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Showing posts from July, 2017

Forever Foriegn

"A fish can love a bird, but where will they live?" The phrase always seemed silly to me until I faced the idea of being a life-long foreigner. The current political climate of USA and China have often brought this question up for my husband and I, especially now that we have a daughter who will be forced to choose which citizenship she will claim and which she will renounce. My husband recently said, "If China goes to war we can always move to Pakistan, they are good friends with China!" I laughed out loud that that would be the last place I would be accepted as an American. I joked back, "Japan is friends with America. Do you want to live there?" When we first decided to get married I asked a couple from our church here in China to give us some advice in lieu of the premarital counselling required for church weddings in the West. Instead of the standard church advice, they focused on dealing with cultural differences. The husband was American and the wif…

Make yourself at home, but don't touch anything

Not long ago I got this text from my husband, "My sister called, she's at our house. My dad let her in." I was automatically filled with questions;

Did you know she was coming?
How long is she staying?
Did she bring the kids?
Is everything ok?


His answer, "I didn't know and I don't know." As if that would satisfy my unrest!


Now I like my sister in law, Meimei, she is probably my favorite of the in laws. She makes an effort to speak to me directly even though my Chinese is not good enough to keep up with the group conversation. She is kind and playful. Her 2 children are sweet to me and mostly well behaved. I enjoy her visits but cannot understand why she would show up unannounced when it takes at least 4 hours to travel here! And she is a repeat offender.
The most intrusive occasion was when my daughter was less than a month old and Meimei called from the bus, announcing she and her 2 small children were on the way. I was struggling with post-partum as well…

Disadvantages to Privilege

Now that I am a mother of a half American half Chinese baby I often wonder how the world will view her.Will her diverse background be a benefit or obstacle for her?As a white female living as a foreigner in China, I imagine Chinese will treat her much like they have treated me. As a foreigner my pale skin and light hair are seen as beautiful, along with my high status as an American I often receive special treatment. I have been invited to banquets and fancy business parties, regardless of my position in the company. I have been referred to as the “foreign friend” at weddings and given a seat of honor or asked to speak or sing, although I may not even know the bride or groom. Strangers continually ask to take their picture with me or their children.
My English level is seen as superior based not on my education or background but rather from my skin color. As the foreign teacher in public schools, senior local teacher will ask me for advice in how to teach or correct a grammar point.…