While been living in China for almost four years, and especially living with a Chinese family most of 2013, I’ve noticed the big gap between generations. I have also noticed how some children follow in their parent’s foot steps but some feel themselves so foreign in their own families.
The whole extended family is worried about me and my boyfriend moving to the old family house. They are worried that the stress would be too much for us and we won’t be able to take care of ourselves. They can’t understand why anyone would want to live in an old house where there is so much space in the new house where we live at the moment.
To be honest, my boyfriend probably wouldn’t be moving out if it wasn’t for me. He was quite accustomed in his own ways inside the family. Working late, doing his own things during the evenings and weekends. He has a lot of non-traditional ideas, values and hopes, but perhaps even more so after I came to the picture.
My mother has always given me the freedom to do what I love. I choose my own high school, my major in a Finnish university and to stay in China. I’m sure it haven’t been easy for her, but she has always encouraged me to do what I want. And because of the education I was brought up with, I can’t get back into a cage anymore. Some might see me as an idealistic, but I’ve happened to achieve many of my goals.
It looks like we can’t move to the old house before I go to Finland in January. And what’s worse, my boyfriend will be away during Christmas for business. Experiencing Chinese family life have been amazing, but I’m already waiting for the next phase of my life, and to get my independence and freedom back. The move will be even more exciting for my boyfriend who is moving out for the very first time (if you don’t count living in a dorm while at university).
What is traditional in my boyfriend is that he wants to be the breadwinner for the family. Not that he would make me to stay at home, but that he very much prefers to earn more than me and also share his money with me. I can see many Chinese girls taking an opportunity of this, demanding expensive hand bags and gifts for example. But what I like to spend my money recently is to have a delicious lunch or dinner in a restaurant.
The generation gap between my boyfriend and his parents is so much wider than between me and my parents. I remember a friend saying how a gap as big as generation gap happens in China every five years, just count how many gaps that is between a son and a father!
These thoughts today were inspired by an amazing article by James Palmer. I really recommend you to read it: The balinghou
Balinghou 八零后 means the generation born in the 80s.