大家一定要試一下以下的波蘭美食 – a must try Polish food

You might pretend you haven’t been waiting for a foodie post, but we know it’s the same lie as if I said I haven’t put on weight 2kg since I’m back home. You just can’t. Good thing is my gentleman husband saidimage(5) ‘Don’t worry, I don’t look below the boob-line anyway’ so I’m not too worried about me looking like a mochi ball on two sticks.

I always argue with Momzilla about the food – for her the best cuisine is of course so-called chinese cuisine. I remember in Thailand she yelled with that Shanghainese manner (if you know an older Shanghainese lady I’m sure you know what I mean) that only chinese food is good, there’s such a diversity and no one can deny it’s healthier than Western food and the only reason why Sing ‘pretends’ to like western food is because he loves me. As for me I’m really open-minded when it goes to food, I don’t mind trying weird stuff just for the sake of ‘I’ve been there, I’ve tried it’, but in the end I think most of us would choose their mom’s cuisine over the most luxurious restaurant.

This is why today I want to share my choice of food that every foreigner visiting Poland should try. I’m sorry it’s not really vegetarian-friendly list but when you come from Land Of Sausage there’s really little choice of traditional non-meaty food. Our choice of cold cuts can please anyone, as long as you like meat. Sausages, hams, everything you want and need – we have it. There’s even a chance that you come to Poland as a vegetarian and leave with your pockets stuffed with Krakowska sausage. But let’s get to our list!

Bigos

I already wrote about it before Christmas, but it’s a dish worth reminding. While making it smells like the deepest corners of hell, but it’s also probably the only dish in the world that more you reheat better it gets.320560_292918550718378_1551490862_n
Typical ingredients include white cabbage, sauerkraut, various cuts of meat and sausages and mushrooms. The meats may include pork (often smoked), ham, bacon, sausage, veal, beef, and, as bigos is considered a hunter’s stew, venison, rabbit, or other game; Leftover cuts find their way into the pot as well that’s why it was the most popular dish after Christmas when grandmothers used all the leftover meat . It may be seasoned with pepper, caraway, juniper berries, bay leaf, marjoram, pimenta, dried or smoked plums, and other ingredients. Bigos is usually served with mashed potatoes or rye bread, depends if you want to eat it in the morning/afternoon (bread) or potatoes (main meal).

FART ALERT. Don’t get me wrong, but if you travel with your partner and decide to try bigos, be prepared for some symphony.

Dumplings

OK, OK – I know that probably every single country in the world has their own variation of dumplings but there are two types of dumplings that you just can’t miss if you’re in Poland.
image(1)First type is called ‘Ruthenian dumplings’ – probably the most popular type, the most tasty and the best known. Filled with fresh white cheese, boiled and minced potatoes and fried onions. I don’t know a person who doesn’t like them – if I know you and it turns out right now that you don’t like them, we’re not friends anymore – it’s like disliking world peace. No, you just can’t ;) !
The second type is really shocking for foreigners, my husband didn’t even dare to try them, he just kept staring at them like I gave him some bird turd instead of food. Sounds awful, but those were… fruit dumplings! Yes, you read it correctly – FRUIT DUMPLINGS. Perfect for summer time, covered in sour cream and little bit of sugar. When I was a child I used to pick blackberries from the forest near my aunt’s place and then we all made dumplings. I don’t have to say that my bucket was always only half full… One berry to the bucket, one to the tummy… One berry to the bucket, one to the tummy… Definitely worth trying!

Flaki

Flaki has been consumed on Polish territory since the 14th century. flaczki_drobiowe_mojej_mamy_popup_watermarkIt was one of favorite dishes of King Władysław II Jagiełło but I don’t think that’s the best choice. It surely is a traditional dish, but if you can’t find a place that will prepare it well you might be traumatized for the rest of your life. Ingredients include beef tripe, beef, bay leaf, parsley, carrot, beef broth, and spices to taste, including salt, black pepper, nutmeg, sweet paprika, and marjoram. Ready-made convenience-type equivalents of the labor-intensive flaczki are available but those are not worth buying. It’s kind of a soup so it’s usually served with bread. I don’t really like it, but it’s my parents’ favorite dish and it’s worth to at least give it a shot.

Żurek

I had a really tough choice to recommend only one soup since there are so many delicious soups,White borscht with eggs and white sausage.Polish easter soup but I think this one is really specific for Poland. This is a soup made of soured rye flour and meat, usually boiled pork sausage or pieces of smoked sausage, bacon or ham. There’s also variant is known as barszcz biały which is made with wheat flour instead of rye. My mom always serves it with a boiled egg sliced in two. It’s usually eaten around Easter, but you can find it everywhere in Poland. If you happen to be in Warsaw go to Zapiecek and try their version – it’s served in a really adorable way, with sausage and two sliced of bread and the price is great too!

Kluski

Now that’s what I like. OK, I like every single item here, but this is my family’s biggestimage(3) secret recipe. And I will share it with you – don’t try to find them in the restaurant, they won’t be as good as the one you made from this recipe. Choice of side dishes is yours, I like boiled sauerkraut with roux, but it can be served with white cheese and pork belly.
Take 6 big potatoes, peel them and grate them. Take away the leftover water until they look like a gray paste. Add an egg, little bit of flour (until the dough is nice and bouncy). Boil water and keep throwing ~4cm long pieces of the dough. Eat as fast as you can so you might be able to eat the leftovers.
Get fat and thank me later.

Bread with lard and sour cucumber

Poland can be really cold so some people like to warm themselves with vodka. And IMG_8002what’s better to vodka than good old bread with lard and sour cucumber. I have to say I was really skeptic about it, until few years ago when my husband and I went to see a concert during the winter time. It was so cold so we decided to eat something small to keep us warm. My husband was so curious about the bread but once we tried it… That’s how heaven looks like. I know the lard part might not be the most attractive, but it’s mixed with pork rind. Add the sour taste from the cucumber and you have the best vodka-starter ever. Four thumbs up and two big bellies from Sing and me.

Kaszanka

I’m a sausage vampire when it goes to this blood sausage. If you have a Polish store near you, 10563129_259787170878414_621342751505386249_nyou can make it yourself, especially since I haven’t really seen this dish in a restaurant. Just take off the skin, slice it into smaller pieces and add it to frying onion. Fry it all together for few minutes and serve with potatoes and of course – sour cucumber. Yes, we love sour cucumbers and we even have a sour cucumber soup. It just all balances like nature. Natural environment on your dish. I like to make up an excuse to make not-healthy dishes ‘super-healthy-pro-eco’. Some people also serve it with sauerkraut but in my family it’s always the cucumber.

Golonka

863042Another heavy Polish dish, but I think guys would love it.It’s really similar to the German dish called eisbein –  pickled ham hock, usually boiled. In parts of Germany it is known as Schweinshaxe, and it is usually grilled but Polish golonka is alternatively grilled on a barbecue. Have I mentioned it’s made with beer as well? I wouldn’t really recommend it for girls, for me it’s too heavy but my husband, my father and the rest of male part of the family loves it.

I don’t know how about you but I think I will go explore my fridge right now.
If I had to write all the dishes you should try you would be like ‘Too long, didn’t read’ but I also recommend to try duck baked with apples, all kinds of venison, borscht, summer strawberries, gołabki and many many many more!

