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.
I wrote ZJ and I’s story for Speaking of China the day after we celebrated our one year of marital bliss 😉 Jocelyn’s introduction does a superb job of capturing the post in all its glory:
“I’d never dated or been attracted to Chinese men before,” writes Marissa Kluger — not until she met ZJ in Xi’an, a city that stole her heart away.
Marissa’s blog Xiananigans has been a pleasure to follow over the years (right down to her “explosive” Chinese wedding, where she dons the most gorgeous red wedding gown I’ve ever seen). Here’s the story behind it all, from how she discovered Xi’an and ZJ to how they eventually moved it to her hometown in New Jersey.
A few photos and an excerpt from the story to whet your appetite:
My first trip to China, in 2007, happened to be a three week intensive course abroad, a general education requirement instituted by Goucher College, my alma mater. Xi’an ended up being one of our destinations. Besides inspecting the soldiers at the Terracotta Warriors, bicycling around the Xi’an City Wall, and navigating the alleys of the Muslim Quarter, we met with an alumnus teaching at Xi’an International Studies University.
The city of Xi’an compelled me to return four years later to teach at Xi’an International Studies University.
I arrived in Xi’an in late August 2010, and luckily I had the first month of September free, as I had been assigned freshman. Freshman have mandatory military training, and four years ago, this lasted an entire month. I took this chance to meet up with a very good friend of my former private drum instructor and his Chinese wife. Lu Min Lu, I called her Daphney, helped me settle in and introduced me to the nightlife Xi’an offered. She took me to Park Qin, a bar frequented by Xi’an expats. ZJ worked at Park Qin.
Head on over to Speaking of China for the full story to read how Goucher College, my alma mater, played an integral role in leading me to find ZJ. I tell that backstory, details about our time in Xi’an, what we’re doing now and reveal what I love about him. Feel free to leave comments on the post or here.