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.

2017 Blogs by Western Women Who Love Chinese Men

New blogs for 2017! Top row (left to right):WWAM BamBunny and PandaLiving In China With Kids. Middle row: The Dutchinese CoupleSecrets of a World TravelerThe Joyful Dumplings. Bottom row: An Oven, a Wok, and a FamilyJoke Tummers; and The Daily Susily.

It’s March and we’re about to celebrate 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 53 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 that chronicles her lovely family. 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.

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. Last year 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 still searches for her true Asian love, but 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

Celestereille. This blog is another proud example of beautiful Blasian love in China, right down to this gorgeous photo of the author kissing her Chinese beau, and this lovely Valentine to him. She welcomed her lovely baby Connor into the world in 2013 and in 2014 she moved the whole family back with her to the US (but still files the occasional post about China, such as Top 5 Things I Can’t Understand About China). Congrats to her on her new baby girl!

China Elevator Stories. This Austrian graphic designer living in Northeast China has a husband from that region – and, since 2014, a mom. Her blog has become a valuable resource about being pregnant in China. One of her best classic posts is 8 things you should know before marrying into a Chinese family. She’s also one of the contributors to the new group blog WWAM Bam. Don’t miss her 2013 guest post for me on love, fighting and finding harmony in her own marriage.

Diaries of a Yangxifu. UK native Sarah met her husband during a marathon in Birmingham (a how-we-met story she generously shared with us all in her guest post on my site). She’s in China now with her husband and their son, writing about everything from what it’s like being a working mom in China to things she and her husband don’t agree on regarding health and well-being. And did I mention she’s also a vegan, just like me?

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 her experience at the historic Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017. Thanks for keeping it real, Melanie.

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 finishing the manuscript for her memoir in 2016 and completing her MFA as well!

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 last year, and wrote about her take on the joys of being his mom. 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 toddler living in Canada. She often blogs about her family life, including her daughter – who is now more than 2 years old!

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.

*NEW*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.

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 recent 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!

Mighty Maggie. American Maggie lives with her husband Phillip, the Devastatingly Handsome Chinese Man, in Seattle with three kids. She’s a stay-at-home mom who blogs about everything from religious issues to parenting. This is an older post, but she brings up an interesting dilemma when she writes about the problem of sending a child to Chinese language school, when she and her husband don’t speak the language well. Also love this more recent post about how the kids learned Maggie blogged about them, and then wanted to hear the stories themselves!

Monkeys and Mooncakes. American Steph (who has a husband from Anhui, China) is a thirty-something mom to three lovely kids and she devotes her blog to helping children love Chinese language and culture at home. Parents will love her posts such as kids books about Chinese food.

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 baby 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. 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 just gave birth to their second child in February of this year) are stunning.

*NEW*An Oven, a Wok, and a Family. This blog is truly a family affair, as both Cassie (a white American) and Zhenyang Hua (a Shanghainese) thoughtfully ponder issues that will resonate with any intercultural family making their way abroad. From wondering if their son will eat chicken’s feet in the Chinese tradition to Cassie’s attempts at learning Chinese. On a personal note, nice to see another couple residing in Ohio, my home state in the US.

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 raising a bilingual baby.

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 four young half-Chinese kids.

Personal Stories

1000 Days in China. Ava Ming was born in England to Jamaican parents and is currently living in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China where she writes and teaches English. Some interesting posts of hers cover whether she was brave or stupid to move to China, and her impressions of Chinese food. Ava’s guest post for my site – Larry – a Short Tale of Ignorance or Cross-Cultural Misunderstanding – generated a lot of discussion, so do have a read!

Becky Ances. She teaches English in lovely Xiamen and writes frequently about traveling, her students, and expat life (such as her recent excursion to Shanghai Disney!). But many of you will appreciate her take on dating Chinese men. You can also follow her at her new blog Badminton Becky!

Betty Has a Panda. Betty is an Austrian woman in her 20s in an intercultural relationship with a Hong Konger in Vienna. She shares all of the funny, frustrating, interesting and strange stories on her blog. Betty shared one of the biggest frustrations about her relationship in a guest post for me titled Why We Are Not Married (Yet) – and as it turns out, the Panda proposed to her in late 2015. Congratulations to her for having a banner year in 2016, which included their wedding!

