“Boy you love, or boy who loves you?”

Talking with my students, this question is roughly the equivalent of the  “good guy bad boy” choice in American culture. Here’s what my kids had to say in answer (my favorites are in bold):

If we choose someone we loved we will get hurt deeper after us break up with our girlfriend or boyfriend. I think girls should be protected so girls should choose someone love her. Why we don’t have someone we loved and also love us?

I will choose the one who love me most. If I choose the one I love most will lost myself. He doesn’t love me I will feel very sad. So I will choose the one who love me most. He can give me what I want.

I will choose the one I love, because if I chose the one I love I will feel happy every day. I can give my lover all I can give. And I think I will be a better man if I chose the one who I love (although this was written by a girl)

I prefer choosing a boy who I fall in love with he. I think we should follow our heart.

Why are girls always asked this question?

I think this problem is popular in China. For this problem I will choose someone I love. Because I think if I can’t let him whose I love loves me, I will never get happiness. So I will choose my love and try to let him love me.

I think my answer is the one who love me. Because I think if he loves me more than I love him, it’s more easy to deal with, I will be more relate. So I choose the one who love me!

I will choose who I love, the life is too hard, and too boring. If I can’t choose who I love, maybe I will have a pity in my whole life. And I think not so boring that will make that the man who I love cannot fail in love with me one day.

I will choose the one I love. Even if he doesn’t love me. I will be very happy with someone I love. If I live with someone love me but I don’t love him, I won’t be happy, maybe he will be tired of my coldness and it will make him heart broken.

Choosing someone love you. If you choose someone you love, but he doesn’t love you, you will be lonely. If you choose someone who love you, you can spend time talking with him. If you chose someone who love you, he will take care of you.

I will choose someone love me, because the love can be motivated. If you are married you will find your love become more and more happy and you can gained more love.

I will choose the one I love. I hope I can use my love to warm him. I love the people I can pay to be true to him. Feeling cannot be forced.

I will choose the one I love. People’s life is so long. If I do not love him, how can I happy everyday? And also this is a kind of irresponsible.

I will choose the person I love. Because two people to together is the need to move feeling. Although the person who love me will be kind to me, but I don’t want to accept this.

If I choose who I love, maybe I can’t be happy. He doesn’t love me so he can’t take care of me. If I choose who loves me, maybe I’ll hurt him because the man I love is the other one. So I think I can’t choose any one. I’ll wait and find the man I love and also loves me.

I certainly will choose the one who loves me. Maybe it’s a little selfish, but if he loves me and would like to spend much time accompanying me, I think I finally would fall in love with him. But if I chose the one I like, I don’t think I would be happy.

I will choose the person who love me. I think when I need comfort, need accompany. Love my people will appear in the first place. And the person I love perhaps when I need comfort and accompany is waiting for me to comfort. I think the person I love doesn’t love me this is a kind of torture. Moreover, feelings can cultivate. So I will choose to love me. Falling love with a person, let your tears or make you happy. I will choose the later.

I will choose the man I love. Because I think getting married is a happy thing. If we can’t get married with the man we love, there is no significant for us to get married. It’s unfair to us and our partner. On the other hand, as the old saying goes, time is a antidote. Affection can be trained slowly, with time going by, maybe he will fall in love with me at last and be moved by. Therefore, maybe we will fall in love with each other. And we will have a happy ending.

I will choose the person I love and if I don’t love the people together I won’t be happy. Choose the person I love I’ll good to him. I ‘won’t force myself and don’t like people together. There is a saying in china: strong twisting of the melon is not sweet.

In life, perhaps the most common feeling is that the one who loves me, but I don’t love, and I love the people. But his eyes without me. The best love is rare object in the world. How do you choose the one you love and the one who loves you? If there is such a choice question appear in front of you you will choose the one you love, give him a heart and soul? Or choose a person who loves you, enjoy being a person to pay attention to the feeling? Just as someone said, choose a person you love to fall in love. Choose a person to love you spend a lifetime. So if there are two people like this standing in front of you, how do you choose?

I will choose boy who love me. Because I’m a girl. I want me happy, love me boy, he not will hurt me. At least, I’m not cry.


Don’t have dogs while you’re pregnant?

Fun fact: there’s a strong conviction in China that having a dog while pregnant is dangerous. Here’s what some of my kids had to say:

I think the pregnancy is best not to have a dog. A dog has a bad effect on fetal growth and development. For baby and your family’s health best dog later.

I love my dog which is why I ecide to bring a dog. And if I am ready to have a baby, I will do general check up also my dog will do it. make sure that both I and dog is totally healthy. Then, if I was pregnant, I won’t clean my dog’s excrement. Because maybe I will be infected by some bacteria from my dog. And also, I won’t walk the dog, in case I will have a fall. Overseas, so many people play with dog, sleep with dog and they are healthy. So I think there is no need to give up my dog.

