“I Awoke to Find a Girl Lying by My Side”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn

“One evening, I drank heavily and the next morning I awoke to find a girl lying by my side. At the time I was incredibly embarrassed, and she was very shocked, because the night before she had also drank a lot. We couldn’t even remember who checked us into the room.”

This is the final installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. Today’s interview is with a journalist and writer in Beijing who had many foreign girlfriends when he lived in southern Europe, including one he met the morning after a night of revelry under surprising circumstances.

If you missed the other three installments, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn, “The Moment Our Eyes Met, I Froze”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn and “It Was Her First Time to Sleep With a Chinese Man”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn.


28 years old, journalist/writer, living in Beijing

VICE: I heard you’ve had many foreign girlfriends.

I’ve had some. That’s because in my former media work, I would often get sent out of the country. So I would contact with many people, mainly in southern Europe. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece — I’ve lived for at least half a year or longer in all of them, and got to know many women.

Could you share some impressive stories?

Ha ha, there are quite many. The countries I went to are relatively laid-back. The economies are not that developed, but the flavor of life is very strong and the people are very warm. I remember the first time I went out with a foreigner was with a Portuguese girl. At that time I was really young, just 24 and it was my first time to live independently overseas. One evening, I drank heavily and the next morning I awoke to find a girl lying by my side. At the time I was incredibly embarrassed, and she was very shocked, because the night before she had also drank a lot. We couldn’t even remember who checked us into the room. Later we went downstairs to the reception desk to find someone to ask about this, and then went to a bar looking for friends to inquire about what happened the previous night. The whole process was really quite ridiculous, but also very romantic. That evening we were once again having dinner together, and then continued to reserve a hotel room. Everything just happened naturally.

Have you had a long-term relationship with any of them?

Yes, she was French. But I don’t really want to share this story, it’s a little painful and I haven’t yet gotten over it.

With so many foreign girlfriends, do you feel like you’ve brought honor to your country?

No. Because my work was often overseas, my circle of friends included people of all different nationalities. To me, the individual means more than the nation.

As a Chinese guy, it’s rare to date so many foreign girls, right?

Before, I had never really thought about it, because this kind of situation is really uncommon. But after the first time I did, I realized that even thinking about this was a way of underestimating myself. Even though Chinese men in the eyes of foreigners are mostly thought of as martial arts experts or bespectacled geeks, Westerners have a really narrow understanding of us. But when it comes to actual relationships, Western women are willing to get to know me well.

A view of Lisbon, Portugal, at sunset.

So Western stereotypes about Chinese men haven’t affected your relations with foreign women?

After I got to know that first Portuguese girl, they affected me less and less. The individual differences between women are really not that big. Every person’s needs are very similar, especially emotional ones. Everyone needs to be loved, cared for, acknowledged. But because of culture, these might manifest themselves in different ways. Individual differences are much greater than differences because of country, culture or race. Once I no longer paid attention to the sense of inferiority brought by these stereotypes, I was more confident and smooth in my encounters with foreign girls. It’s like a guy from Henan chasing a girl from Jiangsu – what stereotypes would he consider?

Are there a lot of Chinese men around you together with foreign women?

Very many, and it has always been their Chinese character that attracts the girls. One friend went to university in Argentina and he said, “Actually, foreigners have a much stronger curiosity about Easterners because we’re more mysterious, and who wouldn’t want to try something new?”So the point is that, for this person, at the appropriate time their particular traits are a plus.

Did these women gain any new impressions of Chinese men because of you?

Of course. When I was dating them, I would share some Chinese culture with them and prepare some Chinese dishes for them. Although some things are cultural differences brought about by history, having a new interpretation is always better than unilaterally listening to Western media.

But does it seem easier for Chinese girls to be together with foreigners?

Because in the eyes of foreigners, Asian men have a lower status than Asian women. The typical stereotype of Chinese, or say Asian men, among other countries is: high achievers at school, introverted. These are the qualities that we carry with us. Capitalist culture distorts this notion in books, movies and the media. So who would be willing go on a date with some guy who is not even a little cool?

But for women, although some were rather quietly intelligent when they were young, when they leave the country they can easily fit right in. On one hand it’s related to how women have a strong tolerance. On the other, it’s that Western culture is more accepting of Chinese women. And when you look closely at foreign men with Asian women, for the most part they are very close to each other’s cultural traits, and it’s hard to see Western men following the living habits of Eastern women. That’s because Western men, in today’s mainstream cognition, have an advantaged position in terms of skin color and gender, the symbolic meaning of the more “advanced” human existence. So naturally it will be easier for them to find people no matter where they are.

Do you have any advice for Chinese men who want to pursue foreign women?

You only need to remember this: you and her are both people.


This is the final installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. If you missed the other three installments, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn, “The Moment Our Eyes Met, I Froze”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn and “It Was Her First Time to Sleep With a Chinese Man”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn.

“It Was Her First Time to Sleep With a Chinese Man”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn

“Of course, the most tantalizing topic between men and women is sex. So she once asked me, ‘Do you want to try it with a foreign girl?’ Then somehow we went back to my dorm. It was her first time to sleep with a Chinese man.”

This is the third installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. Today’s interview is with an ad professional in Shanghai who gets personal about his relationship with his white American girlfriend, including a few blushworthy details.

If you missed the first two installments, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn and “The Moment Our Eyes Met, I Froze”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn. And stay tuned for the final post!


26 years old, advertising professional, living in Shanghai

VICE: How many foreign women have you dated?

Only one, who is my current girlfriend. She’s an American.

How did you two meet?

To talk about this makes me blush a little. We were at the same university in the US – she was studying ancient Chinese, and I was studying old English. We got together and became language partners. At first we would always study together. Once we became more familiar with one another we would talk about almost anything. Of course, the most tantalizing topic between men and women is sex. So she once asked me, “Do you want to try it with a foreign girl?” Then somehow we went back to my dorm. It was her first time to sleep with a Chinese man.

And afterwards you both decided to have a relationship?

Well, not exactly. Because of cultural differences, we were not accustomed to each other’s ways of living at first, and we went back and forth for a period of time before we settled things.

How does she understand your Chinese style of dating?

My girlfriend thinks that in Chinese or Asian culture, relations between men and women are either guided by patriarchy or strict management by wives, different from the gender equality and mutual respect that her culture values.

She often says that I am a typical Chinese guy. The more she says this, the more I want to shatter her stereotypes about Chinese men. Even though we have a good relationship and I’ve already changed some of her attitudes toward Chinese men, she will still inadvertently reveal that she doesn’t like Chinese men very much.

A view of the Pudong skyline in Shanghai, China.

