02/19/13

On Dating Chinese Men

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Me and my boyfriend in our matching t-shirts

Last month Jocelyn over at Speaking of China wrote On Dating Chinese Men and asked us fellow bloggers to do the same. Her goal is to gather us mus reliable information about dating Chinese men as possible, so when others are searching it online they will get a better picture what is it really like to date a Chinese guy.

I dated a Chinese guy back in Finland already and have been living  in China for three years now. I dated one Chinese guy for two years, but it wasn’t meant to be. Right now (October 2013) I’m living together with my Cantonese boyfriend and his parents. We are in the process of renovating the old family house for us.

The following tips are based on my own or my friends’ experiences.

Date to marry

Goal for a Chinese person to date is to get married and have a family. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but most of the Chinese men out there date to marry They might start talking about it very early in the relationship in order to know if you have the same ideas about dating as he does.

Usually if you meet the parents it is a sign of a serious relationship, probably this guy wants to marry you if things continue going well with you.

Parents have the final say

Wether your Chinese boyfriend will continue to be with you or will marry you depends on his parents. If parents say no, then it usually is the end of the relationship sooner or later. You two might be able to work it out with the parents when they get to know you better, but parental acceptance is important even when both are Chinese.

If you two are 25 or older and the parents agree you being together, they will start asking when you two get married. When you get married they will start waiting for a grandson.

Taking care of you

Chinese guys are generally good at taking care of you, or at least a good Chinese man is. He might cook for you, or make sure you always have water to drink. Or he might go shopping with you and insists paying for everything. Chinese man is expected to and wants to take care of his loved one, to be the breadwinner of the family. It might be hard for him if his girlfriend earns more than him.

Language difficulties

Even if you speak fluent Chinese or he speaks fluent English you still might have language difficulties in your relationship. Perhaps his native language is a dialect of Chinese and you can’t understand a word they are saying in the family dinner table?

Or perhaps your Chinese is as terrible as his English but you want to make it work anyway? Be ready for lot of work and mutual understanding and patience to have a successful relationship. If necessary learn the local dialect in order to communicate with his family and relatives.

The good and the bad

I’ve got my heart-broken by a Chinese guy, I’ve already felt the happiest with a Chinese guy. Dating someone outside your culture, especially from such a different culture as Chinese culture is, it isn’t easy. There will be hardships, misunderstandings and compromises has to be made, more than if you dated and married  someone from your own country.

But at the same time you get a man who wants to take care of his family, is willing to work hard for everyone’s happiness and loves kids. Someone who knows why he is dating you and will let you know it too. Someone who haven’t even heard about commitment phobia.

So should you date a Chinese guy? Why not! If you meet a great Chinese guy then go for it, don’t let the stereotypes or someone’s bad experiences hold you back.

Are you dating a Chinese man at the moment? Or dated one but it ended? I would love to hear about your experiences on dating Chinese men!

For more blog posts on the topic, check out Dating Chinese Men and Chinese Family life.

02/8/13

Guangzhou Flower Fair 2013

Flower Fairs are a big tradition in Guangzhou before the Chinese New Year. Firework show being cancelled from now onwards the best way to celebrate the holidays is to visit different flower fair available all around the city. Tomorrow will be the last day of the flower fairs in Guangzhou.

I visited the Haizhu District Flower Fair at Binjiang West Road (滨江西路). You will need at least one hour, but better to prepare even more time. Besides flowers there is so much else to buy too. Anything you need to have a beautiful and tasty Spring Festival.

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02/4/13

Looking back to last semester’s courses and grades

In September I wrote about my first impressions of autumn semester’s courses. Now it’s time to look back what I learned and what kind of grades I got! Last semester was the end for my third year, and my final year will begin at the end of this month. If all goes well, I will graduate in December.

For new readers: I’m studying Chinese as a foreign language undergraduate degree at Sun Yat-Sen University. My major Chinese with a specialisation to Teaching Chinese as a foreign language.

口语

Spoken Chinese course continued like the semester before this. Too many students in class and a teacher who liked his own voice more than ours. We did learn many sentence patterns, but didn’t use them often enough to actually remember them. We only had one presentation per student, which is way too little to actually help with our spoken Chinese level. My final grade was 86.

现代汉语

Modern Chinese course number two continued with the same book as spring semester 2012. We learned a lot about Chinese characters and even more about Chinese grammar. We also had to write a minimum on 1000 characters mini thesis about comparing a grammar point in Chinese and in our native language. I like the teacher a lot and was really satisfied with the course. My final grade was 91.

写作

I usually like Chinese writing courses because I like essay writing, but this semester didn’t seem to offer enough  challenge. I wrote pretty much the way I wanted, started homework always the night before and still got good marks. In the final exam I did a huge mistake though! The part two was to write an essay and that went well, but in part one you had to write an outline for an essay. I completely misunderstood the point of the essay! So with this stupid mistake I lost 30 points in the final exam, nothing to do with my writing skills. I was really happy to still get a final grade of 84.

综合

Comprehensive Chinese course was one of the most memorable ones. I liked the teacher a lot! He really made us use our heads and push us outside our comfort zone. He was funny, smart and didn’t go easy on us. The key in this course was to learn new vocabulary and chengyu’s (Chinese idiom usually consisting four characters). Final grade 84.

汉语课堂活动设计

On this course we learned how to plan class activities when/if we become teachers. The first half of the course we basically planned and tried several activities every week. It’s was really fun and I learned a lot! The latter half of the course we learned how to plan lessons including an activity for different kind of Chinese courses. I liked the two teachers a lot and it was perhaps the funniest course we had. Our exam was to be a teacher for 15 minutes and I think I did a pretty good job. My final grade was 91.

汉语语言要素教学

This course teaching us how to teach pronunciation, characters, vocab and grammar started badly. Teacher was young and inexperienced, it was painfully boring to sat on these lessons. Then I mistakenly criticized the teacher heavily while she was in a hearing distance. I felt so bad about it, but in the end she did change her teaching method! The following lessons were much much better! My final grade was 93.

太极剑

Taiji sword, one of the compulsory taiji courses we have (I’ll the normal taiji next semester). Too many students, hard to concentrate on teaching, lessons started at 6pm and were held outside.. Some of the reasons why I didn’t have much motivation for this course. I was glad to pass it and get a grade of 75.

中文报刊阅读

Chinese news paper reading course was perhaps the most boring course of the semester. I had zero motivation to participate in that course and in the end I think I didn’t even learn anything. Our teacher was young and bit inexperienced. She used a level of spoken Chinese too high for us, the hardest of all teachers. My final grade was 85 (it’s like 85%, 100 being the best). This was actually a compulsory selective course.

汉语熟语

My only selective course for the semester, Chinese idioms was a great course. Strict teacher, lots of idioms to learn and the fear that kept me doing my homework every time. It wasn’t an easy course, but I managed to get a 88 points final grade.

Conclusion

It was a hard semester for me. Too many things happening and taking away my motivation to study. I really thought that this would have been my worst semester, but in the end it wasn’t. I did better than on the spring 2012 semester which was a surprise.

Compared to my three other classmates* in five of the compulsory courses (not including taiji sword) I had the best score in four of them, one spoken Chinese I had the second best grade.

But why do I care what grades others get? At this level it often, well all the time, feels like there’s no progress in my Chinese level. It have felt like that for a long time now. The improvement is slow which makes it harder to be motivated to keep on learning. But at least I can see from my grades that I’m doing somewhat good job and I’m on the right track.

*(yes, there are only four students in my group, though we often have classes with other groups)