Living with a Chinese Family: The Everyday Life

First Impressions of a Chinese Family

When I arrived in Qingdao, I was first surprised to see how Chinese people take care of themselves. Most of them have quite a healthy life – except regarding smoking cigarettes… but they always take the time to eat, and they sleep a lot and they always seem very calm. I spent two months living with my Chinese family and I only once saw the mum really angry acting like we would be acting if we were in her shoes. They are definitely much more relaxed than I expected before coming here. Maybe it’s only a question of self-control, maybe they just don’t want to show their feelings? Most probably the legendary “saving face concept”. Beyond this most of the Chinese are really kind towards us “foreigners” with us and when we need help, they are always seem to be there.

Bruce - the father of my host family
Bruce – the father of my host family

Outside the Chinese family

One of the things which also surprised me was the respect they have for one another, surprisingly this is reflected on the bus. Even if the bus is crowded, young people always give their seats to the older ones. Furthermore, everybody pays, no question.

View of Qingdao from Fushan mountain.
Beautiful view of Qingdao from Fushan mountain.

Chinese family’s day to day life

Out for dinner :)
Out for dinner with my host family

Chinese have a completely different rhythm of life and this from my Chinese family I live with, has had some positive effects on me. For example, I’m a “night owl/person” I usually always go to sleep very late and I’m always tired in the morning. But here, as said before, people live the early life. My Chinese family in general eat earlier than in our western families, go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier to eat a big breakfast. The good thing is that during the week, I also tend to go earlier to bed because of them and that’s definitely a good thing. I discovered the happiness of taking the time to have breakfast before leaving home, something I never did before because I was always in a hurry. You can also see this different rhythm all around you. Chinese buses (in Qingdao) stop at 9:30 in the evening and streets are pretty empty after that time (which doesn’t stop us from partying or go out when we want to…:).

Why I love my Chinese family experience

Living in a Chinese family is a unique life experience because you have the possibility to see a side you would never see if you were alone in an apartment. You take part in the Chinese “routine” and discover the habits of a Chinese family, thus allowing you to open your mind about a lot of things. As you begin to build your relationship with them, you become more and more understanding, they explain to you why they are doing things like this and that, then ask you why you don’t. You have the opportunity to discover and understand Chinese culture and traditions better than ever and the extraordinary relations you create with these people give you a lot of unique memories, I’m sure I, as well as many others will never forget.

My Chinese host family
My Chinese host family

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