simple. Like most Chinese men, her husband didn’t care for Japan – and neither did mine:

“Japan? I never want to visit Japan,”[John] hissed. “I’m anti-Japanese.” He launched into a brief history of Japanese aggression in China, from the first territorial swipes at China during the Sino-Japanese War, to the Second Sino-Japanese War, with Holocaust-like atrocities that Japan had yet to acknowledge publicly.

Yes, my marriage to a Chinese man has taught me a valuable lesson — that Asia is not the great, united, happy family (as some Americans might believe). That “Asians” don’t necessarily like being lumped together.

I didn’t realize the extent to our cultural amnesia about the true state of affairs in Asia until I met and married a man from China. A self-proclaimed “military fan” whose interest went deeper than tanks, submarines and aircraft carriers. A husband who schooled me in the many disagreements, wars and massacres between China and its Asian neighbors.

I’ve learned that Japan has yet to fully acknowledge the “Asian holocaust” it perpetrated against China and others, from the gruesome horrors of Unit 731 to the “comfort women” forced into prostitution. I’ve learned of the skirmish between Vietnam and China that led to a short war. I’ve learned about the border disputes between China and India, serious enough to lead my Lonely Planet guidebooks to print “The external boundaries of India on this map have not been authenticated and may not be correct” on their maps. And now I’ve learned everything there is to know about the emerging military alliance between Japan and the Philippines, especially how it affects China.

In America, we speak of “Asian” cuisine like it’s all the same – as if you could substitute one country for another – never realizing the countries here wouldn’t agree. That the Thai restaurant down the street from my father’s home serving Chinese delicacies alongside a sushi menu would look totally blasphemous to people in China, who still haven’t forgotten what Japan did to them.

I’m reminded of what Alex Tizon wrote about in his memoir Big Little Man:

As a journalist in my twenties and thirties, I wrote extensively about these [Asian] communities. No surprise, I found each group exuberantly complex and instinct, and perceiving themselves as separate from — and often antipathetic to — other Asian ethnicities. The parents and grandparents clove to their countrymen, the Vietnamese with other Vietnamese, Koreans with Koreans, Cambodians with Cambodians.

It was the children and grandchildren, the ones growing up in America, who would find — or be coerced into — common ground. Years of checking “Asian” on countless forms, of being subjected to the same epithets and compliments, of living in the same neighborhoods and housing projects, and sharing similar challenges and aspirations — the most important to become Americanized — all of these would compel young Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Filipinos to accept their belonging to the category known as Asians.

Perhaps the most unifying force was the perception that everyday Americans saw them as the same, and what made them the same was their “racial uniform,” to use a term coined by sociologist Robert Park. The uniform was thought to consist of a certain eye and nose shape, hair and skin color, and body type, usually shorter and skinnier — identifiers of the Yellow or Mongoloid or Oriental and finally now the Asian race.

…We Asians were now in the same boat. Our uniform did not lie. Like Lisa said on the Grand Concourse: Japanese, Chinese, Filipino — same thing!

Yep, this is what happened in America – we just clustered everything from Asia together, and assumed that it was one great unified map. Never realizing that it was one great lie.

Asia isn’t that great, united land where countries always peacefully coexist. But that doesn’t mean friendships don’t happen to cross unlikely borders. After all, even if he still dislikes Japan’s government, my husband has actually changed his feelings towards the country as a whole. He has Japanese friends. Still, there is one thing though:

“So, does this mean I can buy you a Toshiba someday?” I prodded him, with a grin.

“Not really. I still have standards, you know,” he smiled.

Hmmm. Best not to tell his new Japanese friends.

中国声音:中文读者,我们在等你呦!

喂,那些还在潜水的小伙子,我们期待你们的声音!

(Photo by Copanda_ via Flickr.com)
(Photo by Copanda_ via Flickr.com)

“洋媳妇谈中国”自2009年建站以来一直致力于为“中男西女”这一相对小众的组合提供一个发声平台。 功夫不负有心人,网站日益红火,网站创始人“洋媳妇”艾琳(Jocelyn Eikenburg)获得了众多知名媒体报道,包括BBC、《华尔街日报》、China Daily、《环球时报》、《中国国际广播电台》、《南华早报》等等。

全站目前有10余个版块,博文600多篇。2014年为更好地“为人民服务”并听到那些自“东方”的声音,我们开通了中文版。由于绝大多数博文是英文的,中文版需要您的帮助:

1. 博文很精彩,您的翻译会让更多的读者分享精彩

嗨,真高兴你喜欢我们的文章!但正如大家所知,笔译是个费时费力的活儿,高质量的译文通常需要更多工时。其实咱们的志愿小翻已经是蛮拼的了,无奈仍达不到每星期一篇的“产量”,不过我们现在正招募翻译志愿者以改善这一状况,欢迎有兴趣的朋友联系“洋媳妇”艾琳

为人民服务2. 您感兴趣的话题是什么?

请将您感兴趣的话题发送至 [email protected]好吗? 我们将阅读并回复每一封邮件。对于热门话题我们将推出相应的博文供大家讨论。

3. 潜在读者需要您的推荐

真高兴您喜欢我们的网站,这真是莫大的鼓励!也许更多的读者会喜欢这里的文章,只是他们还不知道。在此,鼓励您将本站推荐给“志同道合”的读者。或如果您有任何推广建议,欢迎联系我们

最后,我不知道“洋媳妇”是多少小伙子“中国梦”的一部分,但在此我祝天下有情人终成眷属,早日将心仪的她捉到自己的户口本上。农历羊年已到了,新的一年愿中国更美好,愿朋友们更快乐☺

Interview with Yuan Fu, the official translator for Speaking of China – 采访付远,《谈中国》的官方翻译

For the past year, Yuan Fu, a native of Shandong Province, has graciously volunteered his time to help translate a variety of posts on Speaking of China into Chinese. I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to get to know the guy behind the translations? (I admit, even I was interested in knowing more about this fellow who magically appeared in my e-mail inbox one day, offering his talents to Speaking of China.)