Does this make you feel that there’s additional pressure in your relationship?

Yes, especially in relationships, as you will run into many more practical problems. If I was with a Chinese girl, if there were some living habits that I couldn’t accept I would just directly say so. For example, I really don’t like it when girlfriends are too close to their ex-boyfriends. But now I haven’t said it, because I have this pressure, which makes me consider whether or not to speak out. But in order to not let her think that Chinese men are petty, for now I won’t tell her.

Another burden brought about by ethnic pride?

Yeah, perhaps a little. There are times when I wonder, do I care too much about my Chinese identity and do I want to prove anything? And as a result I will not want to express my feelings. Perhaps it’s not really that necessary to abandon your feelings because of an ethnic burden.

Where do you think your sense of having an ethnic burden comes from?

I think this has something to do with the environment. The other Chinese men around me who have dated white women all seem to have a very similar situation. Perhaps from a young age we’ve all accepted this concept of the Chinese ethnicity, and how we have to bring honor to the country. We were always shouting slogans about how we shouldn’t make Chinese people lose face. Men in particular are especially this way, and in the end it becomes a habitual way of thinking.

Do you have a lot of friends around you who have dated foreigners?

Very few men have sought out foreign girls. But when I was at university in the US, there were quite a few Chinese women dating foreign men. Overseas, there are very few Asian men who pursue white women, and even Asian-Americans basically hang out with other Asians. Plus, Asian men are not as popular as white men in the eyes of foreigners. But women are different – there are always some women who can adapt well into Western life.

What is the biggest difference between dating foreign girls and dating Chinese girls?

The respect for personal space. Foreign girls are very independent and have this awareness of personal space. Even though she really loves you, that doesn’t mean she will do anything for you. This is something Chinese men are not aware of. Additionally, it’s a matter of destiny. Romantic relationships can’t be too deliberate.


This is the third installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. If you missed the first two installments, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn and “The Moment Our Eyes Met, I Froze”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn. And stay tuned for the final post!

“The Moment Our Eyes Met, I Froze”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn

“Her name was Olivia, and she was extremely passionate. … I still remember when I handed the drink to her, the way I felt when she raised her head to look at me. The moment our eyes met, I froze, because her laughter was too enchanting.”

This is the second installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. Today’s interview is with a Chinese man who is an architect living in England, and he has dated women from many different countries there.

If you missed the first installment, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn. And stay tuned for the third and final posts!


24 years old, architect, living in England.

VICE: From what countries are the women you’ve dated?

Actually quite a few. America, England, Brazil, South Korea, Poland, Vietnam, Switzerland. I came in contact with all of these women after arriving in England to study abroad.

Which girl left the deepest impression with you?

Currently it’s this girl from Brazil. Her name was Olivia, and she was extremely passionate. I was particularly impressed by her when we first met. I worked at a pub at the time, and she came by herself to have a drink. I still remember when I handed the drink to her, the way I felt when she raised her head to look at me. The moment our eyes met, I froze, because her laughter was too enchanting. I think I must have stood there for a while, and now that I think about it, I imagine I must have looked especially ridiculous. I also remember when she noticed I didn’t say anything, she asked one thing: “What do you find in my eyes?” She was laughing as she asked me. I will never forget this.

Having dated so many foreign girls, do you have any vanity or sense of pride?

Yes, in China. Many people will look at me, so there times when I feel a little vanity. And overseas as well. Even though people won’t say so, but I’ve felt that they think it’s strange to see white women and Asian men together, so I can feel I am relatively special.

Why do you think Westerners feel it’s strange? Is it because of stereotypes about Asian men?

Exactly. Most people believe Asian men, particularly Chinese men, are very nerdy. Dating Asian men, it’s just like what we call “science and engineering dudes,” and these men are not the most popular no matter where you are. Western women prefer athletic, humorous and sociable guys, as they were taught by their culture. It’s the complete opposite of our educational environment. Of course, there are times when I feel that this stereotype has some basis.

Does this influence your relationships with foreign girls?

Yes. Honestly speaking, especially in England, the locals are very traditional. My former English girlfriend didn’t have a high estimation of Eastern culture, and thought that the Eastern way of being more restrained was not a good characteristic. Her only goal to date me was to learn about Eastern culture, so she could add some content to her report…she always said, “All of my friends don’t like Chinese men because they think you’re too awkward.” But I felt her xenophobia was also rather awkward.

Are there many Chinese men around you who have dated foreign girls?

Very few. I only know of one friend who has.

Is it easier for Chinese women to find foreign boyfriends?

Yes. There’s a big difference in how foreigners treat Chinese men and Chinese women. For example, when there’s a party, the best place for people to hook up, they will invite the Chinese women who are studying with us to go, but won’t invite Chinese men. It clearly shows that, overseas, Chinese men are not as welcome as a group.

As a Chinese man, how do you break through this kind of “dating barrier”?

To connect with foreign women, you need a lot of confidence. This is the core problem, which affects your language, communication and personal charisma. So, if you want to date foreign women, perhaps you need to have confidence in yourself first. I know many guys who were these huge ladies’ men in China that, after coming to England, never mind that they had no luck with the women, they found it was strenuous to get accustomed to life overseas.

When I first went there I was like that, I had no confidence to speak up among foreigners. But in China, a foreign man who can’t even speak Chinese clearly can get a Chinese girlfriend. It’s not just that they are more “coddled” because Chinese women like foreign men. It’s also that foreign men will confidently express themselves no matter what, and let others get to know them.


What do you think of the interview?

P.S.: This is the second installment of my English translation of a Chinese-language article on Vice.cn featuring interviews with four Chinese men who dated foreign women. If you missed the first installment, have a look at “She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn. And stay tuned for the third and final posts!

“She Liked Having Threesomes”: Chinese Men Open up About Dating Foreign Women on Vice.cn

An article on the Chinese version of Vice caught my attention, with very personal interviews with Chinese men on their experiences and perspectives on dating foreign women. Intimate and illuminating, the stories provide a much-needed Chinese perspective on relationships between Chinese men and Western women and also touch upon stereotypes and prejudice. I’ve translated the piece in full from Chinese to English — and because it’s a long piece, I am sharing it in four installments.

Today’s first installment includes the introduction to the article as well as an interview with an IT specialist in Harbin, China, that might just make you blush a little. Stay tuned for the second, third and final installments!


“Tell me, why do your Chinese women all like our foreign men?”

“……”

“All of my foreign friends in China, even those who are considered the most unpopular men, all of them can find girlfriends here, and the girls are all quite pretty. Sometimes I think it is your cultural problem.”

“Don’t say anymore, OK? I already told you, this topic is meaningless.”