Have you ever tried any Polish dish? Or would you like to try any from my list? I hope my Polish folks can make their own recommendations, too! :)
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幾小時內遊覽到的卡拉科夫 – visiting Kraków for few hours

It’s still less than a week since I’m back home and I’ve been already traveling. Of course ‘in business purposes‘ – to change my visa. First I expected to be there just for few hours until I’m done then take some pictures for My Hong Kong Husband, but it turned out to be a day long trip with my parents!

I don’t know when was the last time the three of use have traveled so besides enjoying the preparations for today’s post I also had great time with The Elderly. Since I didn’t need to rush I took like 100 pictures, I checked out few dining places and now I can present you – Lina’s guide to Kraków for people who have no time and tight budget.
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Maybe I should just call it traveling Sing’s style? My husband is not a great traveler, he wants to see as much as possible, usually having just a day or two in the city. But it’s not only him, some of you might have too much spare time but don’t know what to do or where to go. This is where I, self-called-tour guide, save the day. Or you get lost, cannot find your way back, you lose your ticket and hate me till the rest of your life. Then unfollow me on social media causing my low-self opinion and 10 extra kilograms on a scale. Hopefully, that won’t happen.

Where to go

I recommend you spend at least two days, in the area of Kraków, if possible of course. For the first day visit Wieliczka and its salt mine, in the afternoon come back to Kraków and follow my suggestedimage_5 trial. The next day wake up early and catch a bus to Oświęcim – don’t worry, even without speaking the language the bus driver will stop in a very special place that will be your next destination. I know maybe Oświęcim doesn’t ring a bell, but I bet you’ve heard of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp – it’s such a special and memorable place that makes me think one day is not enough. Not only because Auschwitz and Birkenau are divided and you need to take a shuttle bus between them, but mainly because it shouldn’t be a place you have to rush. Believe me, the atmosphere of that place is still creepy and sad. I’ve been there so many times, yet I still feel touched and interested when I’m there. It’s a great history lesson and a place everyone should visit at least once in their lives, if they have a chance.

If you’re not lucky enough to spend so much time but you want to see all the ‘must see’ in Kraków, I suggest go to the city center and follow The Royal Route – it will pass all the things you should photo to prove you’ve been there. #selfiefriendly

The Royal Route starts from St. Florian’s Church and it’s really close to Grunwald Battle’s Monument, next it leads you to St. Florian’s Gate and Matejko House – FYI: Matejko was a Polish painter known for paintings of notable historical Polish political and military events. Then you go straight to Market Square which is just gorgeous – sit there for a while and enjoy surrounding. After that go to Dominican and Franciscan Churches, then more churches (welcome to the land of Christianity and Pope) – might not sound impressive, but they are really lovely. Finish your trip with few hours in the Royal Castle at Wawel Hill.

It will take only few hours, but will let you see the most of what you should see. I don’t want to make too many spoilers of your ‘OMG-KRAKÓW-impression‘, but let me just seduce you a bit with the pictures of the Royal Route I made. And believe me – it’s not everything! To make it little bit less obvious I put the pictures in random order and I don’t write the names. If you happen to be in Kraków you can tell me your guess!image image_4(3)image_6image_6(2)image_5(1)image_4(2)image_4(1)image_3image_3(3)image_3(1)image_2(3)image_2(2)image_2(1)image_1image_1(1)

I present you, shaman of the Elderly - my Mommy!

I present you, shaman of the Elderly – my Mommy!

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What to eat

Now that’s what I’m talking about. But I need to warn you – first time in Poland might be little bit of a shock for you because the last meal of the day is not what we call ‘dinner’ – dinner as the main meal of the day is called ‘obiad‘ and it’s the second main meal of the day. It’s almost every single time served warm so some of my friends had problems and asked me ‘When is the dinner?’ when the dinner time was over for few hours already. So with that knowledge I picked two types of food you must try in Kraków and one small restaurant.

Obwarzanek – is very similar to a bagel, but somewhat bigger and has a wider hole. The first documentation of the obwarzanek dates to a mention in a summary of the Polish court from the year 1394. An application to the EU for recognition as a regional food specialty notes that obwarzanek “should be between 12 and 17 centimeters in diameter, weigh 80 to 120 grams and its color should range from golden to light brown”. Yes, it is recognized and protected by EU. It comes with sesame, poppyseed, salt, plain and it’s eaten just the way it is. Because it’s beautiful and tasty. And huge.
Also it’s shouldn’t be hard – if it’s hard it’s probably more than a day old. Unless you’re 80 years old or Sing – then it doesn’t matter because it will always be too hard and you will still complain how it hurts your gums.image_1(3)image(3)image_4

Zapiekanka – is a Polish  bread grilled with portobello mushrooms and cheese (the very basic version), sometimes also with ham or other types of meat, or veggies like pepper or corn. Ketchup is a typical condiment, but now they will ask you if you want a garlic sauce or mayonnaise. The zapiekanka is a common Polish street food that is believed to have been invented in the 1970s Communist Poland. Probably the only good communist memory of my parents and my diet’s arch-enemy. The best one in Kraków are served in Kazimierz – they even have their own Facebook page (click here).
zapiekanki
My choice of restaurant: Szalone Widelce – to be honest that wasn’t my first choice. In the past I had great experience with Warsaw’s Zapiecek so I thought the one in Kraków will be good too. I was so disappointed – it looked like a milk bar rather than old Polish cottage, the waitress didn’t have their super cute outfit and it was terribly hot inside. There was no way we will eat there. Walking around the Elderly found a place that literally means Crazy Forks – we got seduced by their lunch menu: 17,90 PLN for a set of a soup and a main course, plus a drink called kompot. Kompot  is a non-alcoholic clear juice obtained by cooking fruit in a large volume of water, often it’s made too sweet but this one was perfect. We also got a free appetizer: 3 slices of fresh bread and their own pate, it was simply delicious. All three of us picked kwaśnica – a super sour soup made from sourkraut, served with potato and for a main course we ate, maybe not the most traditional but surely most typical, fried pork chop served with fried roux cabbage and potatoes. If you ask a Polish person what is a typical Sunday meal in his or her family the person will respond with chicken soup, dumplings or pork chop. I can bet. The atmosphere was nice, it wasn’t too crowded, we had a choice of sitting in the patio or down in the basement.
The taste, the atmosphere, the portion size and the price makes this restaurant one of my favorite in Kraków and give it 5 out of 5 noms!
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Where to buy souvenirs

You can buy them pretty much everywhere but if you’re stuck in the city center area, if I were you, I would avoid all the souvenir shops around the train station or shopping malls. There are plenty of places in the Market Square, from what I’ve seen the cheapest souvenirs like magnets or figures could be bought in Sukiennice, right in the middle of the Market Square. They have cups, Slavic-themed clothes and a lot of jewelry made from amber, but if you’re not really an expert I would avoid buying those: the amber might be fake and personally I wouldn’t know the difference. For our family the Elderly and I bought 8 magnets and two wooden horseshoes – they are believed to bring a good luck – that was 60 PLN total (~20USD). Seems quite pricey but you should see those magnets. And don’t be surprised seeing a lot of pictures or magnets with an image of a Jew, it’s not only the history of Jews in the city of Kraków that made them part of a local culture, but the fact that it is believed that having a picture of a Jew hanging in your house will bring you money. Stereo *ekhm* types. My mom believes in all those things, she bought 4 pictures and the very next day found 10 PLN… you should see how eager she was to get another picture in Kraków! As for me… well, it’s not the most comfortable feeling when you go to the toilet at night and 4 guys keep staring at you. I hope non of my Jew-friends feels bad about it – if you do, please tell me!
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What to remember