So I put together this interview with Yuan Fu. As it turns out, Yuan is one fascinating and incredibly funny guy — his answers had me laughing out loud at times. I’ve provided his original Chinese responses below (he answered my English interview in Chinese — for those of you who can read Chinese, his answers are best in his native language); otherwise, you’ll have to forgive me for the simple translation of his answers into English. Trust me, if you can read the Chinese, you’ll understand just why he’s such a whiz with words. 

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奖学金1

You’ve volunteered your talents to help speakingofchina.com translate many wonderful posts into Chinese. Tell us about how you came to find this website and what motivated you to translate content for it.

I don’t consider myself a “volunteer”; I’m just one shrewd “businessman!” That’s because Speaking of China gave me more than I could possibly offer. So if there’s someone I should thank, it’s Jocelyn and her website!

I’ve always loved words and have been weaker with numbers. From elementary school I’ve been far more passionate about writing, even though only I think the articles read well. In contrast, I could barely pass mathematics by memorizing formulas. I really like feeling as if I’m “flirting” with readers through words. When you know that simply adjusting a word or phrase can completely change the reader’s experience, that feeling is really amazing. Ironically, after I graduated I staggered into profession of auditing, a world of figures 24 hours a day. So working for Speaking of China has become really important for me. After a day of getting “bombed” by worksheets, Speaking of China gives me a thread of breathing space and for the first time, provides me with readers. This is an essential change. I really cherish this opportunity.

Of course I also await the day when I will finally meet a girl who shares my ambitions and outlook on life. Among the girls who visit Speaking of China, if they’re not interested in AMWF then they’re interested in language. That’s perfect for me. In light of the fact that I often feel overwhelmed whenever I’m together with a girl I’m attracted to, I’ve learned to be careful, so I hide behind the computer. If I give it my all, who’s to say one day the perfect girl will actively find me?

Finally and most important, I’ve noticed that a lot of young Chinese guys have this kind of demand, but they don’t have a platform where they can be heard. I hope Speaking of China’s Chinese version will change that a little – that they’re not freaks in the world of love and marriage. Many of us have the same thought. If you love foreign girls then you should confidently go after them! Speaking of China can provide you with suggestions in this respect and even real-life love stories. I look forward to the future when we can receive many more “Double Happiness” stories from young Chinese men!

我不认为自己是“志愿者”,而更像位精明的“生意人”,因为 SOC给我的要远多于我能提供的。所以,如果有谁要感谢,那就是Jocelyn和她的网站。

我一直喜爱文字而弱于数字,自小学起便热衷于写那种自认为“很通顺的”文章,而对于数学则基本靠强记各种公式涉险过关。我很喜欢通过文字与读者“调情”的感觉,当你知道自己只要调整一个词或一句话就可以完全改变读者的阅读体验时,那种感觉真的很棒。讽刺的是,毕业后我却跌跌撞撞入了审计—这一24小时和数字打交道的行业,于是为SOC工作就显得至关重要了。她使我从每天的“报表轰炸”中得到一丝喘息并让我平生第一次有了真正的读者,这是质的变化,我珍惜这一机会。

我当然也期待着结识志同道合的妹子。在这潜水的姑娘如果不是对AMWF有意就是对语言感兴趣,这很对我的口味。鉴于每当和一些来电的姑娘相处时就会overwhelmed,我现在学乖了,躲在电脑这边码字,如果我尽心竭力,说不定哪天妹子就送上门来了呢。

最后也是最重要的,我注意到很多中国小伙子有这样的需求,却没有像样的发声平台。希望SOC中文版的出现能改变这一点—他们并不是情场或婚姻中的怪胎或异类,我们许多人有同样的想法。如果喜欢外国姑娘就大大方方地去追,SOC会在这里提供建议并分享那些真实的浪漫故事,期待着未来能收到更多写自小伙子们的“双喜”(Double-Happiness)故事。

You actually work as an audit trainee for an accounting firm. How do you make time to translate posts?

For that we should thank the horrible traffic situation, the crowded streets and buses – that’s where I’ve finished most of the translations! Just like Ford and his Model T, I “assemble” each article in my mind starting with the easiest and most fascinating parts and then the more challenging parts of the articles. This whole process – starting from nothing to a finished product – is always exciting to me.

“Accuracy, expressiveness, elegance” is the highest standard for translation but I cannot reach it. Instead I strive to preserve a certain amount of character in the articles, (kind of like when, after suffering for a long week at work and finally making it to Friday, you can actually relax). I’m very clear about my own abilities, you don’t even need to mention the enormous gap between me and translation professionals. In front of those readers who are very serious about language, I appear like “Cub Scout” with this hobby of translation. However, with time I will improve.

那我们得感谢这里糟糕的交通状况,拥挤马路上拥挤的公交车,我大多数翻译就是这样完成的。就像福特生产T型车那样,我将文章从脑海中“组装”起来,先从最容易有趣的部分开始,然后是稍显晦涩的语段。这一从无到有的过程总是让我兴奋。

“信、达、雅” 这一翻译的最高境界我现在是做不到的,但我仍力求保持一定的风格,就是那种上班族在煎熬的周五读后能呵呵一笑的感觉。我很清楚自己几斤几两,不要说和专业人士有天上地下的差距,就是在那些对语言真正认真的读者面前也像“童子军”一样业余,不过假以时日,我会进步的。

You studied abroad at Cardiff University in Wales. Could you share with us your most interesting experience or experiences there?

During our graduation trip we went to Loch Ness in Scotland. That sturdy captain of the ship spooked everyone into keeping their eyes glued to the sonar screen, because the Loch Ness Monster could at any time overturn the boat. In reality this was completely unnecessary, as the Loch Ness Monster was in all of the gift shops – just 15 pounds and you can bring one home. If you buy more there’s a discount. And the “Made in China” tag left on each of them would make you realize they were Asian.

