Being a Foreign Dad in China
A foreigner in China is one thing, a foreign dad is a whole new level
Mike’s Blog 159
Happy birthday to my sweet baby girl, Maggie. Just turning 2 years old now. Had the pleasure to share it with my friend Meir – who is also a father of 2. The crazy and amazing part of this is that his daughter has the exact same birthday – but one year younger than Maggie. So awesome.
And being a father in China – well being a father anywhere is a life changer. Being a foreigner in China is something I have talked a lot about in this blog and vlog – but being a foreign father is a whole new level. It is like exponentially more challenging!
This I believe is why I see so many of my friends in China who have kids fairly quickly start to move back to America or their home country.
Why is that?
Sure, we can say pollution. Another is educational system and costs.
But one that I am talking about today is my kids speak more Chinese than me! And they are getting the culture experience in China. I’m outnumbered as the “foreigner” of the family, with their mom, grandfather, most of their teachers, housekeeper, all Chinese and speaking Chinese.
It is scary! But I keep trying to tell myself, this is what I would want if I was their age. To learn Chinese at such a young age is invaluable. I truly believe the next 100 years Chinese will be even more important in global business. And I believe it is much easier to learn English when you are older – compared to learning Chinese when you are older.
So I need to keep reminding myself that. Even when my kids speak to me in Chinese and don’t respond as fast to my English questions. It’s a process.
At the end of the video we brought on Steven – who is a talented videographer and fan of these vlogs. He will be helping out now with the videos and social media marketing – really excited to have him involved. Even more excited that he is interested in the content we are making here he even inspired this vlog topic based on conversations we were having.
The world is a big and complex place. How do you deal with multiple cultures and languages? I think if you have these opportunities it is a great environment for the kids – but for the parents – or at least me it challenging to say the least!
(Written another way)
I sometimes forget I wrote a post and write it again – today I will combine both into 1 post
Challenges of Being An American Dad in China
You know, so many foreigners leave China when they have kids.
I didn’t fully understand it until I became a father myself.
But I am bucking the trend.
I plan to be here long term.
As an entrepreneur, well, let’s back up.
I think I decided not to have a normal life when I quit my job on Wall Street. I remember the shock my family and colleagues at work had when I put in my 4 week notice (ya, I gave a lot of time).
Living in China wasn’t even on the radar at that time, it was part of a natural path of events – from sourcing online, moving to San Diego, taking a trip for trade shows in 2007, it was a process.
And man, I had no idea I’d be sitting here writing up this blog post as my daughter’s 2 year birthday approached.
I’m a content creator, I’d say like my middle name implied – Angelo – I’m a Michael Angelo artist of the modern times. Creating so much content my brain is going to explode.
That allows me to work from home. I get to take the occasional break from writing, podcasting, video blogging, creating books and courses and events to go to the other room to see my kids.
They speak better Chinese already than me.
We go out for dinner, and people look at us in the mall. Always the same comments about mixed babies, foreigners marrying Chinese, etc etc. Its true what my friends said- once you learn enough Chinese it will get annoying to hear what people are talking about in the elevator.
And always they tell me – my kids look more like my wife, they look more Chinese.
Always so annoying. Such racism really – not intentional, but people are still racist in today’s day and age. Color of skin, shape of someone’s eyes – come on people we are in 2018 here!
The school fees are crazy high, and there is only 1 English class a day which doesn’t seem to be too effective. I try to read English books to the kids when I can – but I am seriously outnumbered with the rest of the family and daily environment speaking to them in Chinese.
The kids are smart! They know to speak English to me. They change up words when looking at their grandfather and then to me.