  • Auschwitz-Birkenau CC closes at different hours, depending on a time of the year. You can ask for a free audio-guidebook, but if you understand English it should be enough. It’s better to eat something before going inside the museum because it would be seen as disrespectful if you eat inside. If you’re diabetic or have any other condition that makes you eat more often ask people around to show you areas you can eat
  • As I mentioned before – if you pay by card avoid paying in PLN, your bank will rip you off
  • Obwarzanek shouldn’t cost you more than 2PLN so watch out for someone who tries to trick you
  • At the bottom of Wawel Hill you will find our local-stars avenue. Might not be as impressive as the one in Los Angeles or Hong Kong, but it’s surely worth seeing.
  • If you’re seeing the avenue of the stars check out the Wawel Dragon – it even breathes fire, now for free. In the past you had to send a text message to see it so cheap people like me had to count on other, less cheap people. Now I can be cheap and satisfied, so can you.
  • If you plan to use public transportation remember to get a ticket. There are lots of ticket controllers and they even speak English! No way to avoid. Trust me, few people I know tried it. I like ticket controllers in Wrocław more, whenever they see Sing with me they don’t even approach us
  • Lunch time at Szalone Widelce lasts until 5PM!

I think that’s the best I can suggest for you. I would appreciate if my fellow Kraków-based Readers or other travelers made their own suggestions! :)

Have you ever been to Kraków? Or have you considered it as your destination? If not – I hope you do now!
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波蘭的基本旅游攻略 – basic traveling informations about Poland

My first ever post from Poland, wow! Finally after 32h long trip I made it home. I still suffer from jet lag lotnisko20_smalland food coma (thank you Mom and Dad for leaving all the sweets in my bedroom, you’re da real MVP) so I didn’t have much chance to go out, but I already want to write my Polish-series soooooo badly!

I want to start with some basic informations you need while traveling to Poland. It’s based mostly on Wroclaw, my hometown, but should apply to most of the big cities. It’s my personal choice that might make your life easier!

Paying by your credit card

It’s not really a big problem, some places still might want you to spend a minimum of X PLN before you use a credit card, but what’s an issue in my opinion is the currency they charge. Sing and few people I know had that problem – your local bank will probably give you the best exchange rate, just like ours, and choosing PLN is quite pointless but people will automatically pick PLN for you before they hand you a credit card terminal make sure that they pick your local currency.

Forget about using a subwaywroclaw_tramwaje_dzienne_2000

Unless you visit Warsaw, but don’t think it’s impressive. With 1 subway line in one single city we cannot call our country ‘the most public-transport-riders-friendly‘, but when it goes to buses and trams they will take you everywhere. Especially in Wroclaw it’s really easy to get practically everywhere in max. 2 hours even if you live really far away. And for most of the city’s attractions you can simply WALK. Now that’s convenient.

Discounts

Most of places have their individual discount rules, but public transport is quite generous, especially to students – including international students. Just be sure to make/take an ISIC – International Student Identification 4ce669965f39a_k2Card. It will not only let you get a cheaper transportation but if you go to http://www.isic.org/benefits/ you can find really good deals all around the world. Pretty useful while traveling in general.

If you stay in Poland for longer I would suggest you get a ticket-card. Comparing to Hong Kong’s Octopus or SF Bay Area’s Clipper you don’t use it as a second wallet and pay for every ride. You charge it in a machine and keep it in your wallet until you’re asked about the ticket. From my small experience the same thing is in Copenhagen – unless someone doesn’t ask you, you don’t need to do anything with your valid ticket. Also when it goes to a card in Wroclaw you can connect it to your bank account for free! The only trick is your bank account should be in WBK which I personally hate (not to mention their horrible exchange rate!). For more information click here to get to URBAN CARD official page.

Plugs and voltage

spread-of-plugs-around-the-worldIf you are a traveler from Europe/Russia you shouldn’t be worried about getting the adapter, but it’s always good to check the chart below, I also give you a spread of plugs around the world – as for Poland:

  • Voltage: 230 V
  • Frequency: 50 Hz
  • Power sockets: type E

Don’t worry if you forget to bring it with you – big shopping malls for sure have places like Euro RTV AGD, MediaMarkt or Saturn where you can buy an adapter for few PLN.

Outlets_All_Type_WA,w900_v

Mobile Network Operators

This one is totally subjective, but in my opinion very important. If you have different opinion, please feel free to share. As all of us know nowadays mobile Internet is extremely important. You might get lost, you starter-internet-3g-play-orange-t-mobile-era-iplus-2-3506374939might need to check something, you might need to post your lunch on Instagram. In America I can recommend you 30USD/month T-Mobile plan that gives you unlimited Internet access (up to 5GB of LTE speed) and 100 minutes to talk. I use up all 5 GB and maximum of 10 minutes, only if Sing uses it. So if you are an Internet addict I cannot recommend you a better offer. But it’s Poland’s month so let’s move on!

I never used a mobile Internet on my phone but now since I have very little time and I still want to stay in touch with you guys (and remind Sing to clean the litter box, even when there’s no WIFI around), I decided to get myself a starter. I cannot say a thing about Plus’ offer, but from three main mobile carriers – T-Mobile, Play and Orange – I can say the best choice is Play.

I had high expectations of T-Mobile since it gives me a great plan back in the US, even their site mentioned up to 6GB for 30PLN, but a guy said it’s just a commercial and from start we can get 500MB. Is there anyone who can confirm this? Because I don’t know if that guy was just too lazy to do any business or they really suck. PLAY-starter-19

Orange didn’t really have a good offer too, but this year just like in previous one, they made a promotion – 6GB for 6 PLN that can be used in 60 days. You could even activate it on the very last day of summer (promotion starts from 8.07 till 31.08). So check it out if you’re traveling next summer – remember it can only be used if you’re having one of the following plans: Orange Yes, Orange One, Orange POP or Nowe Orange Go.

I chose Play Online Na Karte – you get 2GB for 19PLN that can be used in 14 days, then you get extra data for charging your phone account (you can check how much the data costs here – click) or you can ask for a FREE starter with 300MB of 4G/LTE data for testing and just ask them to charge your account right away. That’s the way I got my 3.3GB to use for a month! And it’s available everyday. If I have to recommend I would pick Play’s offer, but as I said before – it’s my very subjective choice.

When to come

I love how beautiful my country is during every time of the year, especially the Christmas Market that 6670786_cztery-pory-rokudworek-jana-matejkitakes place every December in the city center, but winter time can be extremely cold (even -15/20C!) so traveling, even with lots of snow, might not be a good idea. Imagine your train getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with no heating… it’s more common in Poland than you might think. One politician who is in charge of the train system said literally ‘Sorry, taki mamy klimat’ – ‘Sorry, that’s the climate we have’, but saying ‘sorry’ instead of ‘przepraszam’ is really impolite. It’s now like a meme in Poland.

I personally would just pick any time I don’t come – I always bring a bad weather, but my favorite time is Spring and Autumn – both are not too hot, not too cold but the views are amazing. Everything is blossoming or you’re drowning in golden leaves. It’s simply amazing, little bit like those Windows XP wallpapers. I know most of us cannot control our days off from work, but if you have a choice I’m strongly recommending you May or September.
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Is there anything important anyone traveling to Poland should know? Or if you’re Polish yourself, maybe you can add some of your own experience into this. Make your suggestions! I also want to know what is the most bothersome for you when you travel!

