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ASIAdocument.write(“” + m[today.getMonth()+1]+ ” “+ today.getDate()+”, ” + theYear + ” “);HOMECHINAWORLDBUSINESSLIFESTYLECULTURETRAVELSPORTSOPINIONREGIONALFORUMNEWSPAPERChina Daily PDFChina Daily E-paperChina Daily Global PDFChina Daily Global E-paperOpinion / From the ReadersEditorialsOp-EdColumnistsContributorsCartoonsSpecialsFrom the PressForum TrendsTalk from streetDebateEditors Pick:Syrian refugeescyberspaceV-Day paradeshrimp scandalTPPFalling in love with my Chinese husbandBy Marissa Kluger (chinadaily.com.cn) Updated:2015-09-25 10:21Comments Print Mail Large Medium Small”Im going to dig a hole to China,” I told my parents whenever they doled out punishments, or made me clean my room.
Perhaps it was a way for me to communicate that one day I would be flying the coop, or just a silly childish way of voicing dissatisfaction.
In a twist thanks in part to Fate, I ended up going to China as part of my universitys study abroad requirement and then again after graduating. I really did dig it!Zhang Jian and Marissa Kluger visiting Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan, China following their February wedding ceremony in 2014. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]I moved to China for a year of teaching university students in Xi’an, adamantly communicating to college friends in emails how I would not settle down nor date in China. Those emails were met with predictions of finding a husband, or at least a boyfriend. They must have had the Chinese proverb “you yuanqian li laixianghui, wuyuan dui mianbuxiangfeng” in mind.I met Zhang Jian during my first month in Xi’an as I was assigned to teach freshman and found I had free time to explore the city, and the hostel I stayed in was situated under the shadow of the City Wall.
After spending hours talking to him twice about music, movies, college, and discovering we had much in common, and that I found the sound of his voice soothing, we started dating soon after. It helped that he already spoke English fairly well, because I did not know more than ten phrases of Mandarin at the time, and he possesses a blend of American sarcasm and dry English humor. As we now live in the United States, ZJ has really upped his language prowess, and we jest that it has surpassed my native language skills.
When I met my in-laws for the first time during Chinese New Year, after dating for five months, ZJ again soothed me by serving as translator, interpreter, and above all else devoted boyfriend. My in-laws were very hospitable, even though at that time I spoke very little Mandarin, I felt liked, welcomed, and from day one a daughter-in-law. The language circumstances have changed as I speak conversational putonghua, missing them and the drama-free relationship we have dearly.
Although as I mentioned earlier I never imagined ending up in a cross-cultural marriage, I married ZJ for who he is. He is humorous, gentle, respectful, trusting, encouraging, caring, loving, intelligent, supportive, and handsome, inside and out. Marriage, cross cultural or otherwise, requires trust, compromise, mutual respect, and love.
A cross-cultural marriage will only amplify the flaws of husband and wife, cultural differences, societal challenges and pressures to bear children, but succeeding is all about managing each other’s expectations and maintaining interests in one another’s cultures.
ZJ and I maintain curiosity about American and Chinese cultures respectively. We equally ache for authentic Chinese cuisine, and feed that craving by cooking Chinese at home. We explore local parks and nature in New Jersey, roadtripping to meet relatives and sightsee in the American South. We watch Chinese films and Hunan Weishi’s Baba QuNaar, and listen to Chinese music even more so than Western music.I advise those dating across cultures that dating is taken very seriously from day one, and Chinese men do date with marriage in mind. When I look back, if I had not taken that leap of faith and said yes when ZJ asked me if we were dating, I would be missing out on the one person who best enhances me.
Marissa Kluger married her Chinese husband ZJ two years ago. They live in New Jersey now.Know more about her living,teaching experiences and muses about life in the US at Xiananigans.8.03KRelated StoriesAmericans and Chinese view dating very differentlyAn American finds love in ChinaChina love story: a baby changes everythingMy transcultural love in SeattleMost Viewed Todays Top NewsHelping fight global povertyAgenda 2030 vital to Asia-Pacifics futureTime to start thinking of a New Bretton Woods?Warning to EU exposes bias of US scholar against ChinaUN must enhance role in peace and stabilityForum TrendsShould teachers accept gifts from students?Is military training necessary for freshmen?Should children endorse products?Should a woman propose to a man?Education: Learning from each otherStay-at-home or working mom?Can single women exercise reproductive rights?ColumnistsMedia rekindle keenness in UKs China businessUS, Chinese approach to ties sharply differFeatured ContributorsRising China follows the gold rule amid fading American CenturyPresident Xi and China-US economic relationsStar BloggersReverse culture shock By kellivschinaBefore returning home to the US this summer, people warned me I might experience “reverse culture shock”. After living in China for a year there were things about home that surprised me.The man with a plan By teamkrejadosWhen he first came to China, things were a lot more lax – both in this country and in the world. Obtaining official documents was nowhere near as rigorous as it is today.America is to blame By MichaelMA recent post that went viral on Chinese social media outlet, WeChat, stated that America is at fault for the recent downfall of the Chinese stock market.SpecialGap years: A choice for young ChineseThe lives of stay-at-home dadsExpats teachers zoom in on China…| About China Daily | Advertise on Site | Contact Us | Job Offer | Expat Employment |Copyright 1995 -var oTime = new Date();
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