“But I really think it’s a problem of your culture.”

“Yes, our culture has problems, so let’s break up.”

For the last time, this was the last time I talked about this topic with my presumptuous white boyfriend. Of course, it was hard to say whether he really was my boyfriend. We only just used to hang out often, and we never clarified our relationship. When we were together for that half year, we had countless discussions on these issues – first these were discussions, then they evolved into disputes and arguments. Until the day before yesterday, I was finally tired and chose to break up.

I’m not a blind regionalist who can’t stop defending China’s exceptional culture with 5,000 years of history. But every time I hear this kind of talk, I can’t help thinking that the man who made that point is very low.  On the contrary, what I’m more interested in, is that for many outstanding Chinese men around me while living abroad, their living environment has still not escaped the Chinese community, and that emotionally speaking, they have almost never landed in the Western world.

I don’t know if this counts as another manifestation of some gender inequality, or if it is the existing reality of cultural colonization. Why it is that so few Asian men are together with white women? What is it that created this cultural stereotype? White men in China are in high demand, while Asian men abroad are not. So what are Asian men like in the eyes of Western women? Why is it that when Chinese girls are with white men, they are often accused of “attaching to foreigners” and “worshipping foreigners,” while when Chinese guys have a Western girlfriend, they are “bringing glory to the country”?

So I talked to four Chinese guys who have been in love with Western women to see how they felt about this topic. [Jocelyn’s note: today I’m sharing the first interview in the article — and I will publish the other three subsequent interviews as separate posts]

The city of Harbin, China, at sunset.

31 years old, IT specialist, currently living in Harbin, China

VICE: What kind of experience have you had dating Western women?

I had a brief relationship with a German girl; also a longer one with a Russian girl.

Did you meet the Russian girl in Harbin?

No, I met her when I went out for travel to Mohe, Heilongjiang, China. Just across the border is her country.

How did the relationship feel to you?

That was it. My English wasn’t very good, and she could only manage the most basic conversation, but English was the only language we could use for communication. When we couldn’t express ourselves clearly, we had to use body language and consult the dictionary.  People say, there are three things that don’t require language: soccer, music and sex. We tried all of them. In soccer, I couldn’t play as well as her. She used to be captain of the Voronezh amateur soccer team. Russians are too fierce. Her shots for goals were even more powerful than the strongest player in the dorm next to mine in college. In music, we didn’t really have a common language either. She liked local Russian folk music, which included some rather shrill instruments, while I only listened to Jay Chou. …

What about the sex?

Overall, it was actually not bad. But she had some peculiar idiosyncrasies – she liked having threesomes. At first it was really hard to accept. But later we tried it. Sometimes when we found another girl it was OK, but she specifically liked watching me and another girl do it. Sometimes she hoped to find another man, and that I really could not accept. Additionally, she was so strong, it was like she emptied out my manhood.

In terms of sex, do you think “made in China” has a disadvantage?

There are no disadvantages. I think this is guided by culture, where it’s purely Westerners creating a malicious portrayal of Easterners. I looked up information on the internet, and in terms of size Asian men don’t have an advantage. But research has found that women aren’t as demanding about size as the rumors suggest – it’s only men who aren’t confident about themselves that care.

So sex was never a problem in your relationship?

No. When we first got together, I was not confident, and I even thought, how could Asian men possibly match up with white girls. I was especially embarrassed. But in the end, she gave me a lot of confidence in this respect.

Apart from sex, what was her impression of Chinese men?

She really liked Chinese men. A lot of her friends had also dated Asian men. Some people say that in Northeast China there’s more male chauvinism, but I never heard her complain about it. She actually thought Chinese men were more responsible than foreign men, and the way they treated her made her feel more comfortable.

Have your friends ever dated Western women?

Around here, there aren’t that many foreigners to begin with, so it’s even rarer to see a Chinese man with a Western woman together. There aren’t any friends around me who have. Whenever she and I would go out, we would turn a lot of heads.

Did you feel a little proud?

No. Some people believe that going out with Western women gives you more face, but I didn’t feel that way. At first it felt like a fresh experience, but later on I got used to it and felt annoyed. Whether people praise you or not, who wouldn’t feel a little uncomfortable to always have people pointing at you.

What do you think of the prejudice Westerners have against Asian men?

I haven’t felt much prejudice myself, but I feel that most of the prejudiced people have never really had much contact with Asians – they just have a very superficial understanding. For example this topic of sex you’ve mentioned, you can see this kind of idea in the movies or advertisements, that men need to be solid, have these six-pack abs, Asian men are perceived as not having this kind of physique, so then they cannot be become a popular standard of attractiveness. Besides, many movies and TV shows deliberately make fun of Asian men, giving people this feeling that Asian men are very nerdy or stupid, which is completely different from the reality.

So how would you get rid of this stereotype?

Improve your language ability and express yourself. My English is no good, so there are times when I don’t dare to express myself. I’m afraid that this is an impression that foreign girls often have of Asian men, that we shrink away from daring to start a conversation. I think this is mainly because of language. But foreigners like these active and enthusiastic people. If you’re not willing to talk, how can someone be with you? Smooth communication can promote a relationship between two people.


What do you think of this interview?

P.S.: Stay tuned for the second, third and final installments of this article.

Translators? Tour Guides? Teachers? More Mistaken Identities for AMXF Couples

Last week, I shared my experience of having a foreign man in China mistake me and my husband for being “mother and son”. (Though, it wasn’t entirely surprising because I’d once had a woman working at a cash register in the US wonder if my husband was my foreign exchange student!)

Well, readers took to this blog and social media to share their own experiences of mistaken identity as part of interracial couples of Asian men and non-Asian women (AMXF). The comments were fascinating, highlighting a number of “mistaken identity” situations that I’ve either heard of or experienced myself.

AMXF couples are still a rare enough sight in China that people often don’t assume you’re actually husband and wife when they first see you. (And sometimes they don’t even believe you when you tell them that, yes, you are in fact a couple, which once happened to me and my husband.)

Here are a few common themes, inspired by your comments. (Note: A big thank you to Ana Hudson (IG: whitechocolateplayer) for permission to run the her photo with this post, featuring models Justin Zhang (IG: NoobStrength) and Marina Bruzadin (IG: marinabruzadin). You can see more of these photos in the post 13 Sexy, Fun ‘AMXF Deadpool’ Photos to Make You Smile.)

Is he your translator?

One fellow on Facebook chimed in with what must surely be the No 1 thing that comes to mind when people in China happen to see Chinese men walking around with a woman of a different race: “I have been considered as her interpreter more than husband ????”