Similarly this street of luxury goods in Oxford was completely occupied by Asian merchants. Seeing this in the small village of Oxford made me suddenly feel like I was back in Beijing’s Wangfujing shopping area; I even wondered if there was someone selling fried flatbread. As it turns out the place only had French hot dogs for sale, and the taste only proved that the technique of these young Frenchmen couldn’t compare to those Henan women selling fried flatbread (for one yuan more they’ll add an egg to it).

Besides the sights and scenery, England’s good regulations gave me a deep impression. For example, how motorized vehicles must yield to pedestrians or how medical services could really be free (despite the fact they weren’t always the most efficient). Of course everything the English people now enjoy comes from the hard efforts of the previous generations, benefiting from how they became industrialized in the 19th century. They’ve waded through war, endured a recession and the inhumanity of Imperial England. So we have nothing to envy. Maybe the hard work of this generation of Chinese will give their children a better country, don’t you think? Those of us born in the 1990s should be thankful for the many things we have received from previous generations.

Yes, until this day I still regret that I haven’t dated anyone. This makes me feel as if I spent all of that university tuition for nothing. Ha ha!

毕业旅行我们去了苏格兰的尼斯湖,白白胖胖的船东吓唬大家要紧盯声呐屏幕,因为湖怪随时可能掀翻小艇。事实证明这完全多此一举,因为尼斯湖小怪兽充斥在大大小小的纪念品店中,15镑就能搂一个回家,要是多买还能打折。留意一下铭牌你就会发现甚至它们也是有亚洲血统的—Made in China.

同样被亚裔面孔占领的还有号称奢侈品一条街的比斯特,踏入这个牛津郡的小村子我恍然以为回到了北京的王府井,于是思量着能不能在下一个街角找到卖煎饼果子的。结果是比斯特只提供一种法式热狗,而事实也证明法国小哥的手艺比不上卖煎饼果子的河南大姐,1块钱还可以加个蛋。

除了山水风物,英国良好的秩序让我印象深刻。比如机动车真的会给行人让路,比如医疗真的会是免费的,尽管效率不甚高。当然英国人民现在享有的一切来自他们祖辈的付出,得益于他们在19世纪就完成的工业化,他们也趟过了战争,熬过了衰退与没人性的“镀金时代”。所以没什么可嫉妒的,或许这一代中国人的努力就能使我们的子孙生活在一个更美好的国家,不是吗?应该感恩的是,我们90后已经从前辈身上得到了许多。

是的,我至今对没有谈一场恋爱懊悔不已,这让我感觉自己所有的学费都打了水漂 哈哈。

IMG_0885

Why did you choose to return to China after your studies?

I think it’s because my visa was going to expire, ha ha! What’s interesting is that in England when I tried really hard to find work there, more than once I heard locals complain “they’ve already had enough” of this country that in my mind appears very well developed. There was even one Londoner who sent me a text message when I was boarding my plane: he is returning to Shanghai, and he persuaded me to quickly leave this “sinking” country. The very concerned tone of his message made me feel as if I had just missed Heathrow’s last “Noah’s Ark”. I think he’s not wrong in what he said. Immigration moves from a place you are tired of to a place someone else is tired of. Still that Londoner doesn’t realize that Shanghai is the eponymous “sinking” place because the ground there cannot handle the massive weight of Pudong’s skyscrapers. Fortunately this process can be controlled!

我想是因为我的签证过期了 哈哈。有趣的是当我挖空心思想在英国谋一份差事时,不止一个当地人抱怨 “他们已经受够了”这个在我看来各方面都很成熟的国家。 甚至一位伦敦老哥登机前还短信我:他要回上海了,奉劝我也麻利儿离开那个下沉的(sinking)国家,那番语重心长的口气就像我刚刚错过了希斯罗(Heathrow)的最后一班诺亚方舟。看来那句话果真没错–移民就是从你呆烦了的地方跑到别人呆烦的地方去。不过那位老哥有所不知,上海才是名副其实的“下沉”,因为那里的地质无法承受浦东天量的摩天大楼,还好这一进程是可控的!

You’re currently single, but you’ve told me you hope someday you want to marry a Western woman. Why?

First off, because you’re so beautiful. Second…aiya, I think the first reason is enough for me, ha ha! Foreign women have provided many thoughts and ideas that aren’t in my culture and circle of friends – this is something that matters to me. I started to realize that there are some things you shouldn’t care too much about while there are other things worth pursuing. In our lives we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves most of the time – we really can just not worry too much about it and move at a slower pace. Regarding “doing what you’re passionate about” or because you love a specific field so while studying you focus on that area, now it seems this is no big problem. Simply put, I discovered some values that resonated with me. I admit, my initial reason for liking foreign girls is because of their pretty looks, but now I’ve discovered many more reasons that go beyond your appearance.

One of my deepest impressions is the alcohol tolerance of foreign women. Once we went out to drink beer with some very petite German girls. After their “warmup” stage was over, I was already very inebriated. Sorry everyone, I think I just made Shandong men lose face.

第一,因为你们很漂亮。第二,哎呀,好像第一条对我就足够了 哈哈。外国姑娘提供了许多我的文化和生活圈子中没有的思路和想法,这是我看重的。我开始知道有些东西不必太在意而有些东西更值得坚持一下。生命中大多数时候我们都不必对自己太狠,真的可以不着急慢慢来。至于“从心所欲”,或者因为喜欢某一领域而在学生时代偏科,现在看来也都不是什么了不起的罪过了。简而言之,我找到了某种价值观上的共鸣。我承认,喜欢外国姑娘的初衷是因为她们俊俏的模样,但现在,我看到了更多超越外貌的理由。

印象深刻的还有她们的酒量,当时我们和几位 “小号的”德国姑娘喝酒,当她们的 “热身”环节结束时,我已经是天旋地转了。对不起大家,我给咱山东爷们丢了脸。

Describe the woman of your dreams!

