I’ve been wanting to share a certain aspect about living in China as a young American woman for a while, but have been scared to come across as the most vain person in the world. But I figure it’s a big part of living in China and you guys might be interested to hear about it, so why not? I trust that you guys know my heart and know that I’m just sharing my experience.
So, as most of you could guess, the majority of Chinese people have very similar features. Black hair, dark oval eyes, slender bodies, pale skin, etc. They’re beautiful! I’m constantly staring at them, amazed at how every single person is either beautiful or so adorable that I want to wrap them in a hug! Where we live–in a smaller city not on the East coast, there is even less variety in features because there is not as much diversity in the foreign presence here.
As you could envision, I–a taller, white, light-haired, light-eyed, young American woman–stand out like a sore thumb. I’m stared at everywhere I go. This is the case for almost any foreigner in our city, male or female, young or old! As foreigner in a very Chinese city, we are constantly hearing people yell or whisper, “Foreigner!” out of curious excitement. It makes making new friends really easy!
But one thing I wasn’t quite ready for was the amount of compliments I would receive on a daily basis from people, many of which are total strangers to me. Chinese people, from what I’ve gathered, are very open and blunt about outer appearance. It’s totally normal to tell your friend their fat or skinny, or to comment on the appearance of a random stranger. They’re just descriptive words. So as a relatively fit, American woman I’m often receiving compliments like, “Wow, your body is so healthy!” “Your so slim!” “You are so beautiful!” “Your nose is so tall and your eyes are so big!” (yes, people really do comment on the size of my nose. Thankfully having a tall nose is beautiful her!)
In addition to my outer appearance, our younger Chinese friends often comment on my character and my relationship with Brett, usually when we host them for a meal at our house. Some of the new Chinese words I’ve learned while hosting people at our house need sentences to translate and they are as follows:
xian hui: (of a woman) virtuous; genial and prudent; perfect in her traditional roles
xian qi liang mu: a good wife and loving mother
lang cai nu mao: a talented man and a beautiful woman; ideal couple
When I hear words or phrases like these for the first time, I often don’t know what they mean and have to look them up in the dictionary. I’m always so shocked with the compliments I receive and never feel like I actually live up to them. I will say, I’ve found Chinese people to be more vocal in their compliments, so I’m sure complimenting your host is a very normal, expected thing.
Either way, the compliments I receive here in China are much more numerous and deep than those I received in America. It’s weird and I often don’t know how to feel about it. Hopefully it won’t go to my head! One thing I have realized is that I am being watched. People notice what I wear, what I do, how I live, how I treat my husband and friends, etc. It’s cool to have a positive impact just by living here, but I want to constantly evaluate the message I’m sending to the locals in our city.
Have any of you traveled to a foreign country and had a similar experience?
I’d love to hear your story!
In other news, I’ve made a batch of these Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars multiple times in one week…they’re that good. I usually don’t worry about making Gluten Free baked goods (I’m trying to make sure I can always enjoy bread!), but because I used oatmeal and peanut flour, these delicious bars just so happen to be gluten free for any of you GF readers out there!
They’re sweetened with maple syrup and mini chocolate chips and have two kinds of peanut butter in them, making them extra rich and delicious. They take me about 10 minutes to mix together and only 15 or so minutes to bake, so you can enjoy these Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars in less than 30 minutes! Although, they hold together better once cooled.
Please let me know if you make these oatmeal bars and what you think! Leave a comment down below or tag me at #theconscientiouseater on Instagram so I can see your creation!
- 1 flax egg
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup non-dairy milk
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup quick oats
- ¾ cup peanut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup mini-chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl prepare your flax egg by whisking together 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside to thicken.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the peanut butter, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, cooled coconut oil and vanilla until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the quick oats, peanut flour, baking powder and salt until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
- Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
- Pour the sticky batter into your prepared baking dish and spread until smooth and even.
- Bake the bars for 15-18 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown along the edges.
- Remove the baking pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely before removing and slicing in to 16 squares.