This actually happens all the time to me and my husband as well — so much so that I’ve come to expect it from people in China, particularly when we’re in places like banks or stores!

Is he your tour guide?

Similar to “Is he your translator?”, a “tour guide” is another form of mistaken identity frequently experienced by AMXF couples together here in China. Especially if you happen to be together at any tourist attractions in China. As a woman commented on Facebook, “When we were young people thought my husband was a tour guide ????”

Is she your teacher?

As everyone knows, English teacher is the most common profession for foreigners in China. Well, when some folks in China see a Western woman walking with a Chinese man — two people who are actually in a couple — they might assume she’s his English teacher.

That’s what happened with one woman who commented on Facebook, noting, “My husband is always asked if I’m his English teacher but actually he used to be my Mandarin teacher!”

And more…

A Chinese man and a white woman, who were husband and wife, walked into a restaurant…but – no joke here — the staff didn’t take them for a couple, as one woman took to Facebook to share: “I get this constantly when we eat out together. ‘Is this one check or two?’ – to which my response is always, ‘Since he is my husband, yes I will be paying the check for us together.’”

Then again, speaking of jokes, sometimes the best response to all of this is a smile and good sense of humor.

Have you ever been mistaken as something other than a couple?

“Marrying Chinese Men Means Less Talk, but More Respect and More Help in the Household” – Featured in the Global Times

People close to me know this has been an extraordinary busy month — which is why I’m late in sharing some good news.

Earlier this month, the Global Times featured me (along with two other women, including fellow blogger Jo Bai of Life Behind the Wall) in an article titled Marrying Chinese Men Means Less Talk, but More Respect and More Help in the Household.

Here are some excerpts from the piece:

Jocelyn Eikenburg, who lives in Beijing and founded the popular expat blog Speaking of China, describes being married to her Chinese husband as “intercultural, interracial, international and bilingual.”

Like De Leye, Eikenburg also found that there are major differences in the way she and her husband express their feelings. Growing up in the US, she watched her parents express love through words, kisses and hugs.

“Here in China, love is something that is shown through actions, such as making you your favorite dinner or buying you something special, and married Chinese men are less likely to kiss or hug their spouses in front of others.” …

Eikenburg says her husband is wonderful at home. He does a lot of housework and always helps prepare dinner. His ideas about couples sharing the work might have been influenced by his parents. When he was growing up in rural Zhejiang Province, both of his parents had to work and also helped around the house, she said.

“There’s no doubt that in a country as large as China, there are regional differences in terms of culture and that may influence what families tend to consider the norm in marriages and households. And I have heard some of these ideas, such as how Shanghai men supposedly make great husbands,” she said.

“My husband’s family is also an example of a household that might not have followed the typical pattern for the village, which reminds me that it’s always important to keep an open mind and never assume that a person will fall in line with the general beliefs or stereotypes.”

Eikenburg also noted that there is a drastic difference on this point between the urban areas and the countryside.

“I’m pleased that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who have a daughter, always tell her that they want her to go to college and do well in school; that’s encouraging to see.”

You can read the full article here on the Global Times. And if you like it, share it!

2018 Blogs by Western Women Who Love Chinese Men

New bloggers added in 2018 (from top left): Adventures in Asia, Anna Recommends, A Koala Girl in a Panda World, A Georgia Peach Blossoming in China, Lingotopia, Let’s Get Additives

It’s March and we’re celebrating International Women’s Day. That means it’s time to update to my list of blogs by Western women who love Chinese men!

This year, my list includes 45 46 different blogs! I’ve still grouped the blogs loosely according to their focus, and tagged first timers on this list with *NEW* for your convenience.

Like last year, the same housekeeping rule applies — blogs must have been updated within the past year to make this list.

So, without further ado…(insert drumroll of choice)…here are the blogs!

Authors/Books
Family and Kids
Personal Stories

Authors/Books

Behind the Story. American writer Nicki Chen married her late Chinese husband in 1967, the same year that the US Supreme Court finally made interracial marriages legal in the US. She’s led a fascinating life indeed, so it’s no wonder that her blog has become a repository for many of the real-life stories that inspire her novels, including this post about some of the stories behind her paintings. Her debut novel Tiger Tail Soup hit the shelves in 2015 and it’s perfect for anyone who loves Pearl Buck’s wartime China stories. Check out my interview with Nicki from September 2014 to learn more about Tiger Tail Soup.

My Half of the Sky. Jana McBurney-Lin, who has a Chinese husband and children, penned the novel My Half of the Sky, which also is the namesake of her writing- and family-focused blog. But as a Tai Chi enthusiast, I loved this older post about trying out this venerable martial art.

Madame Huang’s Kitchen (Formerly Out to Lunch). Carolyn J. Phillips loves to eat, and shares her passion with the world through some of the most authentic and mouth-watering recipes for Chinese food on the web. Don’t read on an empty stomach. She’s also the author of the Chinese cookbooks All Under Heaven and the Dim Sum Field Guide. To learn more about Carolyn and her work, check out my 2012 interview with her, as well as my interviews with her about All Under Heaven and the Dim Sum Field Guide.

Susan Blumberg-Kason. Once upon a time, Susan was a yangxifu, spending time in Wuhan with her Chinese husband and first child. She’s since moved back to her Chicago roots, remarried and added two more children to her family, but is forever connected to China. She offers tidbits of everything from Jewish Asia to raising multicultural kids, as well as regular reviews on Hong Kong/Shanghai/China-related books. If you’re living in or near Chicago, or passing through, check out her book, All the Tea in Chicago. In 2014 she released her long-awaited memoir Good Chinese Wife – if you’re new to the book, check out my interview with her. Susan also contributes to the new group blog WWAM Bam.

Sveta’s Book Review Blog. Sveta currently pours her passion into reading and sharing her latest reads on this blog. She reviews a variety of books, including AMWF reads that might interest followers of this blog, and titles celebrating diversity.

Family and Kids

The Downtown Diner. American Melanie Gao has no pretensions about herself. Her blog is a homey, welcoming little slice of the yangxifu blogosphere, self-described as “Made famous in Beijing, now operating out of Nashville, Tennessee.” She has spoken out about her divorce from her Chinese ex-husband and will always remain my unofficial twin (we really do look alike). She often writes about her two lovely biracial and bicultural children and filed a fascinating post about what Beijing traffic taught her about mass shootings. Thanks for keeping it real, Melanie.

Elfy Jo (Formerly Joke Tummers). She’s a Dutch woman living in Guangzhou with her husband and family, and her China adventure is filled with music. A former member of the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, she now teaches musical instruments to young children at her own school and others in the region. She posts about her teaching and family on her blog; you can also learn more about her through this interview posted on my blog last year.