Actually I’m very interested in Jocelyn, but I don’t know if John will mind. At least China prohibits guns, ha ha!

Just kidding! I mean to say, I hope I can find a foreign girl who is as interested in Chinese culture as Jocelyn is. And if she also loves Mandarin and even wants to become a translator or interpreter, that would be perfect. I can definitely be a big help to her! You see, the fascinating thing about China is that, first it is quite ancient and yet it has changed very quickly. So no matter whether you are a historian with your head buried in the old pages of our history or you want to do something modern or different, you can basically find your place here in China. So to all of the girls living in the first world, if you come over to our third world for a turn you’ll find it’s very fascinating.

Or maybe we ought to talk about what kind of person I am – anyone who loves my kind of personality is also that kind of girl I’m looking for.

I have some really cool friends in my life. These people don’t just live well, they also can bring a lot of happiness to the people around them. What’s even more appealing is that they have this kind of ability to grasp the future. Without exception, they all love to read or at least do according to that saying, “There’s nothing exceptional under the sun,” books provide them with wisdom to understand the world. I also hope for this kind of wisdom. As such reading has gradually become the biggest thing I do outside of work. Of course, this kind of life can be pretty “quiet.” Similarly, my two other biggest pastimes — traveling and making military models – are also “soundless”. One young English guy once told me with a very concerned face, “Yuan, if you want to know the meaning of the word ‘Nerd’, you’d best look in the mirror.” Ha ha, in fact I wasn’t concerned at all about my lifestyle. Ladies, it’s good to find yourself a quiet partner. In this way you’ll always have someone to listen to your stories. Plus, perhaps these guys who are always reticent are in fact the most passionate guys!

Due to the limits of writing, forgive me for not being able to provide more details. But I strongly suggest any interested ladies to come forward and have a try. Based on my understanding of Yuan, I bet I would not disappoint the vast majority of readers. 🙂

其实我对Jocelyn就蛮中意的,但不知道John会不会急眼,还好中国是禁枪的,哈哈。开个玩笑,我是说,我希望能遇到一个像Jocelyn一样对中国文化感兴趣的外国姑娘,如果她还喜欢汉语甚至想成为翻译,那就完美了,我可以帮上很大的忙!你瞧,中国的有趣之处就在于,首先她极其古老,其次她快速变化。所以无论你是埋头于故纸堆的历史学家,还是想做时代的弄潮儿,基本都能在这儿寻到自己的位置。嗨!那些身处第一世界的妹子们,有时来我们第三世界转转也蛮有意思的!

或许我更应该交代一下自己是怎样的人,那些喜欢我这款的八成也是我要找的。

我身边有些很棒的朋友,这些人不但自己活得从容,也总可以为旁人带来欢乐,更令人着迷的是,他们似乎还有某种把握未来的能力。而无一例外,他们都喜欢阅读。或许正应了那句话“太阳底下再无新鲜事”,书赋予了他们洞明世事的睿智。我同样渴望这份智慧,于是阅读正慢慢成为我工作之余的头等大事。当然,这种生活注定比较“安静”。的确如此,俺另两大爱好—旅游与军事模型—同样的“无声无息”,以至于曾经有位英国小哥一脸忧虑地对我说:“远,如果你想知道Nerd是啥意思,就最好去照照镜子。”哈哈,我可一点儿都不为自己的生活状况担心。其实姑娘们,找个安静的伴侣也好,这样你就总能为自己的故事找到倾听者了。再说,那些一直沉默的家伙没准是最有激情的呢!

由于篇幅所限,恕我不能在此提供更多细节,但强烈建议那些有兴趣的姑娘前来试用体验。以我对远的了解,我打赌绝大多数用户是不会失望滴.

There are a lot of Chinese men out there who, like you, have the dream of finding a yangxifu – but not every guy will be successful. What do you think are the biggest barriers for Chinese men to meet and date Western women in China?

First, Chinese men lack opportunities to regularly interact with foreign women. Objectively speaking, the vast majority of Asian men cannot compare to the tall stature of Western men. This is not worth complaining about nor is it racist, this is Darwin’s evolution. Because of this, I ask Chinese men to call upon their “soft power” in more superior areas, such as being more attentive to women or smarter. In this way we can become ideal to girls. Unfortunately this kind of “soft power” is not as easy to see as the huge biceps on a guy’s arm. You have to work long and hard together in order to observe it. And this kind of opportunity to “work long and hard together” is without a doubt in unusually short supply. So it’s very possible that young men here are already excellent enough, but that women just haven’t noticed it yet.

Secondly, you should also blame the spiritual impotence of Chinese men, their sense of inferiority. Whenever I tell someone that I’m interested in finding a foreign girl, the response I receive is, “Gosh, you need lots of money to do that!” As if I don’t have this then I cannot win the battle for a spouse! Another example is when a guy is standing before someone from a developed country, we can be overcautious. Yet when we’re standing before friends from less developed countries than China, we can behave all high and mighty.

首先,中国男人缺少与外国姑娘持续接触的机会。客观地讲,绝大多数亚洲男人不比西方男人生得高大,这既不值得抱怨也不是种族主义,这是达尔文的进化论。因此,这要求中国小伙在其他“软实力”方面技高一筹,比如他更体贴或更聪明,从而赢得中意的姑娘。不幸的是,这些“软实力”不像胳膊上发达的肱二头肌那般显而易见,你们需要共事良久才能有所体察。而这种“共事良久”的机会毫无疑问是异常稀缺的,所以很可能小伙子们已经足够优秀,但就是没有姑娘注意到。

其次,这得归咎于中国男人的精神阳痿—“自卑感”。每当我告诉某人自己有意找一位外国姑娘时,得到的反应一定是“哇塞,那你必须要很有钱!”仿佛没有这个我就无法打赢一场配偶争夺战!另一种表现是当面对来自发达国家的国民时,我们会显得缩手缩脚,而对待那些后发国家的朋友,我们或又表现的趾高气昂。

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I hear from Western women out there who are looking to find a good man in China. What advice would you have for them?

