Being an interracial couple in: China

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Having met my wonder Mexican fiancé in China and both being foreigners to that country, we have encountered a few things while we have been together here as an interracial couple that I will mention!

So in China, I know that both of us our foreigners, however my boyfriend has brown skin, black hair and brown eyes. As do Chinese people. Me being white, I definitely stick out. But my fiancé really blends in, so much so that many Chinese people sometimes think that he is Chinese.

One day we were waiting for our friend outside her apartment complex. This really old Chinese man comes walking up and starts blabbering in Chinese to my fiancé. At this stage we only knew basic Chinese phrases, so he kept telling the man “I don’t understand, I don’t understand”. Still, the man kept chatting in Chinese to him, and all my fiancé could do was smile and hope he would leave soon.

When we go to a restaurant, the waiters usually come with the menu to my fiancé, as me being an obvious foreigner, I won’t understand the characters. When speaking, they will direct their attention to him rather than me.

A lot of Chinese people don’t know where my fiancé is from. We have heard people say he is from India, Indonesia, Peru, Philippines and from Arab countries. On two occasions people actually said that he looked like Barack Obama! When we visited the Philippines, many Philippines actually thought he was from their country as well, and were shocked when he told them that he wasn’t!

When he shows photos of his family and asks a person where do they think they are from, they will say China. So yes, in China I have a feeling that many people think that I’m going out with a Chinese person!

So it’s kind of strange in a way; I know both of us are foreigners, but I sometimes feel that Chinese people think that I’m going out with one of their own…. that’s until he opens his mouth and tries to speak Mandarin and then they realise “Oh, this man’s not Chinese!!?!… then where is he from!?”

But I really don’t blame them. When we first met, I don’t think I would have known where he was from if he didn’t tell me! He can blend in with people from many countries!

Aisling

2 thoughts on “Being an interracial couple in: China

  1. Haha I find your writing about being a foreign couple in China as I experienced the same when I was studying in China. I think Chinese people really like to talk to foreigners whether or not the foreigner can speak Chinese fluently. Even in a city like Beijing, Chinese people stare at foreigners (especially Whites) and just randomly start to talk. I couldn’t experience that as I look like Chinese but my boyfriend complained about it sometimes. Anyway, your post reminded me of the time back when i was in China!

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