Cultural Adjustment, Spoiling Kids, Countryside Culture Shock and more on Beijing Kids

In case you’ve missed it or want to read more from me (on a regular bi-weekly basis), you can now also find my articles on Beijing Kids.

I write about cultural adjustment in a foreign culture and where to draw the line in this article:

I met my Chinese husband at the end of 2012. We married and had a child. Our son is Chinese and Austrian and the question of cultural adjustment has gained much more significance now.


Thinking back, it all started when daye, my father-in-law’s oldest brother and the oldest patriarch of the Chinese family I married into, wanted me to raise my glass to him to show him, the oldest living male family member of the male family line, my respect. I was the youngest person at the table and should actively raise my glass to him, so the custom.

… ponder over the question if Chinese grandparents are a good child-rearing option in this one:

Seeing plenty of Chinese grandparents accompany their grandchildren outside to play during the day, I was surprised to hear my students’ answer. Sitting across the table in my sparsely decorated green-painted office on a hot summer day in June, 20-year-old Lisha, a tall Chinese woman from Changchun wearing a blue Korean-style blouse and khaki shorts, echoed what I had heard other students say before her. She didn’t hesitate even a little when she said the grandparents were no good childrearing option. Not a single one of the more than 10 female students I asked about suitable childcare options thought having the grandparents help out was a good idea. Not a single one.

And talk about the surprise that hit me when I realised that the transition between city and countryside was a seemingly much bigger one for our son than that between country and country here:

cultural adjustment

When we take the train from Vienna to the place I grew up at in Austria’s alpine upland, passing one mountain and one tunnel after another, our son translates “tunnel” to 车库, parking garage. Certainly, that is what a “hole in the mountain” must be. In the evening, we stay at my dad’s place – an old farmhouse converted into a contemporary family home, a place that once housed our family of ten, two parents and eight kids. Upon arrival, two skinny black and white cats welcome us. “Little dogs,” my son exclaims excitedly.

These are only excerpts. Head over to the linked articles to read the whole posts on Beijing Kids. And make sure to follow me on Facebook so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts on Beijing Kids.


Hi, I'm Ruth, welcome to China Elevator Stories! I have been living in Kunming and Shenzhen in the past and am now staying in Northeast China with my Chinese husband and our baby and toddler son. Join us on our journey bridging worlds!


  1. Cat

    How interesting that the transition between city to countryside is bigger than country to country for your child – makes sense when you think about it – big cities, wherever they are in the world, do share a lot of similarities.

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