To all of those ladies searching for a “good man”, I want to say your search can stop right here. Just choose Yuan. Don’t hesitate. He will become the best decision you ever made for the longest part of your future. Ha ha!

If you’re speaking of the biggest strengths of Chinese men, that’s probably that we’re hardworking. I remember there was an economist at MIT who, when asked why he was so full of confidence about China, this gentleman shrugged and leisurely replied, “Forget about all of those economic models because the Chinese are very hardworking.” Look, whenever people attempt to answer these truly important questions, we often must return to the most essential things. So if I was a woman, I would stay away from those good for nothing laggards or the men who are constantly changing their jobs – the kind of guys who think they can use women because they’re cool and handsome. Just like Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times once said, “Find a responsible partner, even though that doesn’t sound sexy or romantic.” Then I would choose someone with similar values. For example, my father values frugality; whenever he goes shopping he always picks the cheapest items. But my mother values quality and she absolutely would not compromise her values because of price. You can imagine that this couple of such mismatched people will not live very peacefully together. However, thank the heavens, as long as it’s not time to go to the supermarket, things are fine. But if the two of them cannot agree on what kind of beef to buy, then the two of them are not so well suited for each other.

However, perhaps the silliest thing in this world is to listen to me, some 24-year-old guy who has yet to find love himself to give some advice to such experienced young women on how to find true love. So I’d best keep my mouth shut!

对于正在物色“好男人”的姑娘,我想说,你们的寻找可以到此为止了,选择远,莫踌躇,他将会是你在未来很长一段时间内做的最正确的决定 哈哈。

如果谈中国人最大的优点,那八成是“勤劳”。记得有位麻省理工(MIT)的经济学家在被问到为什么对中国充满信心时,此君耸耸肩,悠悠地说到:“忘记那些经济模型吧,因为他们很勤劳。”你瞧,当人们试图解答一些真正重要的问题时,往往要回到最本质的东西。所以,如果我是姑娘,我会首先远离那些游手好闲或像走马灯一样更换工作的男人,即使他们又酷又帅能耍宝。正如《金融时报》的露西·凯韦拉所说,“找一个负责任的伴侣吧,尽管这可能听上去既不性感也不浪漫”。然后我会在剩下的人中挑一个有相似价值观的,举个反例,我的父亲崇尚节俭,买东西只捡最贱的,而我的母亲注重品质,绝不为价格妥协。可以想见这么一对儿冤家聚到一起生活是不会太平的。不过谢天谢地,在不必去超市的时间里,日子还算过得去。如果两个人连买什么样的牛肉都谈不拢,那他们可能就不合适。不过,这个世上最蠢的事可能就是听一个24岁还在寻找初恋的“男孩”告诉一群“经验丰富”的女人如何寻找真爱,所以我最好还是闭嘴吧。

Finally, you currently reside in Ji’nan, China. Let’s say I’m coming up to visit your hometown. What you suggest I see and do in your city?

Oh, Ji’nan is a very embarrassing provincial capital city. Not only does it have no international recognition, here in China you almost never hear anything from Ji’nan. In fact the most recent thing I’ve heard about Ji’nan is that some guy put his girlfriend on his neck and received some praise for being a “Good Chinese Boyfriend.” Still, just because this place isn’t famous doesn’t mean it’s not fun. You should definitely see the usual sights in the city. Qianfo Mountain, Baotu Springs and Daming Lake are the three best in Ji’nan. Of course if you loathe manmade pools, Ji’nan – which is also known as “little Jiangnan” – also has a number of good places to go swimming, though they’re often hidden in the most inconspicuous places in the city and usually only locals can find them. Of course you totally shouldn’t be worried about those lewd stares, as can assure you there are far too many to count.

If you’re willing to walk a little, then we can also have a look at “the mountain”, “the water”, “the sage” – that’s Taishan, the Yellow River, and Confucius. Yes, in Shandong Province you can find all of these things that are deeply meaningful in Chinese culture. No matter what, don’t worry. Any trip with Yuan will be a happy one.

By the way, now that you mention travel, next year I’m planning on visiting China’s West (Xinjiang and Tibet). Is there anyone willing to come with me? (This is limited to single girls only! 😉 )

嗯,济南是一个很尴尬的省会城市,不仅毫无国际知名度,在国内也鲜有新闻。事实上我最近一次听到济南的消息还是一个男人将他的女友放在了自己的脖子上从而获封 “中国好男友”。但不出名不代表不好玩。常规景点是一定要看的,千佛山、趵突泉和大明湖是济南的三大名胜。当然如果你厌恶了人造泳池,号称“小江南”的济南也有几个游泳的好去处,不过它们通常隐藏在那些最不起眼的小径尽头,只有当地人才能找到。当然你也完全不必在意那些“色眯眯”的眼神,因为我保证那会多的数不过来。

如果愿意走的远一些,我们还可以去看看“一山、一水、一圣人”—“泰山、黄河、孔子”,是的,这些对中华文化意义深远的东西你都可以在山东省找到。无论如何,请不要担心,因为任何有远弟的旅行都会是愉快的旅行。对了,说到了旅游,明年我打算去中国西部(西藏,新疆)转转,有没有人愿意加入?仅限单身妹子哟. 😉

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Thank you so much to Yuan Fu for this interview and for all of his generous assistance to Speaking of China! I’ll be posting more of his translations in the next few weeks, so look out!

For any comments or suggestions regarding translations, you’re welcome to contact Yuan at speakingofchina(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Guest Post: My daughter said, “I’m American, I’m Jewish and I’m Chinese.”

When you’re raising biracial and bicultural kids, you’re bound to have some interesting conversations with them about identity. That’s the case for Susan Chan, author of The Reluctant Brides of Lily Court Lane, who recalls an incident with her daughter, after the little girl told another child about her background. Her daughter said, “Well, I told him, ‘I’m American, I’m Jewish and I’m Chinese. But he kept saying you can’t be three things.”

