Today it is time for something new: The first Guest Post on this blog.
C. Fernandes is a Brazilian who is currently living in Germany. In 2010 he moved to Shanghai for 7 months where he eventually met the love of his life. When he is not busy doing her favors, working or traveling, he is usually online sharing his knowledge of China. If you would like to read more of his stories and find out more about dating Chinese girls or how to have a healthy relationship with Chinese women, then head on over to mynewchinesewife.com
In December of 2012 my Chinese girlfriend decided it was time for me to meet her family in China. We had been dating for about 9 months and living a very happy life together in Germany. Like any other couple, we had our share of problems, but there was nothing that suggested that these problems had something to do with the cultural difference between us. I have always thought that International relationships were a great thing and I have always believed that anybody who is (or has been) in an international relationship had to agree that it is far more interesting than dating someone, say, from their own town. In my mind, globalization had since long taken care of all the differences between cultures and that cultural shocks were a thing of the past. Boy, was I wrong!
I had lived in Shanghai before for a period of 7 months in the past and I absolutely loved my life there, so it was with great pleasure and excitement that I packed my bags and followed my girlfriend to China. Upon our arrival in China, we decided to take a couple of days alone in a neighboring city before going to see her parents. While I enjoyed myself revisiting all the foods and sights that make China so special, my lovely girlfriend spent her time making sure that I knew all the do’s and don’ts of meeting traditional Chinese parents. She made me memorize a series of phrases (which sounded all the same to me) and explained the exact moment that they should be used. Only when she thought I was ready for my first “confrontation” with her parents, did we make our way to her hometown.
I will always remember the exact moment that I met my “Chinese family”. I walked into their living room and greeted Mama with a big hug, to which point she just stood there with a smile not knowing exactly what to do. I then directed myself towards Baba to also give him a taste of my hug, but Baba…well….Baba greeted me with a frown and left me hanging… From that point on, everything kind of went downhill for a few hours. As soon as I had eaten lunch with them, Mama led us to the living room where we began to have tea and talk about my salary, my job, my bank account, my intention to mary their daughter and the current apartment prices in China. For a moment there, I was so apprehensive that I could not help the feeling of being interrogated! I could already picture myself in a small dimly lighted room, with an old wooden table in the center; Mama and Baba dressed in Red Army uniform; picture of Mao on the wall…
Finally, after my “release” from Mama’s little tea session, I was told to get ready for the big banquet where I would be introduced to the whole family. I still remember walking into that restaurant and having everybody look at me as if I was about to be lynched. Everybody looked very serious, except for the girls of the family who seemed very excited to have me there and be able to practice their English. Eventually, we all sat around a huge round table and I watched as the waitress served us pretty much every dish in the menu. I was “encouraged” to try everything and everybody kept a close look at my hand to see if I was able to eat with chopsticks. Every time I did something wrong, my sweet girlfriend rewarded me with a kick in the shin and went on to correct me before anyone else noticed my mistake.
An hour into the dinner every single gentleman at the table asked to drink a full glass of white wine with me. It was slow at first, but I soon found myself under attack as father, uncle, brother, cousin, friend, neighbor and other family aggregates rushed to my side of the table raising full glasses of booze and screaming: “Cheers! Cheers!” If that wasn’t enough, every 5 minutes someone literally threw a cigarette at me and expected me to smoke with them. Sadly for me, I am not really a big smoker.
After two hours of heavy drinking, I felt too drunk to even be drunk. My face was as red as an apple and I was really very full of everything. I didn’t really want to take part in that little party anymore and I told my girlfriend:
Which is our little secret code for “Let’s get the hell out of here!”
Lucky for me, everybody was already very much out of themselves and my girlfriend and I were able to leave the dinner without attracting too much attention. On our way out, one of my newly acquainted aunties chased me down the restaurant stairs with one last glass of wine, grabbing me by the arm and refusing to let me go until I finally gave in and shoved down that last gulp of the strongest drink I will ever have.
That night, I was not able to sleep at all. Partially because I spent the better part of the night with my head in the toilet vomiting. Every time I would make my way into the bathroom, the family dog would bark until I let him in with me. As soon as I was in all fours hugging the toilet bowl, it took advantage of my situation and would then proceed to try and lick my balls through my pajama pants. Now that I think about it, that was actually kind of soothing.
It is funny how things turn out. The next day, Baba actually smiled to me and invited me to take a ride with him. He showed me around town and even taught me how to prepare tea. In the days that followed, I received several phone calls from family members congratulating me on my drinking skills and inviting me to drink with them another day. I must have taken part in half a dozen banquets, but nobody ever let me foot the bill.
Even until this day, I am still pretty much a drinking legend in my girlfriend’s family. I have visited them other times and we are now all very attached to each other. Who would have guessed that after getting the cold shoulder from the father, being interrogated by the mother, having been drugged by the uncles and finally have been sexually harassed by the dog that things could take a turn for the better? Through my first contact with my Chinese family, I learned a valuable lesson. Differences still do exist, but they are only there for us to circumvent them. Breaking barriers and reaching out to others, no matter how hard it must seem at first is an absolute must and perhaps a man’s only true mission in life.
Are you interested in writing a guest post on this blog or would like me to write one? Feel free to contact me through the comment section of this blog (email will follow soon™).