Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to My Blog

My friends and family keep telling me I should write a book about my experiences as a white Chinese daughter-in-law. But I have never been sure that there is a market for my story. I mean, does the world really want to hear about a typical middle-class, white American woman who went to Taiwan fresh out of college twenty-five years ago, learned the language, married into a traditional Chinese family, and proceeded to go native? Is there an interest in how she and her husband raised their three daughters to be bilingual and bi-cultural, even after they moved to the United States? Do people really want to know about Chinese culture from the inside out? I guess the only way to find out is to start writing a blog and see if I attract any readers.

I have several goals for this blog; many of them are quite lofty:

  • I hope to promote cultural understanding and to encourage Americans to open themselves to new ways of thinking.—Over the past 22 years of our marriage my husband and I have found that we like the Chinese way for some things and the American way for others. I would like to share our results with people of all races to broaden cultural horizons.
  • I plan to describe my personal journey from WASP to “other” on the ethnicity scale.
  • I want to give a voice to my parents-in-law’s stories of the traditional Chinese life-style that is rapidly disappearing.
  • I want to share our experiences parenting and homeschooling our daughters.
  • But most of all, I hope to chip away at the walls of prejudice between cultures and races that people of color face. As a white Chinese daughter-in-law, I am treated one way when I am alone or just with my daughters, and when we are with my husband and other Chinese friends, we are treated markedly worse. I believe one of the biggest reasons for prejudice and disrespect is a lack of understanding. I hope that by sharing my insights into Chinese culture, I will promote respect for all cultures.

In the weeks to come, I will discuss the trials and tribulations of learning Chinese, tell the story of how my husband won my heart by rescuing me from a poisonous snake, narrate how my husband was born at home without a midwife, discuss the merits of raising chickens on the roof as opposed to in the bathroom, describe surviving in a household of 9 with 3 generations under one roof, and explain my understanding of “screaming yellow hordes.” I welcome questions and comments, but I ask that you always show respect, even if you disagree with my views. I reserve the right to delete offensive comments.

8 comments:

gzim said...

Teresa,

This looks like a very interesting project. I will be watching it with "enthusiasm."

Dad

Teresa said...

Thanks for the moral support, Dad. Now I have to be really careful what I write :)
Teresa

gzim said...

Teresa,

Will you offer your blog in both Chinese and English, so that you can reach a wider audience potential?

Dad

Teresa said...

Hi Dad,

I do hope to do a Chinese version of the blog. First I want to learn how to successfully upload a snazzy picture layout and then I have to find out if Google has Chinese characters available for blogging. When I set up the account, I selected the option for foreign languages, but the ones that came up were Tamil, Thai, Arabic and other similar script languages. I may have to find a Chinese blog service and then link the two. Right now I'm sorting through old pictures of Taiwan, and then I either have to scan them or take digital photos of them to make them upload ready.

Teresa

Anonymous said...

I am unpleasantly surprised to hear that you experience discrimination when you are accompanied by your Chinese family. Does that happen currently? Everywhere? What are your experiences.

Lyndi Lamont said...

Hi Teresa,

I like the look of your blog. Here's the link you asked me to post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurie-nadel/what-the-candidates-faces_b_138579.html

Linda

Teresa said...

To answer the question about how much discrimination is experienced, I would say that my husband encounters it the most. It is one reason he chooses to be an entrepreneur instead of working in a company. I would say that the amount of discrimination we experience depends on where we are and who we are with. Right here in our own little corner of North Orange County, CA, there are a lot of mixed racial families, so we don't see it so much. When we have gone to predominately white enclaves here in California and in other states in the US, we run into it more. It is not that bad, just this subtle feeling of being ignored or frozen out, that I don't get when I'm alone.

Teresa

Teresa said...

Hi Linda,

Thanks for posting the link. I liked this article because I think Chinese face reading is a fun idea. One item in face reading is that if you have big ears that stick out from your head, you will attract wealth. My mother-in-law used to stroke all my daughters ears when they were babies, so they would have a "wealthy face." Now they wish their ears were flatter against their head. Of course, in America we think the opposite, and I've heard of people even going to have their kids' ears pinned back. (Maybe that's why our biggest export is debt... lol).

I was sad to see so much vitriole in the posts underneath the article. I hope it was not so much cultural as political.

Teresa