Read on to find out what happened – and thanks so much to Susan for sharing!

Do you have a fascinating story that you’d like to share here on Speaking of China? We welcome a variety of guest posts – including love stories, posts about having/raising biracial kids, biracial identity stories, and anything else that falls within the realm of this blog. Check out the submit a post page to learn how to get your writing published here!

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(Photo by Phalinn Ooi via Flickr.com)
(Photo by Phalinn Ooi via Flickr.com)

April is an iffy day in New York City-blustery one day and spring-like the next. The morning of April 29, 1989 dawned clear and bright for the Chan family. We were all dressed hours before we needed to be, each of us sporting a touch of red-a lucky Chinese color. Leah had gotten up early every morning for months to practice her speech and now she was prepared and eager to start.

Arriving early at the Temple for Leah’s Bat Mitzvah, we greeted each person as they arrived. It was a serious moment and as her mom, I held my breath, waiting for her to begin.  Seated next to her Chinese father, and her younger brother, I held back my tears of pride.  We watched her carry out her part in the religious ceremony and then it came time for her personal speech.

I watched my child, now blossoming into a young lady, speak seriously of becoming an adult, as she gave recognition to her cultural and religious background. The years melted away and I recalled an incident that had happened when Leah was a child, probably four or five. She was approached by a little boy in the playground. I had to hide my smile later when she told me their conversation.

She’d said in a very serious tone, “Mommy, he’s so stupid.”

“Leah, you know we don’t use that word.”

“Well, he was.”

“Maybe he just doesn’t know any better,” I said, wondering if I’d need to have a talk with his mother. What had he said to make my child angry?

“He asked me, ‘What are you?’”

“And what did you say?”

“I didn’t know what he meant.”

“Uh huh,” I answered in an encouraging tone.

“He asked me again, and he said, ‘I’m Italian-American and you can be two things.’”

“Oh, so he thinks people can only be two things because that’s what he is.” I realized he was referring to the idea popular then of a hyphenated American.

“Well, I told him, ‘I’m American, I’m Jewish and I’m Chinese. But he kept saying you can’t be three things.”

I knew that Leah wouldn’t let him get away with that.

“Oh, yes, I can,” Leah told me she’d said to him. “I go to American school during the week, Chinese school on Saturday, and Hebrew school on Sunday. Mommy, then he ran away. If I can’t call him stupid, what can I call him?”

That little girl grew up to be a lawyer.

Susan Chan, a romance author and former guidance counselor, lives in San Diego, CA, and is co-author of the Lily Court Lane book series. You can follow Lily Court Lane books on Facebook.

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Speaking of China is always on the lookout for outstanding guest posts! If you have something you’d like us to feature, visit the submit a post page for details — and then submit yours today.

关于娶洋媳妇的4个坏念头

作者:Jocelyn Eikenburg  译者:远

(翻译自《4 Really Bad Reasons for Marrying Western Women in China》)

正如我此前写到的那样,在中国,人们为洋媳妇而疯狂。已经有两个很火的百度贴吧(洋媳妇吧外国媳妇吧)专门为我们而设。与此同时,“洋媳妇”有关的话题也屡见报端。所以,当然有很多中国男人愿意迎聚我这样的西方女人,对于其中一些人来说,这甚至是他们毕生的梦想。

然而,仅仅因为一个男人想娶西方姑娘却并不见得他做这一切是出于心中的爱慕之情。不幸的是,有些中国男人怀着完全错误的念头接近我们——而有些念头甚至会雷得你外焦里嫩。

所以,如果你真的想娶一位在中国的西方女人,就请——拜托——一定不要打以下4个糟糕透顶的主意:


1.  为了显摆

在当今中国,似乎每个人都渴望为自己贴上显赫地位的标签,就像宝马的座驾、路易威登(Louis Vuitton)的手包和博百利(Burberry)的围巾。他们希望全世界都知道自己有钱有权又成功。但对有些男人来说,那个终极成功的标签——那个可以佐证他们真正“功成名就”的——是一位西方妻子。

但是小伙子们,我可有话说。外国女人可不接受被你当做装饰品对待,她们也不是甘愿围着你的胳膊在你朋友或同事面前晃荡的的蔻驰(Coach)手袋。相信我,我们通常有足够的智慧识破你在做什么(尤其当你急于抓住一切机会牵着我们招摇过市时)。

拜托,如果你真的只是想显摆一下,帮帮忙,去搞辆保时捷或其他什么东西吧。

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2. 为了移民

你是否也在做着“加州梦”或梦想着去一个西方国家度个永恒的“罗马假日”?或许你刚刚想出了一个很值得商榷的点子——娶一个西方女人为妻。有她伴随左右,那本觊觎许久的外籍护照,那在西方国家像公民一样工作与学习的权利以及那令人眼馋的免签待遇就都成为你的囊中物了,不是吗?

除了…当你的妻子发现自己只不过是你的私人护照提取机时,局面会变成怎样?

我知道一个我称为“Sally”的美国女人,她迷上了一个北京男人。对Sally这样一位已被大多数男人视而不见的年逾40的“大号”女人来说,找到一位情愿追随她去美国的如意郎君简直就是奇迹。他们最终结婚而北京丈夫也随她去了西雅图。但也正是在这座城市,Sally的老公人间蒸发似得抛弃了她,就在他攫取了自己的美国绿卡之后。看来那位“夫君”究竟是爱上谁(或者说“什么”)了,也就不难判断了。

Sally把这个悲惨的故事抛到了论坛上,读着它我的心都碎了。我只能试着想象,当Sally发现那个被她称为“老公”的男人事实上用最为卑鄙的伎俩欺骗了她时,她的心会是怎样一副模样。

你想成为那样一个家伙吗?你想让自己的移民大计以一个姑娘的幸福为代价吗?或者你想摧毁一个女人对男人(包括中国男人)的全部信赖?我们谈的可是一种或许会纠缠你余生的浮士德交易*(当然,如果你还有良心的话)。

除此之外,在国外生活可不全是香槟和英伦玫瑰。从踏足西方国家的那一刻起,你只不过是得到了一系列全新的挑战。而且,我告诉你,其中有些挑战甚至是令人震惊的(比如说歧视)。

仍然想“投奔西方”?那请从一开始就不要利用一位你并不爱慕的西方女人作为跳板吧。

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(photo by Susan Sermoneta via Flickr.com)

3. 练习英语

“所以你只跟她说英语!”

