Tag Archives: american

Race – unknown

I’ve had quite a few people tell me that I am not in an interracial relationship and my baby isn’t of mixed of race. The reasoning is that my husband isn’t black. I find this kind of puzzling. Isn’t Chinese a different race? He speaks a different language, has a different cultural heritage, and is from a different geographical area. It seems more interracial to me than two people born in the same country.

The issue of race in America is complicated. It is probably a matter of perspective. The people who have told me race is only black and white have been people who classify themselves as either black or white. Plus I live in the south.

The government considers us to be different races most of the time. We are asked about race on standard forms where my husband and I check different boxes. If different race boxes are checked, doesn’t that make us interracial? I always thought an interracial relationship was one where two people of different races were in a relationship together. It apparently depends on which races are checked. Some are more applicable than others. Continue reading

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Will that be Cash or Credit?

When a Chinese person buys a wallet, he/she looks to see how much cash it will hold; when an American buys a wallet, he/she looks at how many credit cards it will hold. (Useless fact: Chinese wallets are actually larger than most American wallets because 100 RMB bills are larger than US dollar bills) The entire concept of money seems to be different between the two cultures.

As soon we came back to the states, I started building my husband’s credit. I found a credit card with a terribly low limit but no fees, and we bought a car with a high interest rate even though we had enough to buy the car in cash. Sadly, the bank representative told us this was very common. As she explained, even though immigrants often have plenty in cash to buy a house or a car in full, without credit, they can’t get a loan. I’m sure there is logic in there somewhere. So we paid interest to have a credit score because credit is king. Continue reading

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Chinese vs American family meals

Whenever an American holiday approaches there is a lot of work in my family’s kitchen. Things like desserts are started the day before and then a few family members spend all day in the kitchen while everyone else watches tv. The food is always great, but especially for holidays, we all sit in the formal dining room with big chairs and a long table. Everyone seems so far away. Then after hours of cooking and preparing, everyone finishes eating in about a half an hour and gets up from the table. It seems like once everyone has eaten their plateful, there is no reason to stick around. Hours of work for 30 minutes of eating.

For Chinese holidays with my husband’s family in Shandong, there is still a lot of prep work. Dumplings, for instance are a day-long endeavor, but take very little time to actually cook. Stir-frying doesn’t take very long either, especially with everyone helping with chopping and peeling. Then everyone, it seems like almost 20 people, sits at a tiny table that one would think fits 4. With toasting of tea, beer, and baijiu, the meals last for hours. When the food looks like it is about to run out, more is made or found. I recall a couple of 11am lunches that didn’t finish until after 6pm.

Now in America, husband and I invite people over for Chinese meals all the time. We’ll have 10 or more people over and fit everyone around a table that by American standards should only seat 6. Sometimes, we’ll just stir-fry up a few dishes and serve some fresh pickled veggies, or, even easier, make hot-pot. It takes less than an hour to make everything and everyone is cozy. Without having defined portions on a dinner plate, the Chinese style meal allows everyone to graze for hours. Conversation seems to flow better and everyone is more literally sharing the meal.

Every family is different, mine seems to get restless once they are full. The only way to get them to stay at the table longer is to eat Chinese-style. Surprisingly, no one has complained about being cramped or about reaching for food.

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Chinese Censoring of the Karate Kid

After watching the new Karate Kid movie released in America, my American friend turned to me and said: “only in an American-made movie would the little American kid go to a foreign country and beat little Chinese boys with their own fighting style.” Although the movie took place in China, in collaboration with Chinese film makers, it was definitely made for American audiences as it portrayed the Americans as the good guys and the Chinese as the bad guys. So I wondered, how would the Chinese government alter the movie for a Chinese audience?

Well, after watching the new Karate Kid movie released in China, I must say that clever deletion of scenes managed to successfully change the movie from that of an underdog story to one of self-discovery. I spent the whole movie watching for deleted scenes and wondering what was their motivation in deleting them? How much does the edited version change the story?

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