If I’m pregnant, I’ll not give up my dogs! In my view, dogs can’t choose their own destiny, and we are not set on it it’s really important. It needs our company. Even though I am pregnant, I can reduce the close contact with dogs and pay attention to the hygeiene.

I want to choose not feed a dog when I have a baby, because I want give more love to my baby. I don’t give my baby a sense my love give him is not full. And also I haven’t enough time to care about my dog.

I like lovely dog, but I was pregnant, so I will put my lovely dog to my friend home. I didn’t want to lose my dog. When my baby was born, I will put the dog back. I believe my baby love dog too.

“Sugar daddy or young hottie?”

I told them they could make any decision they wanted. And I told the class to choose two presentations and give their own opinions. One group chose the question “sugar daddy or young hottie?”. By the way, the Chinese terms translated literally to “big uncle or fresh meat.”

This is what my students wrote:

I’ll choose sugar daddy. Because he is more mature. He know how to take care of a girl gentle. And he have more experience of life. He can help us a lot. So living with a sugar daddy will be happy.

I would choose sugar daddy. Because I think the sugar daddy know how to makes you feel good and happy than the hottie, and most of them go thought some trouble. When I go thought it, he would help me, would know the feel what I am going through. All above, the hottie can’t do that.

Everyone will encounter their own love, perhaps the person is a youth of the handsome guy, there may be an older uncle. Sugar daddy, they usually have a wealth of life experience, they will appear more mature. They know more about taking care of people in their lives. Instead, hottie. They are quite handsome, some fine pure sunshine boy, they have dream, passion, but their experience rarely. So in the mind not very mature. If you choose sugar daddy, I think you will be a very real life although simple, but will let you feel the warmth. If you choose a young hottie, that your life may be full passion, full of youthful atmosphere. If I had this situation, I would choose the sugar daddy. Because I like the mature man.

Sugar daddy mature, steady, generous, know how to take care of me. Hottie is sunny, handsome, romantic, and know how to give me surprise. We share the same interest, we will be very happy, but sometimes he doesn’t know humility, angry to me, makes me feel sad. So I will choose sugar daddy.

Hottie, young handsome and full of energy. If be with him, spend lot sof sweet and happy days together, explore new things. I will lead life fill with romance and happiness. Sweet daddy, caring, be good at taking care of the others, responsiblve for everything he in charge of in his work. If be with him, my life will be more colorful. I can also feel a sense of security.

(this is from a boy) I will choose hottie. Firs,t the question is which one? Second, I think the hottie is handsome and juvenility, on one hand, but along with him you will find that he is very romantic. On the other hand, he has great passion.

I will choose the hottie. Because I don’t like daddy who older. And the hottie more interested. He will tell joke to me. The hottie looks very handsome. So I will choose hottie.

I choose mature man because he is more colorful and warm. Mature man has a sense like father. Handsome man can’t believe rely on.

I’ll choose young boys handsome boys. Because I think that same age you will have common topic. And young boy have energetic. I don’t like a old gentleman.

As for me, I prefer to choicing uncle, such as the man which is older than me. Uncle will have more experiences and know how to take care of people. On the other hand, they are more mature, because the matter you have experienced the he has experienced. He’ll understand you and give you more solicitutde. On the contrary, fresh man sometimes will argue with you then both of you will break up. Although the fresh man is romantic. In a word, I’ll would choice uncle rather than fresh man.

I will choose hottie. First, the hottie looks very handsome. With the hottie have many topic and not have generation gap. Second, the daddy looks ripe and looks very puerile. Third, at the age difference I’ll can’t accept. At last, the hottie compare the daddy romantic and interested.

If I were a lucky girl, I want to choose both of them. But in fact, the old bachelor is much mature, and he will have lots of experience about how to treat his girlfriend or his wife. And he can give me the feelings of security. As for the freshman, maybe he is handsome and cute. Indeed, he is very fresh, but I’ll pay much more price on him. Thus I think I’d better choose the bachelor.

“They Eat Dogs There!”


“They eat dogs there, don’t they?”

I’ve heard that question a lot. I even read an article about Americans by a tour guide in Beijing, and they said “not going to a restaurant that cooks dog” is the most common request. Her American tourists aren’t aware that it’s almost impossible to find dog meat in Beijing.

In parts of China, dog meat is often eaten. But when I asked my students to give me their opinion on “which pet is the best,” well over 90% of them said dogs. Here’s some of what they said:

“I love dogs best! I think they are the most smart animal in the world. They can protect owners when in danger. They will follow you when you are sad. When I feel lonely they can accompany with me. They are human’s best friends.”

“Dogs are the friends of human. They are smart, cute, and loyal.”

“Dog is so active, when you come home, they will run to you excited, it really make you happy, because you know there is someone who are waiting for you to come home.”

“when you are boring, dog can accompany you.”

“dog is the best pet because it is almost human. It is smart, cute, and loyal. And it care’s master’s emotion, if you feel happy or sad, so does it. It will accompany with you all the time so long as you agree, and in it’s eyes, you are the everything.”

