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Many years ago, when my husband first received clearance in China his US Green Card, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Oh, how wrong I was. It was only after I moved to America with my Chinese husband that I finally learned the truth — that the most challenging things happen after you set foot in American soil.
Here are 7 major challenges we faced after we moved together from China to America: Nobody gives a damn about it. Returning to the US with a new spouse after years in China is like coming home from the greatest world adventure ever.
As Marissa of Xiananigans noted: John and I felt like the odd-couple-out at hundreds of social gatherings in the US, surrounded by Americans who would rather talk about TV shows neither of us had ever heard of.
It was a sad reversal of what we experienced in China, where friends and family would remain rapt with attention when we spoke of America.
They were always hungry to hear about what things were really like in my home country, and excited to discuss the latest news headlines, movies and even TV shows. Ultimately, the few people who actually wanted to talk China were usually from the country, former expats, or traveled there once upon a time.
And sadly, there were never enough of them to go around. Americans are incredibly judgmental towards non-native English speakers photo by -Curly- via Flickr. When a young girl from Belgrade joined our high school orchestra for a period of time, I loved hanging out with her in the hallway and hearing her spin stories of the former Yugoslavia through her splendidly imperfect English.
In college, I used to enjoy green tea with a couple of Japanese guys who sometimes paused in the middle of a sentence, and once helped put together a party to welcome a gaggle of Brazilian girls who spoke English with heavy accents. None of these imperfections in their English bothered me in the least.
Then I returned to the US with my Chinese husband who speaks English as a second language — and discovered the shocking truth. Most Americans were not like me at all. Americans are extremely judgmental towards non-native English speakers — even when they speak outstanding English as my husband does.
Sadly, in the hierarchy of non-native English speakers, Chinese place somewhere at the bottom. Discrimination photo by Loving Earth via Flickr. Make more friends with people of color — they can share their experiences with you and will become your allies when the worst hits your spouse.
Call it the American Chinese food conundrum. There are literally hundreds of thousands of Chinese restaurants that cover the US — and only a small fraction of them can deliver anything close to the ambrosial delights that you fell in love with in China.
There are some things that are WAY too complicated to prepare on a regular basis Beijing duck, anyone? Teaching your spouse how to drive a car Sorry guys, but teaching your spouse how to drive in the US is not lovely like this photo! So will your spouse, except for one small problem: Guess who will become their teacher?
But ask me to do it all over again?
Sadly, discrimination especially language-based discrimination looms large in subjective situations like interviews, leading to a lot of potential disappointments and frustrations that you never even expected.
Still, I know of American women who have returned to the US with their families, understanding that their husbands will either be underemployed or become stay-at-home dads.
One of the most painful things about moving to America was when the experience shattered all the fantasies I ever had about settling there with my husband.
My own country crushed us and let us down in countless ways. Have you moved from China to America? Are you planning your own move? Weigh in with your thoughts on the challenges of bringing your family to the USA! Did you enjoy this article?Quarterly Essay 68 Without America: Australia in the New Asia [Hugh White] on urbanagricultureinitiative.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
America is fading, and China will soon be the dominant power in our region.
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