*NEW*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 planning to have their wedding later this year. Wishing them an unforgettable celebration!

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, and in the past year shared some gorgeous pre-wedding photos.

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 setting wedding dates). But she also writes about her post-nuptial family life in China, such as this love letter to her mother-in-law. 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  Wuxi, 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!

*NEW*The Daily Susily. This fledgling blog by Australian Susie Hart, who resides in Beijing with her husband, offers morsels of inspiration (and fun, such as her post titled Donuts are good for your soul). You’ll enjoy her story about her China Love Affair; find more from Susie at the new group blog WWAM Bam.

*NEW*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.

East West Love Story. Karen is a native Californian who moved to Singapore to marry Jeremy. You’ll find posts about travelliving in Singaporerecipes and even their relationship (such as a wedding anniversary they celebrated last year).

My Hong Kong Husband. Lina, who hails from Poland, currently lives in Ireland 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”. She just announced they’re moving to Hong Kong! Congratulations to them on this new exciting chapter in their lives!

Jess Meider. American Jess Meider is a Beijing-based singer-songwriter who has been named one of China’s best jazz vocalists. She’s also married to composer and bassist Gao Fang. Jess and I were on CCTV; she also did an interview for my blog. You can check out her blog, where she posts about her upcoming gigs, press coverage, and her interest in traditional Chinese medicine.

*NEW*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.

*NEW*The Joyful Dumplings. Britany, an Aussie gal from Brisbane, writes, “If someone had told me four years ago that I would be married and living in China I wouldn’t have believed you.” She now resides in Xi’an, where “an extremely handsome and happy-go-lucky Chinese man called Peter swept me off my feet, using orphans and pandas as his wing-man but that’s a story for another time.” You can read more about her here. Look forward to more from Britany!

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.

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 what it’s like being a student in China. 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.

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 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 decided to start her own fashion company. Impressive! Check out her interview for this blog, where she talks about some of her entrepreneurial endeavors.

Marta lives in China. She’s a Spaniard who met her Chinese boyfriend 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 on How to Survive the Winter in Suzhou). You can also follow her en espaňol on her Spanish-language blog Infinity Plus One.

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 24-year-old 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.

People Mountain, People Sea. Ashley is not your average American teaching English in Taiwan, thanks to her marriage to a Taiwanese guy (which included a period of time when she lived in the family home). You’ll find her posts on relationships and dating interesting, including this post on what it takes to make a cross-cultural relationship work. Congrats to her on going freelance!

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 California, going to graduate school, and still dating her Chinese boyfriend. Interesting recent posts on the blog include 3 Reasons Chinese People Like Trump and Finding Inspiring, Powerful Female Leads In Asian Media.

*NEW*Secrets of a World Traveler. You’re sure to get wanderlust reading this blog, written by seasoned world travelers Chloe (from the Netherlands) and her Chinese American husband Zeyu. Readers of this blog will enjoy their dispatches on China and Asia, such as 12 Tips for Traveling within China.

Selly’s Little World. Sarah Heintze is a German gal residing in Wuhan, China who describes 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. Any expat can relate to her post on the perpetual confusion she feels about where she truly belongs in the world.

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”!).

Talking of Chinese. Chi, an Australian woman who has a Chinese fiancee, blogs about the process of learning Mandarin Chinese (How Can One Word Have So Many Meanings?) as well as lovely posts about her relationship (such as her meditation on what it means to place your partner in a long-distance relationship). She also authored a powerful guest post for this blog titled Odd Questions I’ve Heard About My Interracial Love. As a side note, I’m touched that her blog’s name was inspired by Speaking of China!

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 Doggone In-laws and Cuppa Trouble: In-laws Visit Part 3. Don’t miss her guest post for this site titled A “Little” Something Red for My Chinese-American Groom.

*NEW*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. Popular posts include Is Wearing a Cheongsam Cultural Appropriation?, How 5 Chinese men show love to their Western women, and Dear Ms Wai – How Can I Meet Foreign Girls? 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) and now are based in North Dakota, where Marissa works for a local paper. She’s expecting a baby this year – 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?