上帝,我可说不清究竟听过这句话多少次了,大家总是错误地认为我老公只和我用英文交流。更糟的是,有些甚至蹦出来下定论:我老公英语如此之好是因为他娶了我。

有时,对于这些家伙的话外音——一个西方妻子就等同于你的私人英语教师,我真心有点儿烦了。

我希望被作为一个完整的“自己”欣赏,而不是因为我碰巧是一个说英语的人。又有谁不是这样想呢?

许多像我一样在中国的西方女人最终不得不靠英文教学养家糊口,这本身已经够糟的了,这个职业有时让你感觉自己就像一台“英语复读机”,貌似每个人,以及他们的各种闺蜜基友都希望从你身上“分一杯羹”以提高英文。但我们可不希望自己的婚姻惹上这种令人精疲力竭的麻烦。

不过这并不是说我们完全不能帮助你的语言学习。事实上,自几年前我老公John和我“打情骂俏”开始,我们就一直很享受这种双语伴侣关系。这为我们的婚姻平添了许多乐趣。

但是,如果你只是为了英语学习而与西方女人恋爱,相信我,这很快就会穿帮的。毕竟我们似乎都或多或少地从事过英语教学——我们看得出你究竟是属于我们的闺房还是属于我们的课堂。所以如果你只是在寻求“开小灶”,西方姑娘会把你和你的“疯狂英语”扔在一边的。

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(photo by bandita via Flickr.com)

4. 种族主义

对于那些笃定只追求金发白肤的西方姑娘而将其他一切女人排除在外的中国小伙子,我得和你们聊聊。你们知道的,有些人觉得混血宝宝既聪明又漂亮,于是他们必须得找一位,比如说,西方妻子。

我明白在恋爱世界中,人们各有好恶。但如果你仅仅出于种族(或某些种族独有的特征)的原因而只与特定群体交往……那可就是种族主义者了。我可不想要一个仅仅是爱上我的白皮肤,或者看中我能生个混血儿的男人。那令人毛骨悚然!

浮士德交易:指出卖至关重要的东西以换取短期利益。出自传说浮士德以灵魂为代价换取三个愿望的满足(译者注)

洋媳妇问答:与中国男人恋爱的地域困境

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作者:Jocelyn Eikenburg  译者:远

(翻译自《Ask the Yangxifu: Love and Location Dilemma With a Chinese Man》)

爱的窘境(LoveDilemma)问:

我是一个22岁的欧洲女孩,目前正在攻读生物学硕士。本来一切都是那么的明朗,直到去年我遇上了这个来自中国的交换生。我们的友谊迅速升温以至成为了男女朋友。8个月前,他不得不返回中国以完成自己的本科学习。我们就是无法割舍这份感情于是继续保持联系,但是现在我们左右为难…他希望来我的国家,但在这儿他无法就业。我快要完成学业了,而我在中国的工作前景也同样黯淡…所以即使我追随他而去,也注定是前途无亮的。倘若不是爱得如此深沉,我压根就不考虑搬去中国…在那个拥有严苛移民法条的陌生国度,我只能完全依靠他…英语甚至不是我的母语,我没有语言教学的学位或经验,汉语也讲不顺…所以我的理学学位在中国根本就是渣渣。除非我能在那儿找到一份稳定的工作(极不现实),否则我既不会受欢迎,也无法搞到居留证。有多少外国女人在这种情况下嫁给了中国男人?我的脑袋告诉我这不明智,但我的心……所以,就因为他是中国人而我是外国人我们就必须分手?我就是不能接受这一点并走出这一困境。

—–

地域是中国跨国情侣的最大障碍之一——对中男外女情侣尤其如此,正如我在文章《西方老婆,中国老公》(Western Wives,Chinese husbands)中写到的那样:

迁回母国或许是你的第一选择,但他呢?站在他的角度考虑一下。在你的祖国,他会成为少数族裔。而且很遗憾,许多西方国家都对亚裔男人抱有负面成见,比如冷漠的功夫武士和娘娘腔的书呆子。他不得不操起外语来应付日常生活,这平添了压力。即使得到了有利的签证(如永久居留签证),他仍要面对工作方面的歧视,如果他:1)不能在面试时应对自如;2)没有一个所在国的学位(记住,关于中国的新闻已经使人们对这个国家疑心重重,这包括她所颁发的文凭),或者3)英语不佳。 正如Jessica解释道,“我的中国老公没有适销对路的技能——他是一位职业音乐家——而且不懂英语。你说未来我们会在哪生活?”

如果考虑移居你的国家,研究生学院或许可以帮助克服学历歧视并加速文化适应,但是如果你老公在完成学位后宁可搬回中国,你也千万别惊讶。

待在中国对你不可行。你看重自己的事业,但在这儿你无法就业。在中国,你不得不完全依靠他的收入——鉴于中国单收入家庭供房的苦日子,这可是一个危险的选择。也正如你提到的,没有工作,你又如何得到居留许可(尤其是现在中国收紧了签证政策)?

因为牺牲了自己的事业(我假设,你的梦想),你将会面对心理上的挑战。而很有可能,爱情并不足以弥补因为背弃自己而产生的悔丧感——贝蒂·弗里丹(Betty Friedan)在她的《女性的奥秘》一书中很好地刻画了这一点。

与其设想在中国生活,为什么不考虑一起搬去你的国家?他或许现在无法就业,但研究生学习将改变这一点。既然他已然能够在你的祖国学习,他的语言显然可以胜任研究生课程。

但是,他愿意在国外生活吗?

