[Hold your horses! I don’t want offend anybody! I state my perceptions and experiences! I just know a few Chinese people personally, so my remarks are not representative!]
Here are 5 cultural differences that I witnessed being with a Chinese man for almost four years. Maybe I will write another version of this article focusing on differences in relationships.
1. Sense of Community
I noticed that many Chinese people are rather egoistic when it comes to the environment or empathy.
My best friend recently went on vacation to Vietnam and she said that the worst tourist were the Chinese people. They were throwing trash on the ground, were loud and rude, left a mess wherever they go and were fighting their way to the front of an attraction by bumping everyone else. I’m 100% sure that not everybody behaves like that and you should judge a whole nation by a few exceptions. But are these really exceptions? People should look out for each other and the nature!
I also heard from my boyfriend that when you see a person on the street who needs help (they fell down, hurt their leg etc.) you shouldn’t help them. It often happens that the helper gets wrongfully sued for causing the damage and has to pay compensation. It is also common to run into cars at traffic lights and demand compensation. To be safe, people rather don’t help each other. Recently we saw an eldery women tripping. She fell on her face and bled from her head and nose. My boyfriend didn’t react at first but I was the first one to help the lady.
Ok, I have to admit that food is probably the most important aspect. We HAVE to eat every day, so food has a huge potential for differences. The biggest difference is probably breakfast. Chinese breakfast more or less equals Chinese dinner. My boyfriend eats toast for breakfast since he lives in Germany (he is too lazy to cook proper Chinese breakfast) but he actually hates toast and all sorts of bread. WHAAAT?! Bread is life! Well, for him rice is life…
Another difference I have noticed is the meat he cooks. Now, I don’t know if it’s just my boyfriends preference but he just eats “unconventional” parts of the animal. Leg, neck etc. Why not a filet? He enjoys knibbling on the bones and detach the smallest bits of meat from the bone. No, thank you.
By the way, I’ve been “Chinese-ified”. I know how to use a ricecooker – with just Chinese description and buttons. And yes, it is possible to mess up rice.
The first luxury item I ever received was by my future mother-in-law. She was visting my boyfriend and brought so many expensive presents for my family and me. It was totally not necessary! The second luxury item I received was a birthday present from my boyfriends’ Chinese friends. I don’t even know the names of these friends! (Sorry, but I’m very bad at remembering names and Chinese names are definitely on another level…) I find luxury items totally unnecessary (maybe that will change when I get older) but it seems to be common courtesy the make expensive gifts. Maybe you are seen as cheap if you don’t make any effort?
But the contradicting thing is that I never met someone who can save so much money like my boyfriend. Deals and discounts seem to be the greatest thing in the world! Everybody loves discounts but Chinese people bring that to another level!
I’m 100% sure that I will never be able to go on a one week vacation to an all-inclusive resort somewhere at the beach. Staying too long at one place is a no go! You have to see as much as possible in minimum time and minimum cost! We planned our spring break and I got him down to 3 cities in 8 days…
My boyfriend has sooo many friends in China and Germany. I don’t even know that many people (ok, the introverted me is not really a great example…). He is in a WeChat (Chinese WhatsApp) group from his High School with 200 other classmates. I’m in contact with 5 people from school. He is in a WeChat group with 300 Chinese people living in Germany. Like I said, I don’t know that many people.
An the crazy thing is, they manage to regulary hang out! Well, not all 300 people at once! It seems to very important for Chinese people to know many people, have many friends and be in company with many people. I acutally prefer to have 5 good friends instead of 100 “friends”.
I personally also enjoy hanging out with less people at once. A cozy atmosphere with good conversations. Chinese get-togethers seem to follow other rules. The more the bettter. The louder the funnier. And food is a must! (Hot Pot and BBQ are preferred!)
What are experiences? Do you agree with some aspects?
If you want to read more about or binational relationship, I already wrote Reality of an International / Binational Relationship, Guilty Conscience in an International Relationship and 5 Tips on Moving in with your Partner.
See you soon!
pictures are from pixabay.com