Join the New Group Blog for Western Women Who Love Asian Men

%e5%b1%8f%e5%b9%95%e5%bf%ab%e7%85%a7-2017-01-02-%e4%b8%8b%e5%8d%884-11-21We’re starting off 2017 with a bam. Or, more specifically, a WWAM Bam!

WWAM BamWestern Women & Asian Men, Breaking All Molds — is a new group blog for Western women who love Asian men. I’m a part of it, along with a number of writers and bloggers you may already know including Susan Blumberg-Kason (author of Good Chinese Wife),  Laura of Our Chinese Wedding, Becky of BeckyAnces.net, Kimberly of Nama Mama, and Susie of the Daily Susily.

Here’s an excerpt from the About Us page:

We are a group of women from a Western background who are dating or married to men from an Asian culture. AMWF (Asian Male Western Female) couples, or WWAMs (Western Women Asian Men) as we prefer to call them, have in the past been few and far between but in this increasingly globalized world are becoming more common every day. Still, there are cultural differences that such couples will face and our site is here to help you navigate them. At the same time, we make it our mission to weed through the racism and stereotypes about Asian men and culture out there. We all know the truth is never just black and white (or yellow for that matter).

Aside from gripping personal experiences of relationships with Asian men and their families, and of raising AMWF children, this site takes a look at the portrayal of Asian men in Western media and reviews AMWF related productions. We furthermore will spotlight the amazing women out there who have made Asia their family; past and present.

If you are interested in contributing or have any questions, send an email to [email protected]

We’re on the lookout for Western women who love Asian men and writing. You could be a regular contributor or even just a one-time guest poster. If you’d like to be a part of our new group blog, email us at [email protected]

And to my fans here at Speaking of China, yes, I’ll continue to blog here at Speaking of China twice every week.

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2017!

Guest Post: 5 Reasons You Might Not Find Your Mr. Right in Asia

I met and married the love of my life here in Asia.

So did Anne Moss, who shared her own unique how-we-met story last fall in a guest post titled How an American Woman Exchanged Rings, Bows and Hearts with Her Amazing Taiwanese Husband.

But as we all know, AMWF couples are much rarer around the world, including in Asia.

In her latest guest post for this blog, Anne offers five reasons why it might be harder for Western women to meet that Mr. Right in Asia.

Do you have a compelling post or story you’d love to see featured on Speaking of China? Check out the submit a post page to learn more about how to have your words published here.
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While I have happily met and married my Asian Mr. Right, I have found my case to be rather rare. Excluding some typical cultural factors you might think of as a hindrance to finding your love across the world, I’ve listed my top 5 reasons why a western woman living abroad might not ever end up meeting her Mr. Right in Asia:

(photo by Mario Izquierdo via Flickr.com)
(Photo by Mario Izquierdo via Flickr.com)

#1: Unflattering stereotypes about Western women, thanks to Hollywood

Western media has done us ladies no favors – specifically towards attitudes about sexuality and relationships. I’ve found that men living in Asia have been heavily influenced to believe all us western women will end up sleeping with anyone who decides to smile in our direction. We are often portrayed as easy, with little family regard and would never turn someone down if they are willing to offer us some attention. Many times, the woman is never seen as someone to consider as material for a real relationship. I’ve experienced this myself, and my friends and husband definitely agree it’s an issue for Western women in Asia.

(Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões)
(Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões via Flickr.com)

#2: Different communication styles (indirect versus direct)

In my own household, I was repeatedly taught to speak to the point and ask for what I want or need, and learned that I shouldn’t make someone guess. That’s not necessarily the case here in Asia, where I’ve found that people tend to communicate more indirectly. And when you have different communication styles, it can create challenges in a relationship.

For example, if a problem arises in your relationship, sometimes the two of you might respond in completely different (and contradictory) ways. I’ve been in relationships with men in Asia where he may want to ignore the problem and not talk about it, while I would totally want to talk about it and find a solution.

