Welcome to Part Two of why it is seriously amazing to be in an intercultural relationship.
7) The local experience
Having a local partner also means opening the doors to an entirely different experience in their country; the local experience. All the small pains of being a foreigner in China, spending extra money simply for not being Chinese, not knowing how things work and what to watch out for; they suddenly all disappear as you gain your very own cultural adviser who can make sense of the chunks of confusing information being chucked at you in your new surroundings.
They know where the good and cheap restaurants are, where to look for flats, how much you should be paying and who is trying to trick you. It certainly helps you get the best out of your China experience.
8) Showing them the China we love
An on-going joke between Mr. Li and I is the fact that have seen more of the country than he has. Indeed I spent a majority of time during my study abroad experience in Beijing in 2010 just traveling to all corners of the country. This also means I know a thing or two about where the amazing places are.
I really enjoy taking Mr.Li to different parts of the country and showing him the sights I have seen or discovering entirely new places together. It is such a gratifying feeling to see him marvel at a Chinese city, a new dish or local culture he never knew existed in his own country.
9) Simple Dating
In the Western world, the initial dating phase has become synonymous with constant agony of the unknown. Being stuck in dating limbo might last weeks or months depending on how confrontational one is. In the past it was single, courtship, marriage; now you find a confused jumble of marriage, relationship, casual dating, one night-stands and the epithet of our generation’s unwillingness to face serious commitment, Facebook’s “It’s complicated”.
China on the other hand takes us back to the days when dating was simple. While a conservative form of casual dating is slowly emerging on the mainland, over all you will find Chinese people to be very serious daters. Mr Li said to me on our first hangout as friends (or inofficial date if you like) that his parents wanted him to marry a foreigner. That did enough to scare me off for the next three months but luckily he is a stubborn little thing.
If they like you, they will not mess around. If they like you, they are in it for the long haul. No nights lying awake thinking “he loves me, he loves me not”, no endless discussions with your friends dissecting his every text message for clues as to what his intentions are. It’s much more simple and painless.
10) A whole new world of entertainment
Whether it is watching an American blockbuster and chasing it with the latest mainland human drama, listening to One Direction getting their girl stolen and then switching to Joanna Wang’s （王若琳）raspy voice declaring her love for a certain red flower, or watching Dinner for One on Western New Year’s Eve and the yearly Chinese New Year show roughly a month or two later. Going out with a Chinese constantly gives you access to new material you might have never discovered on your own.
Sometimes it can seem that your tastes are very different, and you might find yourself questioning whether you really have that much in common, but once you start digging you will soon discover a connection over the most unlikely pieces of art, music or film you could imagine.
Who doesn’t love a holiday? What do you love more than a holiday? Two of course! International relationships between Europeans and Chinese have the major benefit of giving a you the opportunity to celebrate Christmas and Chinese New Year on top of a big host of other exciting holidays to lounge around and eat yummy food. Who could say no to that?!
Also, because Chinese don’t celebrate Christmas and we don’t celebrate Chinese New Year, you will never have the “do we spend the holiday at my parent’s or yours?” fight. International couples for the win!
12) Amazing food
Need I even explain this?! What is better than having a local take you to the best restaurants and showing you the best local dishes you might never have set eyes on without him?!
Nowadays, when I find myself nibbling away on a pressed hawthorne stick or some tempura-fried spicy seaweed, I stop in my tracks and notice how many of my favorite foods I only discovered through Mr.Li. That is enough to enrich one’s life to last an entire lifetime!
Missed out on Part One? Simply click here to catch up.