My blog is a little over 2 years old. To celebrate this anniversary and to reflect on this year (which hasn’t come to an end yet, but still) and the one before that, I’d like to walk you through some of my favourite and some of the most popular posts on China Elevator Stories. For those who have only started following my blog recently, this is a great overview. Make sure to check out the links you’ve missed.
I created this blog in November 2012. At that time, I had just moved to Shenzhen. I’ve heard people call it the nastiest place in China, which prompted me to write a post that shows a more varied picture.
I had a lot of fun conversations in Shenzhen: A Chinese doctor asked me to introduce a foreign woman as a potential wife for her son. She was afraid her son who was already in his 30s wouldn’t bring home a good match and thought foreign wives are good marriage material. A massage therapist told me that my breasts are almost non-existent. I surely didn’t anticipate that conversation. A guy on the metro asked me if I knew that Hungarians are descendants of the Chinese. That’s how I learned about the Xiongnu, a term that is often wrongly translated as the Huns.
Love in China
I met my husband two years ago. For Christmas 2012, the company we worked for treated us to dinner and a night out singing Karaoke. After having been together for only a month, we got engaged at New Year’s Eve. Although I never thought I’d be that spontaneous when it comes to getting married, I haven’t regretted our shotgun wedding. The company spent Chinese New Year 2013 in a small village in Guangdong province. My husband and I took a romantic morning walk and it was hard to hide our relationship from our co-workers.
Before our wedding, we took the oh-so popular pre-wedding pictures. It was exhausting (especially putting on all the make-up for the photos where we look like characters from a Chinese opera), but also fun.
Being in a cross-cultural relationship makes for interesting observations. Some things my husband and I do differently are connected to water. Having just had our 2 year anniversary, I took some time to reflect on the things that would probably be different if I didn’t date someone from another culture. In a recent post, I wrote about the 6 things I’ve learned in 2 years of being in a cross-cultural relationship with my husband.
In May 2014, an article was making the rounds on the internet about stereotypical Chinese men. It shed a negative light on Chinese men. I took my Chinese husband as an example to show that stereotypes aren’t true for everyone (and sometimes aren’t even true for the majority of people).
I’ve had the chance to travel to stunning places these two years: I talked with a woman at Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan who sells fruit and Ganja. I watched locals at Guangxi’s beautiful Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces pick medicinal herbs. I listened to a guy at Dalian’s Fishermen’s Wharf in Liaoning province talking about the polluted waters and fishing.
Being pregnant in China
A few months after our wedding in Austria, I became pregnant. A Chinese doctor told me not to lift heavy things, not to slip and not to have sex with my husband. After we took the first ultrasound, my husband was overly excited and couldn’t believe that he’s going to be a father. Our in-laws stayed with us for 3 months and helped us with cooking. My mother-in-law told me what I shouldn’t do when pregnant (some things of which were quite surprising for me).
A co-worker said that I should have a baby boy because “boys come more after their mothers and my husband isn’t that handsome”. How’s that for a compliment? Another co-worker predicted that I was going to have a boy because I prefer eating salty dishes to spicy ones. I gave birth to a baby boy in the summer of 2014, but I doubt it’s because I like eating salty dishes.
Making Northeast China our home
After giving birth in Austria and moving back to China, we have set up tent in Siping – my husband’s hometown in Jilin province, Northeast China. It will only be temporarily and we’ll move to Dalian around Chinese Spring Festival 2015. I’ve always been afraid of the cold in the past. Ironically, living in China’s hot and humid South has made me appreciate the cold climate of the North.
I’ve had a few interesting conversations here in the Northeast: A woman working at a public bathhouse concluded that foreigners also need body scrubs. My husband’s relative told us not to let our baby wear diapers all the time because they might make his penis fall off.
What’s your favourite post on China Elevator Stories? Any topic you’d like to hear more about?