I’ve also had challenges communicating with parents over here. I’ve found that sometimes trying to “talk” about an issue with an Asian parent basically means listening without your input. To do otherwise would be considered ungrateful and cause loss of face.

These differences can put a lot of stress on both of you when working through disagreements. Sometimes, when trying to help guys over here understand my ideas, feelings and concerns, I’ve felt as if I were continually running up against a brick wall. Sigh.

(Photo by Emily Gould via Flickr.com)
(Photo by Emily Gould via Flickr.com)

#3: Differences in how you express yourselves and your love

Unless the guy you’re dating speaks your native language well – or you’re fluent in his language — I’ve found that having deeper conversations in your relationship might take some time. It means that when you ask a guy a question like, “How was your day?” he might not always go into the kind of detail you might expect.

Also, how your partner chooses to show his love might be different from you. Is it with actual language? Even within the same cultural group knowing your love language is a skill learned and discovered with time. What is happening when you feel love from your partner? Love languages can include: physical touch, quality time, gifts, verbal confirmation or acts of appreciation. Just because you give love in one way doesn’t mean your partner will receive it in the light it may be given. Do you want love with quality time with your partner but he gives you physical gifts? Getting this far also takes a certain amount of self (emotional) knowledge (and effort to get there) of knowing and understanding yourself and your outlook.

(Photo by Jason D' Great via Flickr.com)
(Photo by Jason D’ Great via Flickr.com)

#4: Family expectations for Asian men

Family ties and expectations run deep in Asia. It’s not uncommon for men to live with their family before and even after marriage – which might be a deal-breaker for some Western women.

I’ve also found that children in Asia (especially the men) are often expected to provide financial support to their parents, regardless of whether they live with the parents and if there’s a real need for that money. I was surprised to discover this, and I’m sure this would challenge a lot of Western women, who usually aren’t used to giving their parents money like that.

(Photo by jorge larios via Flickr.com)
(Photo by jorge larios via Flickr.com)

#5: Becoming invisible (if you’re not fluent in the local language)

For personal reasons I am monolingual – I can only speak English. Yet I live in Asia, where English is not the native language for the overwhelming majority of people and countries. This reality has been a hard blow for me. I was taught to be independent, stand up for myself and be in charge when needed. Yet I’ve left behind the America I grew up in for Asia, and it has meant giving up a huge chunk of my own independence. I’ve been forced to depend on my husband for a lot of things and sometimes I feel like I’ve become invisible. I’ve been at restaurants where the staff focused only on my husband, handing him the menus and directing all the questions at him. On many occasions when I’ve visited shops or banks together with him, no one would even make eye contact with me. It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve faced in our relationship.

Anne Elizabeth Moss has spent the last 5 years in Asia and currently lives with her Taiwanese husband in Singapore. She teaches Bellyfit®, Bellydance and Yoga classes and can be found at https://www.facebook.com/riksardance.
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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.

Guest Post: I Shouldn’t Be Dating in My Own Country

Going abroad can change you a lot — sometimes, enough to realize you were never meant to date your own countrymen.

That’s the conclusion Lena, the blogger behind Lena Around, has come to, who believes the cultural differences between her and the local Danes are too great for her to go out with them. Read on for her story!

Do you have a surprising story to share or other guest post you’d like to see featured on Speaking of China? Visit the submit a post page to learn how to have your words published here.
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12471704_445388395651061_2637610516889358724_oI’ve been at home for a few months now. 2015 was a crazy year. I started out with a broken heart and a lost soul. But there wasn’t much time to think about it because I was going to Australia and then moving onto China. My heart was growing back together during the month in the beautiful nature of Australia, and when I came to China I was getting stronger again. I started to believe a little bit in love or I thought so.

I met a great guy in Beijing and I was determined to move on from past experiences and be happy with this person. He was a great match for me and he loved me just like I am. I should have been happy and I tried. I fought for him for a long time while I kept wishing my heart would open up, but I was afraid. I wasn’t ready to open up yet so I had to move on again.

