09/30/15

Chinese parents and paying back your debt

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Source: China Daily

No, I’m not talking about making my Chinese in-laws to pay back my student loans, but about filial piety. On paper respecting your parents, elders and ancestors sounds all very good, but what it’s actually like to live 5 meters from your Chinese parent’s or in-laws?

Disclaimer: This post is recommended to be read with a hint of humour.

Chinese parents love helping their children, even after they have grown up. They come knocking to your door and wash your floors. They make special Cantonese soups and fill your fridge with fruits so fast you simply don’t have enough time to eat them all. Chinese parents will give you advice from left and right on how to dress, how to furnish your house and what to eat. “Parents know best” is their motto.

Well, who wouldn’t want someone to cook and clean for you? Now comes the trick! There is no free lunch.

Chinese parents don’t do things for free, they will expect you to pay it back someday. Some parents want red envelopes with cash on holidays. Some want their children to pay back by spending more time with them and taking them on various trips. Some expect you to listen to all their advice just because “I made that soup for you when you were sick”. In a way or other you will need to pay back.

“Did I raise you up for nothing?” is one of the favorite saying of a Chinese parent. They will remind you how they brought you up in difficult situations and will use that information to get you do what they want.

“Look what neighbor’s kid did for their parents!” is another pet phrase of Chinese parents. Here kids aren’t brought up with praise, but with criticizing and noting their shortcomings. And no matter what you do it is never enough, you will never be as filial as that famous “neighbor’s kid” (which you have never seen, is he a legend?).

So what do you do when you feel like you will never be able to pay back your debt? If you are an independent Finn you will probably try to avoid accumulating that debt and refuse help as much as possible. Of course in a Chinese family it’s much easier said than done.

How about you? How are you paying back to your Chinese parents or in-laws?

09/20/15

The End of a Summer

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It’s the end of the Summer and even though temperatures still rise above 30 degrees, there is a feeling of Autumn here in Guangzhou. Or is it only because the Moon Festival is coming and October starting soon?

My research plan got the approval of my teachers and I have continued forward with my master’s thesis. Finding people to answer my survey has been harder than I thought, but I hope to get the required amount of answers somehow. I wish to do and write as much as I can before our baby arrives in the  beginning of November.

I noticed I haven’t written much about my pregnancy, but that’s because everything has gone so well. I’ve been feeling normal and continued studying and teaching as before. These days at 32+ weeks I need to take it a bit easier after a long day, to remember that I don’t have to run everywhere but can slow down as well.

The fact that I’m being pregnant in China shows in a few ways. I usually get a seat in the bus or metro, some people are even overly friendly and jump right up when they see me stepping into a metro. My doctor’s appointments are fast and to the point, no extra small talk about how I feel or how does the father to be handle the life change. Coffee shop staff always confirms if I really want my drink cold, as it’s not advised in China to drink cold drinks when pregnant. My mother-in-law makes special soups when we have dinner at their place once in a while. Other than that my pregnancy is going forward as anywhere in the world.

As the arrival of our baby is coming closer, I might not be as active here on the blog or can’t find the time to answer my emails. At the moment the fastest way to contact me and follow my life in China is through my Facebook Page. I do have lots of plans for my blog though!

I’m planning to write a series of Chinese textbook reviews to help all of us learning Chinese to find the right book to study Mandarin. Later I’m also going to write more about prenatal appointments and giving birth in a Chinese hospital. If you have any ideas for blog posts, leave a comment and let me know!