Ember Swift. This Canadian woman is a singer-songwriter, musician, writer and blogger who writes some of the most fascinating and powerful posts on this list about her life (from her marriage to a Chinese guy to raising their kids). Don’t miss the interviews (one and two) with her that I posted up in 2013 just before Chinese New Year. Her blog has become required reading for pregnancy in China as well as navigating the visa issues of having kids with a Chinese national. Congratulations to her for completing her first musical tour in Europe!

Foreign Sanctuary. Constance is a Canadian married to a Taiwanese man who currently calls Taiwan home — and shares gorgeous photos as well as stories from her life. She just gave birth to a baby boy in 2016, and wrote about her take on the joys of being his mom, but also hopes to come out with a memoir in the near future. Enjoy her guest post on my site about how she believes everything happens for a reason (even how she ended up finding love and a new life in Taiwan).

Hong Kong Kisses. This blog is written Canadian woman with a Hong Kong husband and their two young kids living in Canada. She often blogs about her family life, including spending Christmas with family in Canada.

Living A Dream in China. Finnish woman Sara Jaaksola finished her master’s degree in Chinese language education here in China and now teaches foreigners how to speak Chinese from her new office in Guangzhou, China. Also the mom of a toddler, she’s a great example of how you can balance business and family. Check out her recent post on 30 things about her.

Living in China With Kids. This blog by American Charlotte Edwards Zhang aims to help expat parents survive and thrive in China. Anyone raising kids in the Middle Kingdom will enjoy her posts including this one on prenatal checkups and this post on embassy regulations for births abroad. Charlotte was also featured in the anthology Knocked Up Abroad Again!

Lost Panda. Anna was born in Russia and raised in Germany, but she ultimately discovered her love and future in China. In 2014 she dazzled us with her personal stories at The Mandarin Duck, and now she’s doing it again with the Lost Panda, a blog especially dedicated to living in rural China. Some of her cool posts include The Thing I Wish I Knew Before Marrying into a Chinese Family and “Sheng Da Pang Sunzi 生大胖孙子” The pressure of having a boy in rural China. Her blog is also a wonderful resource for anyone curious about what it’s like to be pregnant and give birth in a more rural Chinese city. Don’t miss her interview on this blog about being an artist and China TV host.

Mandarin Stories. Orange rain’s blog originally had a dramatic backstory — even though she was already married to a Chinese man, her family didn’t know about it. Turns out, when she finally revealed her secret marriage to the family, there wasn’t any drama over it at all (nor much reaction, according to her). In 2015  she and the hubby had their official wedding ceremony in Shanghai (which her two brothers and Aunt even attended, their first-ever trip to China) and she posted her gorgeous pre-wedding photos (including pics in a stunning red dress). Congrats to her on giving birth to a new baby in 2016!

Nama Mama. This was one of the most exciting blogs I discovered in 2014 – it’s not often you come across an American woman married to a Tibetan guy living in Xining, Qinghai (with their daughter). You’ll find posts on Kimberly’s blog about Tibetan traditions, such as Tibetan New Year, as well as dispatches on cultural differences in her relationship and a recap of what she did over 2017. Kim is also a contributor to the new group blog WWAM Bam. Be sure to read her guest post here about how she met her husband (who seems like a super-sweet and extra-special guy).

Olivia’s Choice. If the community had a magazine, chances are Olivia Lau could easily be the covergirl. This beautiful and stylish woman from Spain was living in Hong Kong, where she met and married a local man and also ran her own online fashion store. They’ve moved back to Barcelona to work in Olivia’s family store, but still make regular trips back to Asia (such as these dispatches from Tokyo and Hong Kong). Her maternity pictures (she gave birth to their second child in February last year) are stunning.

Shandongxifu. Ericka, who used to live in Qingdao with her Shandong husband, was known by many of us through her posts at the Lost Laowai blog — where she confidently reminded us that Laowai Girls Love Asian Boys. She rocked the blogosphere in 2014 by bravely coming forward with her chilling story of sexual assault in Shenzhen. Now she resides in the US with her husband and their young son. She has recently shared the experience of surviving a hurricane with her family.

*NEW*Squirrels of a Feather. American Marissa Zheng, who lives on the East Coast with her husband and “two rambunctious boys,” loves to blog about everything that matters to families (from saving money to DIY to food). Readers will enjoy her posts on Chinese language learning and family.

Wo Ai Ni. Rhiannon, an American woman who met and married her Chinese husband in the US, creates a whimsical collage of an intercultural family on her site. It’s a snapshot of daily family life — including two blonde-haired children from a previous marriage, and six half-Chinese kids.

Personal Stories

*NEW*Adventures in Asia. Katie, an American living in China, writes about everything from Korean dramas to cross-cultural relationships to expat life. Her “Ask a cross-cultural couple” column offers advice to others (such as changing your name). If you’re planning weddings in two different countries, you might find her wedding experience helpful!

*NEW*Anna Recommends. Also known as “Annareco,” this lifestyle blog by a Beijing-based Polish woman married to a Chinese man is a delight to read, with posts on health, beauty and, of course, love. Recent AMWF love stories on the blog include Seven Days After Our First Date, I Wrote on the Bathroom Door, “He is the One” and I Asked Her to Be My Girlfriend Before Asking Her Out for a Date.

Becky Ances She teaches English in lovely Xiamen and writes frequently about traveling, her students, and expat life (such as what it was like to be in Xiamen during the BRICS conference!). But many of you will appreciate her take on dating Chinese men. You can also follow her at her other blog Badminton Becky! Congrats to her for being featured on NPR!

*NEW*白小颱 Biały Mały Tajfun (Polish). This Kunming-based blogger from Poland has a Chinese husband and a passion for writing about a variety of topics on China, such as the food, Yunnan and Kunming, as well as writing about her own adventures.

Bunny and Panda. A blog by the “Bunny”, a British woman just recently engaged to the Panda (a Hong Konger who proposed to her at the Peak in Hong Kong – how romantic!). They both live in the UK, where they are having a wedding later this year! Readers will enjoy her post on Chinese wedding traditions.

China Doll. She’s a Norwegian woman who went to China when she was 13 and later met her Chinese beau CC (with whom she had an LDR for some time). She now resides in Beijing with her husband. Readers will enjoy her gorgeous pre-wedding photos as well as her four wedding dresses.

Our Chinese Wedding. A blog by Laura, a British/German woman who married her Chinese beau in 2015, sharing all of the ups and downs in the process of getting married in China (from the issues with bureaucracy to bridesmaid dress horrors to even comparisons between wedding guests in Europe versus China). Laura is one of the founding contributors and editors of the new group blog WWAM Bam. Additionally, don’t miss her guest post for Speaking of China on The F-Word: Body Image in China.