I travelled through China, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, Laos, Hong Kong and Taiwan, I met loads of amazing new friends and hot fellas I could fall for, but I didn’t. I was just having fun. I told myself it was okay to still be nervous about the pain another person could cause you, so I let it go and travelled on my own discovering, exploring, thinking, learning and growing.

Coming back to Denmark, I was tired. I was just exhausted after 10 months on the road. I’d seen so many things and now it was time to sit down, relax and reflect. But it didn’t take long before my wanderlust came back with even bigger power than before. I felt the need to do something, so I quit my little vacation at my parents’ house and moved back to my university town. I thought to myself that now everything would be nice and I could be happy with friends around.

The problem is just that when you come back from such a long trip, not many people are around anymore. Or if they are, they are doing tons of other things. So I sat there in my new apartment thinking, Why not try Tinder? I’d tried before and it was a fun way to meet nice boys. I’ve got to be honest and say that I was pretty bored, which was probably the reason why I turned to Tinder.

886940_444090602447507_3285781544130795302_oAfter a few days, I had a match. You see the problem here is that I just do like the Asian look. I’m not saying that I only date Asian guys but I am just quite fond of them. So if I see an Asian-looking guy, I’m just more curious than a blue-eyed, blond-haired tall Dane. But anyway, the match was with a Vietnamese-Chinese guy born and raised in Denmark. I know from experience that this doesn’t mean they have any interest in Asia but I always hope a little bit anyway.

We started talking and the conversation quickly turned to the topic of Asia. I said that I’d been around. I didn’t want to mention all the places because I wouldn’t want to sound like a show-off, but he insisted on me telling. I told him about my last trip and he asked me if I spoke Mandarin. I said yes. He himself had only been to Beijing and Hong Kong for a week like most other tourists and I felt a little disappointed deep inside.

I knew I was comparing him to my first and only great love. He had the same background as this guy. But instead of not giving a s… about China, he was totally in love with China, just like me.

In the end, this guy left me hanging. Twenty minutes before meeting up, he told me he was going to play football instead. I was furious. I told him what an ass he was and deleted his number. Even though he chose to screw things up, I think it was for the best anyway. I should not date around here. My China stories can be pretty overwhelming. I don’t know why this guy didn’t want to meet. Was it because of my greater knowledge of Asia or did he really just want to play football? Who knows?

Now I know that I shouldn’t try to find a guy in this town. With a big population of pale people and no Asian studies at the university, I don’t think there’s much for me here. Also, I’m planning on moving back to Beijing immediately after graduation so why start a relationship here, right? I think it would be better to just deal with the boredom myself, become stronger, and not think too much about boys right now. I’ll just have to wait for my prince charming, who’s probably sitting on a subway in Beijing hoping for my arrival.

Lena is a 20-something Danish girl who is currently working on a master’s degree in Beijing and writing about her travels, China (her favorite place) and love. You can follow her at lenaaround.com.

12744075_455091274680773_8279509178116186361_n —–

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.

Guest Post: 4 Things That Helped Me Adapt to South Korea

Linda Dunsmore, who blogs at Linda Goes East, never expected to end up in South Korea with a Korean fiancé. She told us all about it in her previous guest post, “Am I in the ‘Wrong’ AMWF Relationship?” How a Woman Who Loved China Fell for a Korean man.

But it’s not always easy to transition to a new country. After all, as Linda writes, “Before I met Jeongsu, the only thing I knew about Korea was that its capital is Seoul. I hadn’t even tried Korean food.” I asked Linda to share some of her tips for a smooth transition to life in South Korea – read on!

Do you have some advice, a story or other guest post you’d like to see featured on Speaking of China? Check out the submit a post page to learn more about what I like to publish and then submit yours today.

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habok33I’ve always been interested in Asia and its different cultures and nations. China had especially caught my eye and I decided to study Mandarin and even move to China – which I did and it was awesome. Then, I went to California to get my bachelor’s degree, with a plan in mind to move back to China – maybe even for good.

However, something, and I like to argue it were higher powers, had completely changed my path. Actually it wasn’t something but much rather someone. While studying in San Diego, I met a handsome Korean exchange student who instantly caught my eye. We quickly started dating and he is now my fiancé.

