It’s a mixed bag of reactions whenever I declare I’m a yangxifu, foreign wife/bride, at least in the United States. As a possibly necessary disclaimer, I do not inform acquaintances merely by translating into English, but may mention my husband is Chinese.
Self-identifying as a 洋媳妇 in China would always illicit positive responses, especially from the taxi drivers who mistook my nationality, identifying me as Russian. Many saw nothing out of the ordinary in a Russian woman marrying into a Chinese family.
I mesmerize millennials and many, but not all, of my peers, when I disclose my husband’s nationality. They get caught up in “the trans-national romance,” many having been abroad understanding the subtle nuances of creating lasting bonds, perhaps not as lasting as mine.
Yes, I’m about to get real serious, and break down cultural appropriation. What is cultural appropriation, you ask?
It’s when members of one culture adopt, use, or “borrow” elements of a different culture, largely perceived as a negative phenomenon.
When I first thought up this idea, I imagined panning it out into a very detailed comparison of working in the US and Xi’an, scrutinizing them in the same fashion I was asked to whenever sitting in the back seat of a taxi, usually on my way to tutoring in the high tech district, 高新区。
“Měiguó de shēnghuó gēn zhōngguó de shēnghuó bù yīyàng de, nǎge bǐjiào hǎo ma?”
“Life in America is not the same as in China, which is better?”