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他的波蘭妻子 – his Polish wife

Can’t believe that while I’m writing this post it’s the last day I’m spending alone with Momzilla. Finally you don’t need to read about her, until next year. Hopefully she won’t think we are lonely during Christmas and she should come back. That wouldn’t be the Pl1gift I want to find under my Christmas tree.

I’m also so sorry for no new interesting post this week since I’m so busy with all the packing, preparing documents, booking tickets for transportation, buying souvenirs for 30 closest people in my family and my friends. Being ‘American auntie‘ gives me a lot of pressure.
Of course like it wasn’t difficult enough my husband and my cat realized that I will be gone soon and got pretty depressed. Biscuit now joined her forces with Hairless Food Dispenser and they do ‘Occupy Luggage’ protest. It’s kinda cute unless you need to take them out from there. Also imagine how often I have to clean my dark clothes from cat’s hair.
I even thought after reading one of the Grace’s comics (‘Doing laundry everyday is stupid’ – click) that her husband and my Momzilla bribed Biscuit to force me to do the laundry everyday. But it won’t work for me. People  merely adopted the fur. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see a furless cloth until I was already a woman. So I just keep running 10600589_275524205971377_3093594765410337715_nwith sticky tape and yelling at them to get out until I do the very last laundry.
Now I pray I packed everything, although I can bet that in the middle of our ride to the airport I will be like ‘Oh God, I forgot this and that. It’s super important!‘. And I can bet it will be a pajama. I always leave it behind.

Anyway, I started talking about something completely different.
With losing ‘Momzilla series’ I’m happy to announce a new series starting next week – My Hong Kong husband will change into His Polish Wife!

I often feel that in my AMWF blog I write a lot about my husband, his culture or Asian stuff much more than I write about my background, food or traditions. But it’s two people who make a relationship and now it’s my time to shine!

My blog is read not only by girls who are interested in Asian guys but also Asian guys who are pl2attracted by Western girl. I think every girl will agree that a guy interested in their culture will score some extra points and I will provide you some first hand information! There will be also something to read for foodies, for people who love traveling or simple you want to know me better.

I want to show you my beautiful hometown, cities I will visit when I see my family or go traveling, I will share my favorite food and recipes, upload some videos to my YouTube channel. In those moments I regret that I’m too cheap to buy GoPro, so you will have to watch my phone-quality movies. There will be also Polish-themed giveaway! Who doesn’t like giveaways?!

As you might already noticed I usually write a new post once a week. You can run out of pl3inspirations living in a town I live now so I have to plan posts ahead. Not anymore!
Polish month will be extremely intense, maybe even few new entries a week! I will be there for only a month, but there’s 53875683538538783013024014 things I wish to show you and I want to do as many things as possible. It’s really important for me to make you more familiar with Polish culture.

I wonder: what do you know about Poland? Do you know Polish people besides me? Have you ever been to Poland.
I also wish you could tell me in comments below what topics about Poland you wish me to cover.

Thank you for any suggestions and all the support I get from you. I cannot wait for His Polish Wife series and if you want please follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube so I won’t miss any of the upcoming updates. And there will be lots of them!
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三個月的總結 – 3 months summary

Wow, I can’t believe it – it feels like last week I complained about Momzilla coming to stay with us and now, in less than a few days I image (45)will be on my way to San Francisco International Airport departing to Poland and let Sing deal with all the complaints she will have in last 10 days of her stay. She needs to complain in advance as her daily habit, if she doesn’t then some poor guy sharing a seat with her in the airplane will have to listen to her. But I don’t care, I suffered enough and because I’m free at last! Almost.

It sounds like I was happy to go back. Of course I am, I haven’t seen my family and friends since March 2013. Not to mention I’m craving for some good Polish food. I will stuff myself like pig, I’m telling you. Am I sad that she will be gone? You might be surprised, but actually I will be a little. She can be annoying but unless Sing’s not home she’s quite fun to live with. Unless you think about all the hand-washing and everyday swiping-whole-neighborhood ritual – then it sucks. Try running with a broomstick around your area in the morning, when you’re half asleep.

Anyway, I guess it’s a right time to share our conclusions, thoughts and lessons we have learnt over past few months. And this time every single one of us, including Momzilla herself (you don’t experience that everyday!) with a guest experience of Biscuit, the smelly cat. Yes, as a crazy cat lady I speak cat. I gathered quotes from our discussion from last few days and I’m happy to share them with us!

Me

  • As I mentioned few posts ago I discovered more human and fun side of my mother in law. She had fun on playground, swinging and sliding. She said she’s happy which she never said to me before. There were many small situations that made me feel closer to her.
  • Despite everything I admire her how she can do so many things on her own. She spoke no English, yet she managed to pass visa interview and through the border with a stamp valid for 6 months. Last weeks I’ve been teaching her English and she’s making progress. Even when we’re done I see she used a translator and tries to study on her own. She’s very determined, not like most people in her age I knew before.image (48)
  • I don’t like to admit it but she’s a great cook – with leftovers I could only do fried rice but she can make a 3 dish meal from the same ingredients. In Hong Kong I thought ‘Of course, she’s on her territory, she knows what and where to buy. Try cooking abroad’. And I just cannot lie to you: I love it when she cooks, I hardly eat what I cook for husband (he is blindly in love with me therefore his taste buds have disappeared) but when she cooks I do a chopstick-fight for last piece of meat. But my tomato egg is tastier so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
  • She loves my husband more than I thought. There’s no love like parent’s love but she is very dedicated to him, not only in a spoiling kind of way, but when we had some leftovers she won’t eat them for her lunch if she knows he likes them. She will keep them and heat them up later for him.
  • Sing is a spoiled and he likes it. Sadly, but he really is – I’ve noticed he loves the competition between his mom and me. We both want to say ‘You do it better’ in case of cleaning or cooking so in the end he gets all the benefits.
  • Sometimes it’s just better to shut up. I wanted to burst out few times, but I just count to 10, ate my chocolate and let things go. She is too old to change, Sing is too spoiled to change so I just try to follow his philosophy ‘If you can’t change it or do anything about it, just ignore it’. That’s why they argue and I just sit there, enjoy my TV show and pretend they are not in the room.
  • I also learnt the most important thing: even after a huge fight, Momzilla won’t go and talk crap about me, she complains that’s a fact, but instead of making things worse she will try to make us come back to each other. One night we had a huge fight, like one of those where we go out the doors and leave the house, she kept talking to Sing to show what I tried to say (from a woman’s point of view) and asked him to come back home. She didn’t take his side, neither mine. She just tried us to make things right between us. I feel really touched when I think of that day. She is not against me, she is pro-us. She earned my greatest respect because I think a lot of mothers would take their child’s side.

