Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Six Months (and more lessons learned)

At Giraffe Cafe with William

We've made it to six months! In the beginning, it felt like William would never grow up. I struggled a lot with the newborn stage, but now I can hardly remember those days. Time really passes quickly and it's remarkable how fast babies change. I'm trying to enjoy what's left of the baby stage; before long, William will be a toddler. These days, he is busy learning to roll around and sit up. He's experimenting with lots of different noises, primarily mama, baba, dada—which means he's already well on his way to being bilingual!

I've learned a lot in the past several months. I've learned about the intricacies of my relationship with China, with my husband, and with my mother-in-law. I understand things now that I never fully grasped in all my nine years of living here. I see my own Americanness and perhaps the stubbornness that goes with it. I am working hard on accepting that there is more than one right way to do things. I am also realizes that what works in America doesn't always work in China.

I had a bit of a revelation last week. After months of feeling picked on. After months of feeling like Ming and his mom were watching my every move. After months of assuming I could do nothing right. I finally got it. I have to stop viewing it as My American Way vs. Their Chinese Way. We all have different ways of doing things and personal preferences. It's not about being right or wrong. It seems like the most obvious thing in the world, but I was so wrapped up in being on the defense that I failed to see the situation clearly.

I'd like to go into details about all the silly bickering and beliefs that brought about my change of heart. But I think this time I'd better just let it go. Before long we will be back in the US and the tables will turn. I will be in my comfort zone and surrounded by people who share in most of my daily habits and reinforce many of my cultural beliefs. I need to remember what it's like to be the outsider. Compromise and compassion are really important, in any family, but especially in a cross cultural one.

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