“dog can help me do some housework, for example, they dog can help lift some heavy things and pick up rubbish.”

“dogs can make us happy, but sometimes they also make us angry when they make mistakes. The host will ask who did that, make furnitures broken, eat foods without admition and so on. The dog will down thir head, it seems like they’re wrong. How cute they are!”

“when the master encounter bad guys, the dog can fly at the bad guys.”

“As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter with the pet’s category, as long as it is ‘your choice.’ I mean, a cat is someone’s family member. A lion could be the best friend to someone. Only if we enjoy the wonderful moments and sparkles with them and share happiness and sadness together, ‘that’ pet is the best pet for us.”

The Things That Surprised Me in the USA

Here is a partial list of the many things that surprised me during my reverse culture shock:

How many kids are going everywhere

In China, there just aren’t as many kids as adults. You can tell that the US is at replacement rate, because there are kids just everywhere.

How much water is in the toilets

Seriously, it’s like four times as much as in any toilet in Asia.

How much food fits in the refrigerator

American fridges are ‘effin huge. I’ve been in a lot of homes in Asia, and the sight of the modest refrigerator I grew up grazing from was a huge shock.

How quickly the hot water comes out of the faucet


In China, I have to wait a few moments while the hot water heater turns on and heats up. In the US, it just comes right out.

What a huge variety of businesses there are

In China, there are like 10 businesses, and every store fulfills certain criteria of its category. They are largely interchangeable in all the cities I have visited. In Ohio, every business had a personality and brand it was trying to sell, and niche stores were crazy.

What a huge amount of stuff there is to buy

JUST SO MUCH STUFF. Seriously, the normal Wal-Mart had more stuff than Chinese super Wal-Marts

How freaking intense the temperature changes are in American AC

I would open the sliding door and the heat would just ram into my face. My glasses would fog up. I would get an instant headache. I don’t know why, but in China the central air just doesn’t work as well, and even indoors its warm.

Checking my favorite websites during the day instead of at night.

You get used to living on a reverse schedule for websites.


Generational Insecurity and Chinese Girl-Bonding


“Groups of three!”

“No, Miss, two! Or four!”

“Three! Three roles, three people.”

I ended up assigning some of the groups myself because so many girls did groups of 2 anyway. Why were they so resistant to groups of three? Because, at my school, everyone lives 4 to a room.

For the vast majority of the students, I’m pretty sure, those 4 people are their family. One girl actually told me that she wanted to be in a group with her friends because “we’re family!” In groups of four–or sometimes divided groups of 2–they sit together, the perform in-class dialogues, they eat together, they go out together.

When I was in college, my life got bigger. I think this happens to most Americans at college. You get there and you meet new people, you make new friends, you drop in and out of friend groups until you find one that fits.

But these girls aren’t like me. I grew up with a certain degree of security. I lived in one house for 18 years, at least 1 parent always lived with me, and I knew that there was a social safety net that would keep anything too terrible from happening to us. I lived in a privileged and majority white world, in which pretty much everyone was in a similar situation. In college, most of the people I met had the above-mentioned things in common with me.IMG_4192

However, many of these girls went to boarding school for the first time in middle school, and the majority of them lived at their high schools. English majors tend to come from a higher income bracket, I’ve found, but these girls still grew up in a world in which living with your parents was no longer a guaranteed norm, in which migrant labor was overwhelmingly present. And there was no social safety net for them. Chinese society is progressing at an astonishing rates, but there are cracks of extreme poverty down which people still fall, cracks which exist in America but don’t go so deep.

No wonder they cling to the people around them. No wonder they long for independence but don’t seek it.

Cultural Differences: Eating the Heat, Eating the Pain

I made my students pizza this weekend, and told them to wait for 5 minutes to eat it. They obeyed, and tried to offer me a slice. “Oh no,” I told them, “I’ll need to wait about another 5 minutes.”

They were confused at this, so I had to explain an odd cultural difference to them: Chinese people can eat hotter things than Americans. What would burn my mouth and make me yelp in pain wouldn’t even register for my students.

The reason for this is the same reason my Indonesian friends could walk on rocky beaches thoughtlessly while I yelped and danced in pain. Indonesian kids, from a young age, run around on dirt and grass barefoot. Chinese kids drink steaming hot water and eat boiling hot noodles just about every day.

I first noticed this phenomenon living in Chengdu. When noodles were delivered to my table in the piping heat of summer, I had to wait at least 20 minutes to start eating. Meanwhile, around me the locals would dig in after no more than a minute.

Hot water is, for Chinese people, what you drink when you feel sick. I once told someone on a train that I was nauseous, and he helpfully went and brought me back water heated to more than 100 degrees. Whenever I go to tea, my Chinese friends throw back their cups within a few seconds of it being delivered to them, while I awkwardly wait for the steam to stop rising. Every floor in my school has a hot water dispenser, which I avoid and the other teachers use constantly. It’s incredible what you can get used to, provided you start young.