Sing (quotes)

  • Seeing how you (that’s me, the good wife) how you take care of my mom showed me how bad son I am. I always believed in what she said, that it’s her to serve me and take care of me, that nodding my head means more than ‘Thank you’. I try to say ‘Sorry’ more often to her instead of letting things go.
  • I learnt that patience has it’s limits. Once your wife tolerates mother in law there is no chance for husband to do something that’s annoying or he will be dead. I felt like you were about to kill me. Quite often.
  • There is no way in the world I will live again in limited amount of space with the two of you. I made that mistake once and next time we are together I will be sure our bedrooms will be at least 2m away from each other.
  • If anyone makes the same mistake as me I would recommend to update your AV collection because it’s gonna be long 3 months. And believe me – your mother in law will know when you try to approach your wife. Cannot even cuddle because she will know image (46)and she will magically appear in the room. Always. Some kind of radar or something?
  • Even if you’re the only son and a Little Treasure you have no chance against the Uterus Union your mother and wife will have. Did I mention you both always talk at the same time? It’s better to give up, for your own sake. No man has ever won over woman.
  • If you ask me did I learn anything new about my mom? Besides the fact she actually really likes you – no. I know her so well, we always been close so there’s no surprise for me. But it improved my relationship with you, if you survived her and still are married to me, we will probably end up getting old and dying together (Charmer talking about the death again… and you don’t know if I come back from Poland, muahaha).

Momzilla (quotes)

  • Lina is a good wife, maybe doesn’t cook as well as me and you might get kidney problems (From Momzillian to English: that’s Momzillian idiom that I use too much soy sauce when Sing complains I hardly use it), but you won’t starve.
  • I still don’t like fur and everything but I regret not getting you (not getting for her Little Treasure) an animal, when you were young. Cats are so cute. Giant MiMi (no wonder when she feeds her for every meow) makes good companion. Maybe I should get one when I go back? (Can someone call like ASPCA or something?)
  • Young people are too naive trusting washing machines (insert a death stare at me). It might smell nice but it’s never clean enough.
  • Video games are not waste of time. Before you played your games, your sister played hers. Now our family plays together. So fun!

Biscuit (translated from cat, I hope nothing got lost in the translation)

  • You shall not trust Outside Humans. Outside Human dressed in a red cape will try to take you away. I shall sing the song of my people until Mommy or Hairless Food Dispenser comes to rescue me. Meow Meow Meow.
  • Despite being incredibly dangerous, Outside Human in the red cape seems to show appreciation for my singing. If I sing long enough, noms of gratitude will appear in food dish.
  • Outside Human will protect Mommy from being violated by Hairless Food Dispenser. If Mommy is crushed by him I will sing until Outside Human shows up to save her. Outside Human seems to be kind for it’s own kind.

In the end, despite weird complaints, obsession about cleaning and terrorizing love of my life a.k.a. Biscuit, she is quite fun to be with. image (47)Our place felt more alive, I wouldn’t want to live like that but I wish our families live closer, see each other once a week, maybe a month. I would get crazy living a traditional Chinese family model, but being together as a family, doing simple things like playing cards or video games, is really pleasurable. And I cannot deny, even if he doesn’t want to admit it, he is happy to be close to her. O also hope you enjoyed my Momzilla-series.

See you next year, Momzilla.
But for now I will enjoy my freedom, muhahaha.

How is your relationship in the family? Do you think you could stand your in-laws for 3 months? Would it make all of you closer or further to each other? Share your opinions, stories and funny anecdotes :)
Lina has no master. Lina is a free wife, and Lina has come to eat all the snacks and meet friends! :)
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至死不渝 – till death do us part

Or Momzilla. But no, no - it won’t be a post about her. Maybe a little bit. I usually joke around or try to laugh about things around me… not today. Why so serious, all of a sudden? image

Let me tell you this. As a wife of industrial engineer I start to see the world in his way. And interracial, intercultural and international relationships are little bit like industrial engineering- you need to find the easiest and most efficient way to make that relationship work. Therefore you plan your future – you ask yourself questions like ‘Where are we going to live?’, ‘Where should we spend next holidays?’ or ‘Whose parents we should visit this time’. I think I can say it’s bit more difficult for long distance couples to make plans for future.

Since we already got rid of problems like ‘What will happen to our relationship, can we make this thing work?’, we slowly settle our next few years: new house, my 9484_0c56comeback to school, maybe even a baby in 2-3 years (no, Momzilla, not 2-3 children). But Sing being Sing cannot make it normal. His future plans are far beyond that point when we might have a child. He already wonders what happens when I die. He told me he thought of it since we started to date (why didn’t I run away?)…
Gee, thanks Honey. That’s… creepy.

The very first time we talked about it was after watching Disney-Pixar’s ‘UP’. If you haven’t seen it, it starts with 8 minutes of love story between Carl and Ellie that ends up with her sickness and death. She was still alive when my brave and emotionally stable at-that-time-boyfriend cried in my arms that he doesn’t want me to die. Even until today anything connected to that 8 minutes, including soundtrack is forbidden unless I want to make him cry and I’m pretty sure since I put a graphic from UP he won’t even read this post. Just imagine your face when Mufasa died and make it 10 times more painful. I even asked him:

- Babe, why do you do that? 
- To make my pain smaller once you or anyone else around me dies.
- So in your mind you didn’t kill only me but also the rest of our families?
- No, not my sister. She’s lucky, she will live longer than anyone.

I know what you think ‘Why?’ and ‘You still can just stay in Europe, hidden away’. Don’t worry, I sometimes felt my husband is creepy, you’re not alone. But then few things happen in our lives including my surgery, few months ago we had a car accident that involved 5 cars (lucky for us it was just a hit from the back in the traffic jam) and a shooting in front of our house not longer image 2than 2-3 weeks ago. The three of us hid in the bathroom, the safest place, and I cried down on the floor that I don’t want to be here and I hate this place.

Those small things made me realize the thing that I tried to deny and joke about, my husband’s fears are not that stupid. Death can come suddenly. I remember when I felt the hit from the other car first thing I did, I looked at Sing if he’s fine. I didn’t know where the hit came from since I was playing with my phone and at that moment I was scared something can happen to him. Everyday he makes total of 50 miles to work and to come back home. When my dad had heart attack my mom was lucky to make it for the earlier bus, if she came with the regular one my dad might not be here today. Coincidence or fate, I don’t know, but I know it can happen to anyone, anytime.

And here we are with our intercultural, interracial and international, far from hometowns marriage problem. If something like that happens, what’s next? Right after marriage my parents moved to South part of Poland, leaving their families 300 km away up North. Today I can see how much trouble for them is to visit the family or go to family’s graves. I remember there was even a period when they couldn’t go back for a couple of years. If 300 km can cause so much trouble, what about us? Polish-Hong Kong couple living in the US. There are many questions we asked each other, what we tried to discuss them. Have you wondered about those:

  • If we don’t have a child, will our families keep in touch?image 3
  • If we have one – how will the contact look like? 
  • Where will be the person buried? My parents want me to be with them in Poland. Sing wants to be buried with me that would mean his parents would need to come all the way to Poland to be with him.
  • If it’s Sing the one to die, can I agree to let his parents take him back to Hong Kong? And if I die, should I join him, as his last will, despite that my dad should not fly for so many hours?
  • Is it fair to expect Sing’s parents to be the one flying since they have more money, more time and less heart disease in the family?
  • If they decide to leave Sing with me, how can he be buried as non-Christian in a Christian cemetery? 
  • If both of us are dead, but we have a child, which family gets the custody? 

I try to see life as it is today and not to worry about tomorrow, but I feel it’s a good thing to settle those matters as early as we can reach consensus. We will be dead, but there will be people in grief after us. I don’t want to give any of my loved ones any more trouble or pain. I also don’t want our families to separate no matter what the future brings. I think that what scares me the most…

Are we the only one thinking about such things instead of ‘carpe diem’? Any advice you would have for us? I’m really curious about your take on this topic. And, oh God, we are pretty weird couple, but hey, that’s just life :)
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寵壞的孩子 – spoiling your son

As you might have noticed Momzilla has been my inspiration for past few weeks. image (42)She’s an endless source of  anecdotes, funny situations or frustration. She could have a book written about her, later a movie based on the book and children would play with tiny Momzilla-action figures. She’s a silent contributor to My Hong Kong Husband. Same today – unaware how big impact she has.