Chocolate Chick in China. This African-American blogger is an English teacher based in  China, and you’ve got to love a woman who writes this in her About page: “I have  always been fascinated by the 5000 year old culture and also all the handsome single Chinese men that may never find love due to the fact that they overpopulate the women. so off I go to China to find a different way of life and  maybe a husband too.” Wishing her the best in Fuzhou!

The Dutchinese Couple. Christine is the daughter of Dutch immigrants, Junwen the son of Chinese immigrants. They share their struggles and insights as a “Dutchinese” couple living in Los Angeles in America. My favorite posts include What would attract a White girl to an Asian guy? and this exploration of their own preconceptions and stereotypes.

*NEW*A Georgia Peach Blossoming in China. American Shalita, who is also an Atlanta native, followed her dreams in moving to China, where she met and married her husband. Many of us can relate to her post titled English is NOT his FIRST language.

My Hong Kong Husband. Lina, who hails from Poland, currently lives in Hong Kong with the eponymous husband that inspired her blog — one that has fast become a popular read in the AMWF community. And it’s no wonder, with her funny posts about everything from a survival guide for dealing with mothers-in-law (she calls hers “Momzilla”) to her husband as “pick up artist”. Congrats to them for landing on Hong Kong TV!

Judith in China (in Dutch). This Dutch woman used to live in Beijing with her local boyfriend but has since moved with him to Wuhan. She blogs about life in China, including the things she encounters every day in the country, such as odd things her neighbors do. Her guest post titled “He Feels Horrible About Me Being The Breadwinner” got a lot of you talking.

*NEW*A Koala Girl in a Panda World. She’s “an Australian Koala living and loving life in Hong Kong with my panda man,” posting about everything from Christmas in Hong Kong to Chinese New Year.

Lena Around. Lena is a 20-something Danish girl who is currently working on a master’s degree in Communication in Beijing while traveling in Asia and writing about those travels, China (her favorite place) and love. She’s written about everything from traveling in Southwest China to wondering why Chinese guys ask about her weight. Have a look at her guest posts for this blog, How Asian Will My Future Husband Be?I Shouldn’t Be Dating in My Own Country, and When Tradition Gets in the Way of Intercultural Dating.

*NEW*Let’s Get Additives. This Finnish woman with a Chinese husband shares her life through delightful little comics that capture her thoughts and experiences, such as City of Love (which recalls the day she and the hubby got married) and this year in review for 2017.

Linda Goes East (formerly Linda Living in China). Originally from Germany, Linda followed her heart and passion all the way to China, never expecting that along the way she would end up falling in love with a man from Korea. Now based in Korea, she blogs about everything from life in Korea to travel to AMWF. Don’t miss her guest post for this blog about four things that helped her adapt to life in South Korea.

Life Behind the Wall. The first blog on this list by an African-American woman with a Chinese beau. Jo Gan isn’t your usual expat teaching English in China. An entrepreneur and dreamer, she has become a partner in a bar, started her own band, dated some fascinating fellows (before meeting her sweetheart Jet Liu), and has her own fashion company. Readers will enjoy her take on sex shops in China and PDA in China. Also, check out her interview for this blog, where she talks about some of her entrepreneurial endeavors.

*NEW*Lingotopia. A blog from Miriam, a language enthusiast from Germany who also happens to have a Chinese husband. She says, “I’m interested in languages from a linguistic point of view and because I want to know more about other cultures.” And yes, those languages include Chinese! Readers of this blog might like her posts What’s in a Face? About Stereotypes and Mixing Chinese and Italian (Zhenjie Paifang vs Archi di castità).

Marta lives in China. She’s a Spaniard who met her Chinese boyfriend husband in Suzhou, where she used to work for a manufacturer in the city and now she freelances from the comfort of her home. You’ll love her post on how she met her sweetheart C as well as her many humorous posts (such as this one titled “There’s Too Many People in China”). You can also follow her en espaňol on her Spanish-language blog Infinity Plus One. Congratulations on getting married in 2017!

Mingbai. A Dutch woman with a Chinese husband runs a China consulting and travel business, and maintains a blog written in Dutch mainly about travel destinations in this great country.

Ni Hao Cassandra (in Spanish). Cassandra is a 20-something Chilean who studied for a year Mandarin Chinese in Kaifeng, Henan, China. She has long been passionate about Chinese culture, and also has a Chinese boyfriend (who she posts about on the blog). Check out this post on customs regarding couples and love in China.

The Ruby Ronin. American Mary (who has a white dad and an Asian mom) has long had a love affair with Asia, spending two years in Japan (and learning Japanese), and then four years in China. She’s now living in Texas with her husband (congrats on getting married last year!) and embarking on a new chapter in her life! An interesting recent post on the blog is Guns, an American Way of Life.

Selly’s Little World. Sarah Heintze is a German gal who was residing in Wuhan, China, describing herself as a “Music lover with a weakness for 王力宏 Wang Leehom. Quirky. Cheeky. A butterfly flitting between ideas. In love with exercising, 小笼包 (xiaolongbao) & 热干面 (hot dry noodles)。” She posts on what’s on her mind and what she’s doing. Wishing her the best as she says goodbye to her current situation and moves on to new adventures.

Sincerely, Shalom (Formerly Jew Knew). Eileen’s blog is so lovely and touching, like her pictures of smiling, long-haired women in dazzling rainbow colors. She is married to a man from Taiwan and after living with him in Shanghai and Taiwan, they’re back in the US. Her posts are often quirky and fun, such as this A to Z list of things she loves (A is for “amazing tofu”!).

When West Dates East. Autumn — who lives in LA with her Chinese American boyfriend – writes: “Some swear it’s a myth:  ‘You’ll find a unicorn before you find a white chick who dates Asian dudes.’ Welcome to my blog on unicorns.” She offers a funny and self-deprecating look into her relationship with posts such as Year of the Dawg (or how much a new mattress can improve your life) and Like a Pill. Don’t miss her guest post for this site titled A “Little” Something Red for My Chinese-American Groom.

WWAM Bam (Western Women & Asian Men, Breaking All Molds). The new group blog for AMWF (or WWAM) couples, exploring everything from cultural differences in relationships to stereotypes/racism and beyond. Recent posts include Bi in Shanghai: Waiting for the Right Year, Waiting for the Right Person, How China’s one-child policy is affecting my family life in Europe, and “Kim’s Convenience” in Toronto — Jung Makes Us Sweat. I’m proud to be a contributor – and you’re welcome to join us by e-mailing the blog at contact(at)wwambam.com.