地域纷争可能拆散一段本来美好的跨国姻缘。无论你们如何深爱彼此,有时就是不足以克服地理障碍。但希望你们可以。祝好运!

爱上一个比自己矮的中国男:3英寸

作者:Jocelyn Eikenburg  译者:远

(翻译自《Three Inches of Separation: On Loving a Shorter Chinese Man》)

我和我老公差3英寸。也就是说,就差3英寸我们就一般高了——因为我是5英尺7英寸(约170cm,译者注)而他是5英尺4英寸(约163cm,译者注)。

几星期前,当我为他量身高时,5英尺4英寸可不是我预计的结果。那天我碰巧在找卷尺来量烤箱,好为我们在过去的这个星期四的感恩节火鸡做准备。然后老公要求道:“帮我量量身高吧。”

他挺胸抬头立正,正如多年前在宝贵的大学新生军训周中人民解放军教他的那样。从头到脚,当卷尺伸开时, 我突然意识到5英尺5英寸(约165cm,译者注)那个我让他填到驾照上的数字,事实上,超高了1英寸。

几年前,我可无法想象哪怕1英寸的高度差——更别说3英寸了——在我和我的爱人间。

在我和John连续数周卿卿我我之时,我们总是坐而相见,这让我产生了高度幻想——他和我一般高。但是,当有个周六我请他吃午饭,他从椅子上站起来时,我的身高幻想就交换成另一个了——对一个矮小国男的高大梦想。

我已经粉碎了许多和中国男人恋爱的成见:太娘、不帅或不性感。每一次和“好汉”之子摄魂动魄的接吻与拥抱都使我发现这些陈词滥调在中国男人的激情、力量与美面前是如此无力。但是现在,我遇上了终极难题,而我并不知道解决的办法。毕竟,我从未给另一半框定种族或民族,但或多或少,我承诺过自己,即使他不比我高,也得和我一般高。

对煞费苦心为我和John牵线搭桥的好友Caroline来说,答案是显而易见的。“他或许不高,但是他很英俊。”乌龙棕的眸子和英挺的鼻子,这倒是不假。接着,她眉毛一昂咧嘴一笑,说出了另一个超越外貌的理由。“我想他会成为一个好老公的。”

起初,我并不知道如何是好。于是,有好些日子,我只是倾听他和他的故事。关于他是如何想成为一名心理学家并开设一座“人文关怀中心”来为他人疗伤的。关于他是如何挑战他老家石料厂的,因为此厂给当地环境带来日益严重的危害以及无休无止令人不得安宁的噪音。从卡尔·荣格(Carl Jung,分析心理学的创始人,译者注)到艾里希·佛洛姆(Erich Fromm,20世纪初的精神分析学家,译者注),他深深地爱着自然与心理学。除此之外,他发狂地爱着我,爱着我的不完美以及我的一切。于是,伴随着每一段旅程,每一个启示,他愈发高大起来——在思想上,在人格上——比我所见的任何男人都更高大。

于是,我不再关注他的身高海拔,转而拥抱他的人格魅力。终于,在2004年,我嫁给了他。

“我是五四青年!”——一个关于五四运动的玩笑,但这或许就是John看待5英尺4英寸与其他人不同的原因。 当时的青年奋起抗议民国政府的软弱——在中国,这被称为“五四运动”。尽管John不曾是那些激愤的年轻人中的一员,但正是他的出现说明了一点——中国男人的伟大并不用英寸丈量。

你是否也曾爱上一个“不达标”的人?那你是如何克服它的呢?

语言与相爱

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作者:Jocelyn Eikenburg  译者:远

(翻译自《The Relationship Between Language and Falling in Love》)

两星期前在北京的一次晚餐上,同为洋媳妇和博主的Melanie Gao提了一个有趣的问题。“用哪种语言时你和中国老公的关系更好?”

我说不准,因为John和我总是在汉语和英语间切换,仿佛两种语言一起构成了我们的“夫妻话”。“嗯,我不知道。汉语和英语,两者很难选。或许因为John在美国的博士课程,最近英语略占上风。”

但我可猜不到Melanie的答案。“我和我老公用日语更好。”日语?如果John在场,他和他残存的反日情结可要躺枪了。“我猜因为日语对两人都是外语,所以我们必须很努力地理解彼此。”

然而,我记得读过Melanie是怎么和他老公在日本千叶相遇的,当时他们都是留学生,她通过日语了解他。于是我想到了另一种解释。“或许因为日语是你们相爱时的语言。”

以何种语言恋爱真的很重要吗?晚饭后,当我回忆起自己在中国的爱情经历时,这个问题依然纠缠着我。

我和第一任中国男友的恋爱完全是用英语进行的,当时蹒跚学步的小孩儿都比我汉语说得溜。 在他去英国留学后,我才开始学习中文——在他面前咿呀学语总让我尴尬不已。鉴于他曾经警告我不要为了他而学习中文,摆脱英文对我们来说简直毫无可能。

即使在Frank,我的第二任中国男友,已经在周末跟我学了高级英语之后,每当我试图与他用英语交流,他都会尴尬地红着脸,笑而不语。于是,我们的相识,相恋到最终相互误解,完全是用汉语。

但和John,我未来的中国老公,事情改变了。有些日子,我们会完全用英语生活,试着将美国俚语“肉麻的,矫情的”来描述一些网站糟糕的图样设计。还有些日子,当John教我中文新词或帮我翻译短语时,我们会一起大笑起来。现如今,我们已经能够开心地“聊聊天”了。

如果Melanie在美国或中国遇见她未来的丈夫,英语或汉语甚至双语或许能使他们的关系更好。然而,他们选择了日语——在我看来,这使得故事更加有趣了。

对于那些经历过或正在经历跨文化恋爱的读者:哪种语言使你们的关系更美妙?为什么?