In my country we say that no one can spoil you as much as grandparents. Momzilla goes one step further with her life-long motto ‘Don’t raise your son for a husband to another girl, let her deal with it’. That’s how I’m married to a 12 year old trapped in a body of 28 years old man.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband even with all his weird and often childish behavior, but I’m pretty sure Momzilla deep inside denies that his actually a grown up man and still spoils him. Sing is not spoiled, but he is being spoiled. image (40)Quite confusing, isn’t it? She luckily didn’t have much impact on him with all the spoiling she does to him, but it doesn’t mean there was a day she stopped trying.

But what can I know, since I’m not a mother? Maybe one day I will be a crazy Momzilla myself. Because of that, with Momzilla’s experience, we a  made a short guide for girls who might one day be mothers-in-law themselves:  how to raise and keep happy son and make sure he will drive his future wife crazy. Might be useful for guys as well.

  • Don’t teach him any housework. His significant other will be happy to do all the things for him. She should be thankful she can clean dishes that touched Little Treasure’s mouth.
  • If the son learns a bad habit of doing house chores from his friends be sure to show him completely opposite way of doing them. In future, the wife will be so upset with his performance she will do the chores for him.
  • One and only time ask him to buy veggies down the street. Later when he grows up he will use it as an argument ‘I don’t behave like a 10 year old, I had chores!’. a89d6195f8d42f4be949f6c8cd5c8924
  • Your recipes should stay secret. Share them with your daughter in law, but make sure you hide one important ingredient so the food she makes for him will have all the nutrition but will never be as good as yours and you won’t need to worry that your son will break your heart saying ‘It’s even better than my mom’s!’. Profit.
  • Whenever you come to see him, buy him expensive clothes that can only be washed by hands. Lots of them. That will not only prove your love towards your Little Treasure, but will also make him used to higher life standard so he will spend more money on himself. But wait, there’s more! Person who will do the laundry will be your daughter in law, now busy with all the things she has to clean by hands she won’t interfere with your private mother-son time.
  • Overreact whenever there’s a tiny boo boo. Doesn’t matter if he hit a corner with his toe or broke all of his bones. Always overreact, once his alone with his wife he will think she doesn’t care much. Plus it will make him look really annoying in DIL’s eyes. Remember to leave a list of impossible to find Chinese medicines and enjoy your time alone with Little Treasure when DIL is running around the city trying to find it. Then complain about buses’ fares. Double profit.
  • Don’t celebrate anything. Everyday since a birth of Little Treasure is a celebration therefore there’s no need to make any other day more special than the other. Little Treasure Pass that philosophy to Little Treasure and watch disappointed face of his significant other when she hears about it. image (41)
  • Tell him he’s a Little Treasure everyday. Little treasure is the biggest treasure other woman can have so teaching him about the gifts is unnecessary. Future daughter in law should be happy to get anything more than him, since he is already a dream come true and ultimate goal of love life. If your boy disobeys and insist on a gift for his love interest be sure that the gift is to benefit him, not her. Two cooking books in a row should be good enough. Your little prince will be always full and happy.
  • Make him dislike chocolate and other desserts. Let him fall in love with onion and garlic. Besides the variety of the fragrance his future girl won’t be able to enjoy any afternoon tea with him seeing his upset-about-chocolate face.
  • If you made a mistake in your life and your Little Treasure didn’t follow your rules, for example he tries to help at home, run after him and takeover his task. Use force if needed. In the last stadium of ‘Good Husband’ disease you might also need to raise your voice, but sometimes you need to be brutal to the one you love. If he helps in your presence, God knows what he does when you’re not there.

image (39)You might wonder how I manage to stay sane. Don’t worry, Sing helps me a lot, after all the things that happened to me and us I’ve reached Zen or Nirvana or whatever calm state of mind someone can have. I’m like a lotus flower on a calm water. I’m like a train full of meditating monks. I also eat Sing’s part of the desserts so I’ve got that going for me.

Can you think of any other advice for future mothers-in-law? ;) Have you been spoiled as a child? Or maybe someone you know? Share your stories and opinions! :)
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心理月經 – period brain or a story about complaints

During last 7 weeks of Momzilla’s staying here we both improved our relationship. image (37)We talk more. Or I should say we do everyday charades to communicate. Language barrier between us gets smaller and we are able to get rid of that awkward silence.
I can even say that we feel quite comfortable in each other’s presence. So why I still call her ‘Momzilla’?

Well, since I can understand more of what she’s saying I can understand that 90% of what she’s saying are some kind of complaints. Smaller or bigger, but there’s no day without complaining. Most of the time, just like my husband, we pretend to listen, nod our heads, do the ‘hmmm’ sound and let her talk, talk, talk. That’s how she was, how she is today and probably after her death she will haunt Sing and me just to complain how afterlife sucks and that we’re not burning her tasty paper-food. I’m used to it, but my life was easier when I had no clue what she’s complaining about.

I’m a patient person, I have a love-needy husband, always-not-satisfied father and forever-hungry cat, trust me – I know what patience it. I also know she’s pretty lonely so I try not to get bothered by her and just let her say things out, but there’s a time of the month NONE of us can handle the tension in the house. That’s where we come to the ‘period brain’.

You may ask me: what is ‘period brain’. According to the Urban Dictionary ‘When bitches be going crazy due to their menstrual cycle. Periodbrain may cause: irrational thoughts, spontaneous crying, extreme anger, random freak-outs, freak-outs over boys, the creation of unrealistic scenarios and just pure bitchiness‘. Sadly, I have to agree, I have it too. Last week I called my husband a ‘butt hole’ and literally cried to him that he doesn’t love me anymore because he didn’t want to buy Snowy Moon Cakes from Hong Kong. Now when I think of it 35USD plus tax for few moon cakes is pretty expensive but at that time I was affected by my period-brain and just wanted that pack. To be honest I still want it but I’m not bitching around about it anymore. To be fair, how a girl cannot burst when a guy says ‘I know you feel bad’… You know nothing Jon Snow! You don’t even get a joke because you don’t watch ‘Game of Thrones’.
Now you know why I laugh when people tell him that he is the lucky one to have me…

2013-08-24-20-06-44I can bet some of you are like ‘Lina, but why you say both of you have the period brains, when your mother in law is in the age she probably doesn’t even remember how it is?’. The answer is simple: I’m having a period that means she doesn’t have a grandchild. Well, to be honest I don’t know how on earth we should even proceed to conceiving one when she’s sleeping behind a room divider and feeds my husband with onion and garlic for every meal. If I get pregnant then I would suggest you look up in the sky, because last time something like that happened we had a new era coming.

So with all the pain of not having a grandchild she has a week long complaint festival and longer it lasts, the complaints get more ridiculous. All until I’m ready again to become an incubator of her dreams. Because of the above I spent last few weeks writing down what she’s saying and made my list of most annoying, bizarre or silly complaints Momzilla made since she’s here. Enjoy!