After graduating, I did, in fact, move back to China, were I stayed for a year in Hunan’s capital of Changsha. I got to travel the country and experience the local culture to a great extent. However, I wasn’t fully happy there. Being in a long distance relationship was hard and after 1 year in China, I decided to make the big move to South Korea.

Before I met Jeongsu, the only thing I knew about Korea was that its capital is Seoul. I hadn’t even tried Korean food. However, all of this quickly changed and is now a big part of my life. I would like to share some of the strategies that helped ease my transition into living in South Korea.

#1: Learn the Language

Soon after I met Jeongsu, I started learning Korean. I’m by far not fluent but the basics help me fit in the daily life here and make it a lot easier to live here. I signed up at the local YMCA and took a Korean course with other foreigners. The good thing was that I met other foreigners – some of which also have Korean partners.

#2: Eat local food

Food is a key part of every culture. It seems like Korea even takes it to a new level, having a certain set of side dishes for every meal. I remember the first time I saw “kimchi” (the most popular Korean side dish) in Jeongsu’s fridge back in San Diego. “I’m never going to eat that!” I screamed because of the foul smell. Now, I love it and eat it with almost every meal.

12417911_1203788122969275_6374892348853201382_n#3: Do as the Koreans Do

Koreans work a lot, but also take their free time seriously and love hanging out with friends. Drinking, karaoke or even Korean traditional sauna include only few of the dozens of things Korean take on in their free time. You should also be aware of the strict hierarchy here in Korea. When you treat people older than you in a polite way, you’re going to be much more successful living here.

#4: Make local Friends

Obviously, the reason why I moved to Korea was to be with Jeongsu. Having him here helps me a lot since he can support me when I have problems of communication and he explains cultural differences to me. However, even if you move to Korea alone, you should definitely make Korean friends. You’re Korea experience is going to be so much deeper when you have a chance to see how locals really live.

What are you waiting for?

If you are thinking about moving to South Korea, don’t hesitate too long! It’s a wonderful country to fall in love with. I didn’t know a lot about Korea before moving here but now I am astounded by the country’s vast history and culture. Korean BBQ, KPOP, awesome skincare products and loads of themed cafes are waiting for you here!

NEU8Linda writes about life in Korea, her AMWF relationship with a Korean man, traveling around Asia and studying Asian languages at www.lindagoeseast.com . She is also very active on social media, especially Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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

Guest Post: Larry – a Short Tale of Ignorance or Cross-Cultural Misunderstanding

Ava Ming

Cross-cultural misunderstandings are a huge pitfall in dating abroad, including here in China.

Just imagine what it must have felt like for Ava Ming, the English blogger behind My Oriental Life, when she heard these words from her date for the evening, a Chinese guy she met in Shenzhen: “I really want to kiss you, Ava, but I’m scared that I might get AIDS because all Africans have AIDS.”

Whoa!

Read on to learn the whole story of how things fell apart between her and Larry.

Do you have a shocking tale of cross-cultural misunderstandings or other guest post you’d like to see featured here on Speaking of China? Visit the submit a post page to learn more about becoming a guest poster for this blog.
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Shenzhen, China (photo by Ramon Boersbroek via Flickr.com)
Shenzhen, China (photo by Ramon Boersbroek via Flickr.com)

I’ve often considered telling the story of my first Chinese date. But usually I’ve declined, thinking it was too personal, perhaps too upsetting and might also give the impression that I dislike Chinese men, which is really not the case at all.

But the event occurred a while ago now back in 2013. After reading about others who’ve braved their souls on Jocelyn Eikenburg’s fabulous blog, I’ve decided to share. Besides, who knows, maybe someone else could have or has had a similar experience?

I met Larry at the terminal subway station. There were very few commuters around. I was curious as to why he came so close, sitting right next to me on an empty train, leaving a small space between us.

I noticed his glances in my direction, wondering if he was trying to work up the courage to ask if he could practice his English with me. Pretty soon he introduced himself and asked me where I was from, which led to a conversation.

