It has been a week. Exactly a week since my other half arrived in Germany.
I still remember the excitement. Everything felt so surreal. We have been waiting for that day for such a long time. And finally it was happening.
The whole eight hours train ride to Frankfurt airport, I spent thinking about all the things I wanted to do together. There were all the fun things connected to Christmas, baking cookies, decorating the house, preparing the presents… and things, like just going for a walk in the village I was born, showing him my home. By the time I arrived in Frankfurt I had a list so long it would have easily lasted for a year to finish (unfortunately we just have 19 days).
Airports are a magical place for me. It’s the port that connects me to the rest of the world. And I love watching people welcoming their loved ones. This time, it was the first time ever I was the one waiting for someone to arrive. I remember walking up and down the arrival gate. Checking for signs of people coming out… Apparently his pilot had a date himself. So he made the whole way from Beijing to Frankfurt in less than seven hours, arriving nearly two hours earlier. That left me waiting no longer than half an hour, but it still felt like three. And then there he was. All the excitement, the fear something might go wrong, everything just went away in an instead. As if someone just pierced a bubble with needle; it all disappeared in thin air. The person I had left a few months ago was back at my side. And everything was as it was supposed to be.
For someone who had never left China before, who had never taken an international plane ride, who did not speak a word German and was about to meet his mother-in-law for the first time ever, he was as calm as a summer sea. I was amazed. Next to him I looked like a squirrel on weed. I was nervous for both of us (and maybe for the rest of the train, who ever needed to be nervous). But the first meeting went well. Better than that. It just clicked, and for the rest of the week we had one amazing time. I am blessed.
When I was in China visiting his parents for the first time everyone was very caring and showed me around. So, I wanted to do the same. And, well, as it is Christmas time where best to go than a proper German Christmas market. He enjoyed it so much, that we ended up visiting every single Christmas market in one hour distance; and tried as much food as we could stuff into us.
One of the best features of where I live is the German countryside. We always talked about how different this is from the Chinese countryside, but seeing it in real was a different number. No, I was not exaggerating when I told him shortly before he came “Most of the time we don’t see our neighbours, and on Sunday this village looks more like a ghost town.” He said ok, but I am sure he didn’t believe me. He would keep asking me, if we never hang out with our neighbours and maybe even play some card games with them once in a while… You can imagine his face the first morning we took my dog out for a stroll. As it was a Tuesday, and normal working day for the rest, there was literally no single person to be seen. And it did not get better over the week. I tried my best to entertain. But I am sure, it would take a long time for him to get used to a life in the German countryside. (luckily I am not planning on staying here anyway)
We bake cookies every year. But this year is different. I think we made all cookie recipes I have ever known. In just one week I turned him into a fabulous Chinese cookie baker. We decorated the whole house with every single Christmas decoration I could find stored in our cellar, and today we spent most of the days rapping Christmas gifts. This year everything feels more intense. If you try to share your own culture with someone you realize how important it actually is. We have spent most of our time together in China, and I adapted to the Chinese way of life. Now it was my turn to show him how important some of the Western customs and celebrations are for me.
A cross-cultural relationship is amazing. You have such a wide range of possibilities. There is no need to fight over differences. You have to embrace them. Who else has the chance to celebrate two New Year’s, Christmas (if you take the Russian Christmas we can celebrate three Christmases), Eastern, two Valentine’s days, several special Chinese holidays… and all the different dishes you can prepare. All the different customs you can enjoy. It is an amazing experience I would not want to miss.
May the warmth and joy of Christmas bring your family closer to each other. I wish everyone a merry and blessed Christmas!
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