  • Do you want to make a grandchild? Doesn’t have to be a grandson (in the rhythm of ‘Do you want to build a snowman’ from Frozen). She will approach me while I try to eat just to show me videos of ladies during their labor and when I ask Sing to tell her it kinda kills my appetite and she will start nagging that we’re getting old and sooner I have a child sooner he can get more tax deduction. You read it right.
  • No washing machine can gain my trust. Only hand washing can make your clothes clean. Well, I can walk in my dirty washing machine-made laundry. But I don’t blame her, my husband’s grandma first washes things in hands then puts them to the washing machine.image (36)
  • Bus fare is too damn high! Let’s just walk that 24 km to Sing’s work. We will save 10 dollars and waste 5 hours of our lives. Totally worth it. Don’t mind you can die on the way there. The only fair price is the same amount she pays in Shanghai – 2 RMB which is 32 cents. Don’t be fooled, buses in Hong Kong are quite expensive too!
  • Chinese babies are not pretty. Where do you have your eyes, woman? The only beautiful Asian child is Sing, not even his sister, only him himself. Beautiful, smart, dream of every girl. She gets really upset when she is told that our child might look more Asian than white. It will have only half of the God’s genes so it at least should be blond with bright eyes and chubby cheeks which is the only acceptable ‘cute baby look’.
  • That pork bone has no meat. She would stand LITERALLY for 10 minutes in front of a meat stand in our local Chinese mall and complaint to us and the guy who works there how American malls give no meat on the bones, how bad the soup will be and how big portions are back in Asia. Later she will sit in the back of our car and keep talking about that pork bone. Every single time she will eat the soup made out of those bones she will also complain about the very same thing. It gives around 1h total of complaining about stupid bones. To make it more funny she doesn’t like meat at all.
  • I want to eat Western food but not that. Italian? No, too cheesy and looks like mud. Polish? Too meaty. Czech? Too heavy. Greek? Too raw. And who eats lamb? American? Too much sodium, but burger from In-N-Out is acceptable when starving. French? Is garlic bread french? Nah, let’s eat Asian food. You waste an hour of your life to find what she wants to eat and that’s even before entering the restaurant. You can only imagine how much it takes once she gets the menu.
  • Why people look at me like that when I approach their children? With her granny-needs she approached random
    Luckily, young me matches her standards and gives a hope for a blond grandbaby

    Luckily, young me matches her standards and gives a hope for a blond grandbaby

    people on the street, in shops or in IKEA, stares at their babies for a while and wants to play with them. She doesn’t even have a feeling she should first ask if she can, later she complaints why people look at her like she was a weirdo. Somehow she cannot understand ‘You cannot touch babies without a permission’ – not in English, Shanghainese neither Cantonese. But she will complain it’s not as nice as in Asia (where she doesn’t look at babies – go back to complaint #4)

  • Why do you tip so much? No, Sing doesn’t tip anyone like he was at least 李嘉誠. But Momzilla is used to 10% that is already charged in most of the places she eats in Hong Kong. If it’s not a fancy place she will complain for every tip that is over 10%. Her shanghainese brain has calculator inside, when it goes to counting spending or prices she’s faster than any computer made by a human. If you’re not fast enough to hide the receipt, be prepared for an hour long ride with a 1-record CD ‘Why you tip so much’ by Momzilla and The Gang.

Most of the time I ignore it.  During ‘haunt for red October’ I used to freak out and put my husband in very uncomfortable position between me and her, now I try to laugh about it because two crazy ladies in 30m2 is more than enough for one Hong Kong man.

Do you have anyone like Momzilla in your family? Do you agree or disagree with her? Share your stories and anecdotes, I would love to read them :)
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Grace的客串文章 – Guest Post from Texan in Tokyo: Top 7 Perks of Getting Married Young

I’m so honored to present you the very first ever guest post written by lovely Grace from Texan in Tokyo about perks of getting married young. I absolutely love it and I’m also little bit jealous – ‘Why couldn’t I think of it?!’ because when I was reading it for the first time I could relate to it. But see it yourself and enjoy, everyone!

I fell in love with Lina’s “My Hong Kong Husband” blog for a lot of reasons. She has a funny, relatable way of writing, she shares all the ups and downs of her relationship with Sing, and her posts can teach you so much about Hong Kong Culture.

But the main reason I fell in love with this blog was because, deep down inside, I felt like she was just like me.Untitled2

Let me explain- we have the same basic story, with slightly different details.
Both Lina and I got married very young.
Both of us are white, from a “Western country” (she is from Poland, I am from Texas).
Both of us have a husband that is Asian (her husband is from Hong Kong, mine is from Japan)
Both of us have lived in our husband’s home country.
Both of us run blogs where we talk very publically about our life, our intercultural marriage, and our time living abroad.

In my past two years a blogging, I’ve had a lot of people tell me they thought it was irresponsible that I got married so young. People said things like “you’re wasting your potential” or “you will wake up in five years and regret it.”

I think comments like that are a bit rude. People have all sorts of negative stereotypes for “young brides” or “young couples,” but most of the time, those stereotypes are completely untrue.

My husband and I’s marriage wasn’t rash or rushed. He proposed on our one year anniversary; we got married one year later. We had plenty of time to think about it. By the first month of engagement, we had clear six month, one year, three year, and five year goals. We had both graduated from college, he had a wonderful job in Tokyo, and my freelancing career was taking off. We were financially independent.

We knew what we were getting into. I wasn’t pregnant. It wasn’t for the sake of a “green card.”

UntitledThrough my marriage, I was able to write the book “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book” about our daily life in Japan. I draw comics about our life as an interracial and intercultural couple in Japan, about being broke newlyweds in Tokyo, and about being a freelancer abroad.

I am currently running a campaign to fund this book – if you would like to pick up a copy/PDF of the comic book, please follow this link.
I love the fact that I got married young – not only because I get to spend more time with my husband, but for all sorts of other reasons. So I wanted to write a post on My Hong Kong Husband about all the good points of getting married young:

7 Perks of Getting Married Young

  1. You get to “grow up” together and grow old together

Growing up is hard. It can be scary. And even though I’m married, I still have a lot of growing up to do.Untitled3

Thankfully, I have Ryosuke right beside me. He is my best friend. We can talk about our fears and problems together… and of course we are changing. But we are changing together.

  1. Marriage is fun!

I love being married. I love being able to turn down work parties (“My husband and I are going hiking on Saturday, sorry!). I love being able to wake up next to Ryosuke every morning and snuggle with him every night.

I love getting to do “married couple” things like pick out shelves from Ikea, brainstorm baby names, plan biking trips around Japan, and using a game of poker to divide the chores.

  1. We have plenty of time to enjoy married life before even thinking about children.

I love traveling. I enjoy backpacking through foreign countries, meeting all sorts of new people, and trying weird/unique food. However, I also really want to have a large family sometime in the future.

I want four kids; my husband wants three.

And because we got married so young, we’ve had plenty of time to travel, eat crazy food, meet unique people, try a bunch of hobbies, and have fun as a “couple” before even thinking about having children. I love it.

  1. Less binge drinking, partying, and crying myself to sleep

I didn’t date very much (like, at all) when I was younger. I thought it was silly how people would get so invested in a person – to the extent that they lose their own self, their goals, their grades, and their social life.

I didn’t want to be that kind of person… so I chose not to date anyone. And I was pretty lonely. By the time I got to college, I was going to parties once a month, drinking more than I should, and crying alone in my room because no one would love me I needed to be loved.