He told me that he was a professional who’d travelled to various European cities but never England. He was 37, unmarried and feeling the pressure from his parents to change his single status. I enjoyed our talk during the long ride but initially didn’t read anything into it. Around that time I seemed to be making a lot of new Chinese friends while on various subway rides. I guess I must have exuded an approachable air!

As we approached his stop he told me that he thought I was pretty. He couldn’t believe no other Chinese guy had made me his girlfriend. Then he asked for my number and if we could go to dinner.

Have to admit I was pretty surprised. Until then I’d been under the impression that Chinese guys would never be so forward due to a natural or cultural shyness. I said I wasn’t sure about a date but we could talk from time to time.

Over the next fortnight he sent regular messages via text and email usually beginning with ‘hello, my angel.’ Yes, Larry was a charmer but the messages did make me smile.

Eventually we set up a date and met on a hot and sticky Friday evening. By now I knew that I wasn’t romantically attracted to him, but I did like his personality and I was interested in meeting more people and expanding my circle of Chinese friends. I also assumed that he didn’t have intentions of getting serious with me either. His parents probably weren’t expecting him to marry a foreign girl.

The date was nothing special. The best word to describe it would probably be ‘nice,’ well up to a point anyway. We ate rice in a Japanese restaurant and then went for a walk in the park. He kept guiding me towards secluded places, which I thought was a bit strange. But then he’d comment on the sculpture, or lotus flower pond, or round leafy bush we’d stumbled upon.

I still wasn’t feeling any chemistry towards him. But he had a gentle humour and I thought perhaps we could be friends in the future.

Ava Ming
Ava Ming

Approaching 10pm I wanted to leave, having made plans to go dancing, but Larry wasn’t ready. He insisted on ‘just ten more minutes’ and took me to a bench by the side of the river, again another secluded place. When we sat down he made a confession.

“I really want to kiss you, Ava, but I’m scared that I might get AIDS because all Africans have AIDS.”

I was literally struck dumb at his ignorance. Then I became so angry I actually felt tears welling up. Angry tears have a whole different feeling to ones of sadness or joy.

We’d already discussed my family history, him being impressed that my parents were from Jamaica and that I was born in England. But regardless of place of birth, how could he be so naive? In addition, was there no filter in his brain to tell him exactly when to shut-up?

I told him that AIDS didn’t originate from Africa, but was initially a disease among gay white men in New York. I pointed out that he should really think before he speaks and that he shouldn’t believe so strongly in stereotypes. On top of this, why on earth had he asked me out if he’d thought I was ‘unclean?’

Seeing my distress he insisted that I’d misunderstood when we both knew that I hadn’t. To make matters worse, he then pulled me close and tried to kiss me! Saying; “look, see, I know you don’t really have AIDS!”

I wanted to storm off in a huff, but it’s kind of difficult when you don’t know where you are, so we caught the bus back together. He begged me not to tell anyone because he didn’t want to lose face. I made no such promise. If he’d just ended the date at 10pm before his confession maybe we would have become friends, although then I would never have known what he was really thinking.

For a long time I dismissed the idea of dating another Chinese guy. If this was the common school of thought then what would be the point?

A short while later I discussed his theory with my Chinese friends, many of whom also believed that AIDS originated in Africa, but none of whom believed that all Africans have it.

As for Larry, he called and emailed several times to apologise for upsetting me. I accepted his apology but declined his offers to go for a drink. Making someone cry on a first date, even if they were tears of frustration, is really not an auspicious beginning!

As I mentioned this was a while ago and I have since relaxed my guard, becoming more open to Chinese men who just want to talk. But as for dating? Not sure. For that I think I’ll need a little more time.

I’m Ava Ming, born in England to Jamaican parents and currently living in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China where I write and teach English.
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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.

Guest Post: Learn Mandarin Chinese – What to Call Chinese Family for Western Women Married to Chinese Men

A few years back, I wrote an article titled The Chinese Relatives Name Game, reflecting on the challenges of trying to remember all of the names for relatives here in China. It’s funny that I’ve been married to my husband for over 10 years and I still can’t keep them straight! (In the post, I even wondered if it might take me a lifetime to get the names right… 😉 )

Of course, with Chinese New Year coming up, it’s as if I’m facing the yearly final exam on this subject – one that I’m not entirely sure I’m going to pass. (Ah well, at least my blunders might provide a bit of comic relief during the holidays?)

