On Disagreeing on US-China News, And Finding A Way Back to Love

(photo by hugovk via Flickr.com)

The other night, my husband and I got into an argument after I brought up some news about China.

“It’s biased, you know? The Western media always wants to make China look bad.”

I didn’t disagree, really. So much of the news about China does slant towards the negative. And it’s no secret that certain outlets have an agenda when it comes to the kind of China they want to present to their Western audiences. And while I said I only wanted his view on it, a part of me somehow wanted his view to be consistent with mine. (Note to self — not exactly the best way to approach things.)

So it escalated — fast. He decried it as yet another anti-China story in the news, while I started hitting back with a sort of “why can’t you just admit it” argument that didn’t make me sound all that great. We yelled, we got red in the face, we cut each other off and we nearly lost our tempers — all over little more than a blip in recent news.

In our world, no couple is immune to the dangers of disagreement. Even when you’re citizens of the same country, you still have plenty of divisive, hot topics — things that Miss Manners would recommend you never bring up at dinner parties. In my own family, discussions about religion and political parties (as in, Democrat or Republican or Independent) could easily make tempers flare.

But when John and I disagree about topics that relate back to our countries of origin and citizenship, it somehow feels different — and frightening. Continue reading “On Disagreeing on US-China News, And Finding A Way Back to Love”

Double Happiness: A Brazilian-Chinese Love Story That Started With Football

A bride topper made for a cake that was a gift from a bride-to-be to her soccer lover fiance on his birthday.
(photo by Ban Tell)

I’ll be honest, it’s been a challenging summer for us. Moving across country, getting settled in, even my husband’s whole internship thing (he still faces uncertainty in some respects, but that’s another story…sigh).

But then, days before, I found this little postcard of a love story in my inbox — in Portuguese. Well, I don’t know Portuguese. But between my Spanish minor from college and a little help from Google Translate, I worked the story out — and was touched. In the midst of all of the difficulties, I found a little something that made me smile, and restored my faith in the world.

Thank you for this story, Diandra, you saved me from my summer blues. Muito obrigado. Continue reading “Double Happiness: A Brazilian-Chinese Love Story That Started With Football”

The Couple That Wordplays Together, Stays Together?

A shot of traditional Chinese characters
(photo by am y)

You might call it “lust in translation.” This Chinese-English online quiz, one I agreed to do complete well before I met John, turned into a perfect excuse to visit John a little more often at work. I translated the English words into Chinese, and then brought my work over to him for proofreading. Sure, in between our “how do you say”s and “zenme shuo”s, we flirted a little. But we also learned something too, more than just the right way to say rainjacket or maozi. We made a pretty awesome translation team.

Nearly eight years later, we still help one another with language and translations. John’s my go-to guy for Chinese when I’m stuck on translating a word, and I’m the one he calls on to give his English writing a final check. One week, he tells me about a new Chinese idiom; the next, I’m explaining a new saying in English. You might say we’ve re-written that old cliche — now, the couple that wordplays together, stays together. Continue reading “The Couple That Wordplays Together, Stays Together?”

Ask the Yangxifu: Big Fat Chinese Weddings Revisited

John and I standing before the "Double Happiness" banner at our wedding
(John and I at our wedding in China)


I’m 27 and I was born and raised in Europe but my fiancee is Shanghainese so we’re gonna have one of those Chinese super expensive weddings in a 5 stars hotel in Shanghai and I really dont know what to do. I really do not like the Chinese wedding style made up of performances, games and speech. Besides relatives, I invited around 20-30 friends to the wedding here and I’m gettin more and more nervous about what is going to happen during the feast. We have an MC that will entertain the guests and lead the night but both with him and the wedding planner I had a really hard time to plan everything and trying to make as nice and simple as possible but unfortunately there are some things such as exchange of vows and rings on the stage in front of everybody and organize some games for the guests, apparently Chinese people really appreciate and enjoy them. You went through this already so can you or anyone else who went through this and can give me some advises? Continue reading “Ask the Yangxifu: Big Fat Chinese Weddings Revisited”

A “Guess Who’s” Perspective on My Marriage, Effort, and What It’s Worth

Sidney Poitier and Katharine Houghton from Guess Who's Coming To Dinner
In "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," the Monsignor cites the effort put into interracial relationships as a reason they work out more. But a reader's e-mail cited that extra effort as a reason to proceed with caution -- or not at all. (Image from ticketstubz.blogspot.com)

Last night, I saw the movie Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. I expected a relaxing evening with some of my favorite actors of all time — Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier — but ended up with more than I bargained. Especially when I heard these words from Monsignor Ryan:

I’ve known a good many cases of marriages between the races in my time, and strangely enough, they usually work out quite well. I don’t know why. Maybe because it requires some special quality of effort, more consideration and compassion than most marriages seem to generate these days, could that be it?

I just wanted to hug the Monsignor after he said this, and couldn’t help but agree with the character Christina Drayton, that they were “beautiful thoughts.”

But the more I thought about this, the more I was reminded of an e-mail I received in January, which read: Continue reading “A “Guess Who’s” Perspective on My Marriage, Effort, and What It’s Worth”

Double Happiness: How A Chinese Man Found Love in Brazil

Man sitting with a Brazilian woman on the beach
Fred, who was born in Hong Kong and primarily raised in the US, never expected he would marry a white woman, let alone one from Brazil. (photo by André Mariana)

It’s amazing how far people will go for love,  even learning a foreign language and then flying to a foreign land to ask for her hand in marriage.

No, I’m not referring to one of the plot lines from “Love, Actually” — I’m talking about Fred and his story of finding love in Brazil, a story I couldn’t wait to hear after he posted a comment and e-mailed me.

I figure, maybe his story will inspire more of you to “think outside the borders” for love. 😉 Continue reading “Double Happiness: How A Chinese Man Found Love in Brazil”