Then I met my husband. He broke my “no dating in college” rule. And as we ‘grew up together, I became a much happier, more secure person.

  1. The best years of your life are spent with your best friendUntitled5

I’m not sure if your twenties are actually the best years of your life. But I’ve had more fun in my three years with my husband than in the decade before it.

I love my twenties.

  1. It is a nice security net

I am a very anxious person. I used to have panic attacks because I thought people might not like me. Or that they were judging me and laughing at me behind my back.

As I got older, I realized that yes, people were talking about me behind my back. That’s what people do.

And then there’s my husband – he just doesn’t care about any of that. He is one of the most carefree and confident people I have ever met. He doesn’t understand my anxiety… but he has helped me find ways to cope with it.

In the end, my husband has the only opinion that matters. People can find a way to hate anything… and my husband has taught me that it’s so much more rewarding to just “do my thing” than to worry about what other people think.

Even if everyone else thinks the dress I’m wearing looks stupid, as long as both my husband and I think it looks cute, I’m ok.

  1. I get to call him my “husband.”

Untitled4I like saying the word “husband.” I like typing the word “husband” on my blog. I love being able to draw about our life as a “married couple” in Tokyo.

I have no idea why. It’s just so thrilling every time I really sit down and think “Yes, we’re married. Forever. We get to spend the rest of our lives together.”
Thanks for reading! I run my own blog, “Texan in Tokyo” where I draw comics and blog about daily life as the white wife of a Japanese salaryman.
If you’re interested, check it out my book “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book
Or my blog, “Texan in Tokyo
And my Facebook

So what do you think guys? Do you agree with Grace? Do you know someone who got married young? Share your thought and stories! And big ‘Thank you’ to Grace for being part of this blog and her great post! :)
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語言障礙 – language barrier

I think I can bet on that aside of culture differences, international relationships mostly struggle with language barrier. Lion’s share of the AMWF relationships I know communicate in English or in a native language of one of the partners, but in 95% of the cases there’s at least one non-native speaker.image (35)

Probably you’ve been in a situation you just don’t know how to express your feelings. It’s especially annoying during the argument, in my mind I have so many good points, I could easily crush my husband with them but I just don’t know how to speak up. Then I make upset face and win anyway, but I wish he knew how brilliant my argumentation can be.
Or sometimes I just go ‘full-blond‘ and ask my husband like I was Peggy Bundy

You know what I mean… Babe, you know, that flat things we put food on?
That’s dining table.

One thing is when it’s only between you and your partner. You can always say ‘That’s not what I meant’ or ‘Give me a second, I don’t know how to put it’ or simply just make up a word or phrase, but it gets really bad when it comes to you and your in-laws.

image (33)My biggest fear when Momzilla came here was that I won’t be talking to her at all. It took us two hours to go from San Francisco International Airport to our home and we didn’t talk at all. Two hours of awkward silence. To make things worst, Sing goes out to work at 8AM, comes back after 7PM – strangely, since she came he has much more overtime at work… That basically gives me 55 hours a week of time alone with her.
At the beginning I tried to go shopping every other day but since AC Transit changed the fare I cannot do it more than once a week. So what two people who technically don’t speak the same language (and I mean have a real proper talk, not writing or using a dictionary) can do?

As you might notice I’m studying, more or less, Cantonese and I’m not a native English speaker, but I can write well enough for you to understand me. My mother-language is Polish, which gives me ‘cute accent‘ – at least according to people in 85C Bakery in Newark, but they might say it since I’m their faithful client also known as the Black Forest Grapefruit Green Tea Lady.
My mother-in-law speaks Cantonese, but with very heavy accent, that I’m the only one who image (32)cannot understand, because she had a 2 hours long conversation with a Hong Kong lady she met on the street. She also reads traditional signs, but she’s native for Shanghainese and raised with simplified Chinese.

Years of living in Hong Kong taught her British alphabet so she has some base, comparing to the relatives in China. I remember once Sing’s outside-grandma had a talk on the phone and had to give us some passport information, but since she didn’t know the alphabet she just described the letters. I lost it when I heard ‘beede’ (sorry, that’s the closest pronunciation I could make) which is ‘queen‘ in Shanghainese. Yes, grandma was describing ‘Q‘ you can find in the stack of cards.

I kinda admire her – she went to Hong Kong with Sing’s father not knowing Cantonese, then she went to Europe to see my family not knowing English. Her flight was cancelled because of the bad weather and she managed to stay informed without our help. She even got a visa to America and passed the immigration with just a letter we wrote for her (if you are in similar situation with your family click here to get a sample of the letter you can give to your relatives). That’s impressive for a 58 year old lady.

So there we are. Awkward and silent. Can’t be worse, can it? All until she picked up a book, ‘Cantonese for everyone’ by Chow Bun Ching – great book given by my dear friend – that includes ‘Immediately Useful Expressions’‘. She went through it, pointed at us and said ‘Me Gwóngjàu Wah, image (31)you English‘. Since that time we go with the rule ‘One day, one phrase’. She stopped to teach me speaking Cantonese, since according to my husband I’m killing it with double-non-native-accent, but she helps me in writing and everyday encourages me to spend little time either reading an articles or working on my handwriting. Momzilla on the other hand made a huge progress.

Would you believe that a woman in her age can be so eager to study? Everyday after lunch she grabs the book and ask me to teach her. She cannot say full sentences yet, we still go with simple words, but it’s just adorable when she walks around the house or our neighborhood, points at things and say ‘cat’, ‘sun’, ‘bus’. She greets my husband with ‘How is it going?’ everytime he comes back from work. Of course she also learnt things like ‘Chocolate no’ or ‘Cold no’, she wouldn’t be herself if she didn’t. Now she can deny my right for a dessert in 3 languages.

The thing I was scared the most actually brought us together. We spend more time together, we have more interaction that also includes sign language. We no longer try to avoid each other. I feel much more relaxed being around her and I feel closer. It also gives us a good laugh, I’m pretty sure even thought she didn’t say that, but I could see a smile on her face when I mispronounce things. It’s a shameful confession, but my Shanghainese pronunciation is much better than Cantonese.  In 2012 I said so many times ‘Don’t know, don’t eat, full’ that I became fluent in those 3 phrases.

So there’s my advice for anyone who’s struggling with the same thing as I did: try teaching them your language, the language you use to speak with your partner or make a language exchange! Any kind of phrase book could work. It can only make things better, even if your relationship with in-laws won’t get better at least you will know more and you might even be able to know if and what they talk about you! Or at least kill that silence, you can always point at something and teach them a new word. I’m so lucky and glad Momzilla thought about it because it’s week 5 of her stay here, and even if she’s sometimes annoying and just being a Momzilla, I start to feel I will miss her once she goes back to Asia.

At the end I want to share my favorite mispronunciation by Momzilla. Luckily she cannot share with you how bad my Cantonese-speaking skills are, but I’m pretty sure she could say the same thing about me. God bless there is no need for voice input on the phone and I can just write things because I would be screwed! In the end I think it’s super-cute and sometimes super-funny!image (30)

  • Take care – taker
  • University – newspaper (to be clear – she still doesn’t know a word ‘newspaper’)
  • Cat – catSSSSSS
  • Mainland – Maidan
  • How – wh…, term used to describe a prostitute…
  • Question – cusion
  • Island – iron

Was a language barrier ever a problem to you? Any funny or interesting story you can share? Can’t wait to hear them! :)
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