That’s why I’m grateful Yiwen Yang has graciously provided this article. It’s an introduction to some of the basics every Western woman who marries a Chinese man should know when it comes to what to call your Chinese family members.

Do you have a guest post that you think ought to be featured on Speaking of China? Check out the submit a post page to learn more about writing for this blog.
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What to Call Chinese Family Members for Western Women Married to Chinese MenThe other day we were reading Jocelyn’s article The Chinese Relatives Name Game again, and thought about how confusing understanding all about Chinese family members can be!

Whilst we’re sure it’s not a new topic for many foreigners who are learning Mandarin Chinese, it’s definitely still a big challenge—especially if you are new to your Chinese family, and them to you.

As Chinese New Year is once again looming, why not refresh some of your Chinese language skills in advance so that you can impress your Chinese family—or maybe give them surprise at how fluent you have become in the language.

So, today, we are going to help you out!

As many of you know, Chinese family trees can be talked about forever. To actually remember the names and titles of people in Chinese family trees takes time; indeed, it’s also challenging for many native Chinese.

As Jocelyn from Speaking of China is more focused on AMWF (Asian male/Western female) love, let’s get started by looking at terms for Western women married to Chinese men.

Here’s an easy one if you are married to a Chinese man:

Husband: 老公,丈夫,先生 (lǎogōng, zhàngfu, xiānsheng)

What will your husband call you? (wife): 老婆,妻子,夫人 (lǎopó, qīzi, fūrén)

Note: 老公 (lǎogōng)/老婆 (lǎopó) are the most popular names which you can use in basically every situation, whilst 丈夫 (zhàngfu)/妻子 (qīzi),先生 (xiānsheng)/夫人 (fūrén) are a bit more formal and used to introduce a couple to other people.

For example, 这是我的先生 (Zhè shì wǒ de xiānsheng):This is my husband

In-laws:

Father in-law (your husband’s father): 公公 (gōnggong)

Mother in-law (your husband’s mother): 婆婆 (pópo)

公公 (gōnggong) and 婆婆 (pópo) are the most common words in use although, in many cases, people just use the same words as their husband use, which are father(爸,bà)or mother(妈,mā).

Also, when you have a child, some people will follow the words the child speaks, namely: grandfather(爷爷,yéye),grandmother (奶奶,nǎinai) 。

So what will your in-laws call you? 媳妇 (xífù)/儿媳 (érxí):(daughter in-law)

Note: in many cases, if they are talking to you, they will just say your name naturally.

Other useful names you might use:

Your husband’s older brother: 大伯(dàbó)
Your husband’s older sister: 大姑子(dàgūzi)
Your husband’s younger brother: 小叔子(xiǎoshūzi)
Your husband’s younger sister: 小姑子(xiǎogūzi)

Sounds complicated already?

Well, here are some great tips for you to follow:

  1. For the older generation/seniors, if you forget the correct way to speak to them, just to follow your husband is fine. (Eg. it’s okay to call your parents in-law just “father” or “mother”.)
  2. For the younger generation/seniors, you can either follow your husband or just say their name directly. (Eg. Your husband’s younger sister. If her name is 筱钧(xiǎojūn),you can just say her name directly.)

You may not need to use all of the above every day but, don’t worry, you’ll soon get used to the best/correct ways of addressing family members.

Actually, on our site Learn Mandarin Now, we recently published two Podcasts about Chinese family members:

  • direct family members: http://www.learnmandarinnow.com/podcast13
  • extended family members: http://www.learnmandarinnow.com/podcast19

We are now publishing our exciting Podcasts every day from Monday-Friday, covering a variety of interesting topics to help you learn Mandarin Chinese more effectively. They are totally free for everyone to view and listen to but, if you can kindly leave your honest opinion and ratings in i-Tunes or just simply tell us what kind of topics you like us to talk about in the near future, we’d greatly appreciate this. In any event, we’d love hear from you.

Wish everyone a great Chinese New Year ahead!
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