Xi’ananigans. Marissa, an American woman from New Jersey, met her hubby ZJ while teaching English in Xi’an (she married him in China in the most brilliant red gown I’ve ever seen) and in 2014 moved with him back to the States. They’ve navigated the challenges of building a new life for themselves in the US (which has its pluses too). She just had a baby in 2017 – congrats to her! – and also contributes to the new group blog WWAM Bam. Don’t miss her guest post on my site all about how she met and fell in love with ZJ, or the Q&A I did for her blog.

What do you think? What blogs did I miss?

Are China’s AMWF Couples Rarer Just Because Only 25% of Foreigners in China Are Women?

A couple weeks ago, I happened to share a Global Times article titled, “When a Chinese Man Loves a White Woman”, which mentioned me and this blog. Naturally, it generated some conversation on social media. One of the comments came from a guy, asking why the author hadn’t mentioned the preponderance of male foreigners as a reason for the rarity of couples of Western women and Chinese men in China.

For those of you who don’t know, approximately 75 percent of the foreign population in China is in fact male.

It would be tempting to point to this gender imbalance as the primary explanation for why couples of Western women and Asian men are such a minority. But if you did, you’d be missing the big picture.

After all, this gender imbalance fails to explain why there are so few AMWF couples around the world, and why even Chinese American men don’t feel the love from their fellow Americans (see the essay “Are Asian Men Undateable?”). If Asian men who were born and raised in the West have it tough in the dating world, we could hardly expect better for Asian foreign men who come to the West for work or education.

I would argue, then, that even if the foreign population in China was equally split among gender – 50 percent female and 50 percent male – you would still see an imbalance in the interracial dating world in China. You would still see far more couples of Western men and Asian women, and far fewer couples of Western women and Asian men.

The reality is, prejudices and stereotypes are slow to fade. Even 50 years after the Loving versus Virginia US Supreme Court decision, interracial couples still feel the sting of discrimination from their fellow Americans (as reported by NPR). Meanwhile, Hollywood has an abysmal record when it comes to featuring interracial romance on the screen overall (and we’re not even talking about just AMWF couples here).

It’s going to take a lot more than enticing more foreign women to come to China to boost the numbers of Western women and Asian men in love over here.

P.S.: If you’re wondering why couples of Western women and Asian men are so rare, have a look at On the Rarity of Foreign Women and Chinese Boyfriends/Chinese Husbands. See also my piece for the Huffington Post titled Why Won’t Western Women Date Chinese Men?

Featured in the Global Times – “When a Chinese Man Loves a White Woman”

The Global Times just published an article titled “When a Chinese Man Loves a White Woman”, and I was honored to be included:

American Jocelyn Eikenburg, founder of the popular Speaking of China blog has played a key role in the integration of the global WWAM community.

“Why don’t Western women date Asian men?” one of Eikenburg’s articles featured in the Huffington Post, wisely invited women to look at the vast ethnic and cultural diversity of Chinese men instead of writing them all off per se as a single, homogenized race.

A huge thanks to Katrin Büchenbacher for inviting me to be a part of the article, which begins like this:

The brunette with sparkling blue eyes beneath long eyelashes could pass for any American exchange student. Dressed in a simple khaki shirt, blue jeans and a spiky bronze necklace, she is stuck in the Shanghai traffic, running late for her video shoot with the Global Times Metro Shanghai. What sets this young lady, Vicky, apart from other expats in this city, however, is the person sitting next to her – a tall, handsome man in a crisp white shirt, speaking with a deep, confident voice. It’s her long-term boyfriend, a Chinese national.

Chinese men dating or married to foreign women are still a rather rare form of interracial love. When they walk down the streets holding hands, they can literally feel people staring at them and whispering to each other, or even pointing fingers.

Head on over to the Global Times to read “When a Chinese Man Loves a White Woman”. And if you like it, share it. 🙂

Guest Post: How a Chinese Student Found Love in Finland

It’s always exciting to hear love stories from the guy’s perspective. I’m thrilled to share this tale of how Zhao, a Chinese student in Finland, fell in love with a Finnish girl and eventually married her.

Do you have a love story or other guest post you’d like to see featured on this blog? Visit the submit a post page today to learn how to have your words published here.
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The first time I met Saara was on June 5, 2015 when I went to meet a Chinese girl named Xiaofeng in the city center square. Saara was together with Xiaofeng. That’s how we met.

On that day, we went to Xiaofeng’s apartment to cook and chat. It was far from my living place, and I was not familiar with the way to get back. Saara drew me a map in an interesting way. I was impressed by that. Plus, she was cute and good at drawing.

One month later, I posted a status on Facebook saying I am bored. So she contacted me to show some care, and we met the second time in her apartment. It was the first time I ever went to a Finn’s home. I was impressed by three bookshelves, the style of the room, and her talent with languages talents (she speaks many languages). Yet, I didn’t even consider the possibility of a relationship with her.

We met for the third time two days later. There, in her apartment, she proposed to be my girlfriend. I was quite surprised since I had never imagined it can happen. It was also our third time to meet, which seemed too soon for me. But I told myself, “Why not have a try?” So I agreed to be her boyfriend.

I was very excited and anxious in the following few days after we began dating. Before meeting Saara, I had struggled with interacting with Finns. I told myself it would never be possible to have girlfriend in Finland. Also, this relationship happened so fast. I was not sure if I was right to date her. I thought, “Wow, is this a dream?”

It was summer holiday, and she started inviting me to hang out. Soon she took me to meet her Finnish friends, while I was still not sure if I should take her to meet my friends. Her friends gave me a good impression, and I noticed some similarities between her and her friends. They were more reserved, preferred casual clothing, and, struck me as sincere, honest, and kind. They were such genuine people.

Meeting Her Parents, Taking Her to My Home

She became my girlfriend from mid July 2015. At the end of the month, Finnair began offering discounted airfares back to China. I had already planned to go back home to China during Chinese New Year, so I asked her if she wanted to go with me. I didn’t think it was so serious at the moment. I was just thinking to take a foreign friend back to China. She agreed immediately, and her courage also surprised me. So when she asked her mom for money for the trip, her parents got to know that their daughter who had never had a boyfriend before then had a boyfriend, and he is a foreigner, an Asian guy! So, her parents wanted to meet us in Helsinki.

Her parents, especially her mom, gave me a very good impression. It was interesting that I was not nervous, while her mom very anxious and shy. After over an hour, her parents agreed to let their daughter to go with me, and I could see they liked me a lot. Her cousin has a Japanese wife, and her uncle works with Chinese, so her family are familiar with Asians. However, I could feel her mom still had some worries after that meeting. None of them had ever visited China before, and China was another far away world to them. She also wanted to see if I am reliable or not. So she didn’t give Saara the money immediately, but I paid for the ticket for her, which gave her mom a good impression.

During that summer holiday in Finland, her parents took us to visit her relatives and grandma at the places where they grew up. Her relatives also gave me very good impression and all welcomed me. From her parents and relatives, I could see this is a very good family. They are very knowledgeable and open-minded.

Weekly Meetings to Keep in Touch

She lived at the Western end of the city, while I lived in the Southeastern end of the city. Her university is in the city center, right in between where we lived. I proposed that I go to visit her every weekend, and we go to class together every Wednesday evening, because I was taking a course in her university in that semester. We kept in touch like that, twice per week. Now I know every stop of Bus 13 from my place to her place. It’s a romantic memory to me now.

Worries, Struggles, Puzzles, and Breaking-up

Very soon after that, I felt more and more pressure. I was not sure if I really loved her, since I couldn’t feel love at all. There were lots of misunderstandings between us because of our different cultures. I had never had a girlfriend before meeting her, so I also didn’t know what was normal for a relationship. But she was sure of me. She felt so strongly about me, which confused me. Since I didn’t expect a relationship could come so soon and a girl could behave like that, I worried it wasn’t normal.

I felt like I was playing with fire. I also played two roles to talk to myself. On the one hand, I told myself I should continue the relationship. On the other hand, I warned myself I shouldn’t force myself to go in the wrong direction. Lots of things were unclear in my mind. She noticed my struggle and worried about our relationship. In addition, I was planning to continue my studies and research in Germany after graduating from the university in Finland, I didn’t plan to stay in Finland for a long time. I was so confused, with so many ideas in my mind.

One day in late October, I finally decided to end things. We broke up. I had actually expected her to say something, to hold me, or to confess her real feelings, but she didn’t. She accepted the breakup without words. What I didn’t realize was she didn’t feel courageous enough in that moment to reach out and hold me. What I didn’t know was that her bad childhood experiences had made her believe nobody would want to be her boyfriend.

Relationship Recovery After 4 Days

I felt anxious about her very soon after breaking-up. I was worried, because deep down I sensed that the breakup had been harder on her than she let on. What if she couldn’t continue her studies? What if she did something stupid?

Before breaking up, I told myself that I didn’t feel love for her. But then I came to realize that after breaking-up, on the contrary, I cared for her even more. Then I understood that I loved her, otherwise I would not have had those feelings.

I was taking a course of Finnish culture and society at her university at that period. The class was on Wednesday evenings. Before breaking-up, she was waiting at the bus stop every time and we went to the class together. But that Wednesday, I felt so lost and empty when I arrived. I looked around, and hoped to spot her, yet no.

That lecture rescued our relationship! The lecture was about typical Finnish behavior and the general character of the people there. When the teacher said being silent in communication is very common and regarded as politeness in Finland, I was stunned. At that moment, I understood why she was not talkative when we were together! I understood that my tendency to talk a lot could be regarded as not being polite to a Finn! I understood she was not hiding anything from me when she was not talkative. It was just normal to Finns. I realized how much I misunderstood her, and that she had probably misunderstood some of my behavior.

Then I felt our breaking-up was caused by lots of misunderstandings and a lack of mutual understanding. Breaking-up enabled me to see I loved her.

Even though I was nervous and struggling, I told myself I need to visit her. When arrived at her apartment, I was shocked by her crying. I didn’t expect this Finnish girl would want me so much and show such a strong emotions. She touched me. Plus, I understood her better now.

So, after four days of being apart, I decided to restart the relationship. But I was honest with her. I said, “We can recover and start again. But I have to say that this doesn’t guarantee a future. If it doesn’t go well, breaking up is also possible.” She agreed.

Relationship Grew, Still Some Worries

It was great to be in a stable relationship again. I cared about her and her feelings for me were serious too. At the end of October 2015, we booked our tickets back to China to return during the Spring Festival.

But then I started to worry about my family. What if my family didn’t like her or wouldn’t accept a foreigner? Before going abroad, my grandparents warned me not to find girlfriend from abroad. What would they think? Still, the tickets had already been paid for. So I decided take her back and have a try.

Visiting My Family During Spring Festival

In February 2016, she came to my home with me and we stayed one week. The result was better than I expected. All my family and relatives liked her, and she was used to the people and life in China. This made me feel so at ease.

After returning to Finland, our relationship developed quickly. She and I both felt more secure in our relationship.

Cohabitation – A New Period

We also made plans about the future. We agreed to move back to China in the future. She studies education and will be a teacher. Somehow, she has Chinese friends more than I do and she likes Chinese people a lot. She wants to do education development work in a developing country like China. I am also very sure of going back China. Therefore, we could foresee a future life together in China.

She proposed we live together, which is very common in Finland but not common in China. I thought it would be challenging but good to try. It would also be good for us to better understand each other better. So we applied for a family apartment and moved in May 2016. Her parents were also in favor of this, and they came to help move our stuff for two days.

However, when started living together, we had lots of conflicts in terms of our habits and opinions. We quarreled four to five times in the first month, twice during the second month, and then much less. Later on, I came to realize that we often argued about politics. Her opinions about China are limited by the Western media and their negative portrayal of China. We are similar because we both feel strongly about our own opinions. But a major reason for our quarreling was due to cultural differences in how we talk. Now we have no more problems. I came to realize she was the right person, since we were able to solve our previous difficulties one by one. We both were willing to change ourselves for the sake of the relationship. If we had been too stubborn, the relationship would not have gone on.

Now when look back, I realize I learned a lot about handling relationships. She helped me understand what is true love. True love is not perfect without any conflicts, but true love can enable both people to learn a lot and to grow to be better people.

Marriage

In September 2016, Saara suggested we marry.

While it seemed fast at first, I thought it over and realized a number of things. I loved her very much. I also loved Finland and wanted to further my own studies of the Finnish language. Plus, it would be wonderful to be connected to this country, to have family there.

So I agreed to marry her. I said yes.

We were engaged on November 8, and had an engagement celebration party after Christmas, where her relatives wished us great joy. We hope to register our marriage in March and have a wedding ceremony in May or June in Finland. Now I feel so certain, so confident in our upcoming marriage. It is truly just like a dream.

A 26-year-old from Xiaogan, Hubei Province, China, Zhao is finishing his master’s degree in material sciences in Tampere, Finland, where he met his Finnish fiancée. You can follow his adventures at http://chinameetswest.wordpress.com.
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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.