I CHANGED MY HOSTFAMILY
Today I'm going to share with you the story and my personal experience when I had to change my hostfamily for the second time. However, I don‘t want to blame anyone and will keep the people involved anonymous. Please also keep in mind: I‘ve never got treated bad by the family until the point that influenced the change. I lived in a big, very clean and beautiful house, had my own room and bathroom. Every morning, my breakfast was already prepared and I only had to heat it (I was basically a princess lol). The dinner was delicious and varied every day. I enjoyed amazing travels with beautiful hotels and they invited me to great restaurants. My family gave me the freedom and privacy I needed. Everything was perfect. The perfect family. I was even considering to stay one more year in China, not only to improve my Chinese and because I found my second home here in Shanghai, but also, because the conditions I lived in were more than perfect. And suddenly overnight everything changed. It all started during the Spring Festival, when a family member began to ignore me. I asked multiple times if something happened or if I did something wrong. The answer always was :“No everything’s fine“ or „There is no problem“.This person was not only ignoring me, but also showed an inappropriate behavior (for example rolling eyes). After living with that host family for 5 months it was the first time that I felt strange and left out. I asked other family members if someone knew about what was going on, but obviously no one had a clue/ was pretending not to have a clue... I don’t know.
Let me continue.
In China it‘s normal to greet everyone after coming home. While I was greeting everyone in the family, I got a half pronounced hello back at first and later nothing anymore. I just couldn’t understand the person’s reason to play this game with me. I gathered all my courage to ask again. The conversation was following:
Me: Can we talk? Can you please tell me what I did wrong?
Me: Yes, please.
Person: I don't have time for you now.
This was not answer from an eight year old kid. I‘m talking about a conversation between a 50 year old person and me. Anyways, I decided to wait until the person would come to me and talk about the problem or whatever it was. After a week without showing any reaction I wanted to try it again. But my organisation office already contacted me and asked me to come to the office immediately. That‘s when I found out that I‘m going to change my family. The best of it, the so-called “reasons” from the family were too ridicilous.
Let me mention one: „Daniela „never“ took her own toilet paper when using public toilets and asked us every time (the family) to give her some. After a time she should realize that she is responsible for her own paper.“ Guys, they were able to take me out, buy me expensive gifts but had a problem with giving me a piece of toilet paper?! They also never mentioned it as a problem. I guess you guys understand how ridiculous this is. There were some more little problems they had with me and at the end they made a big deal out of it. Anyways, when I came home from the office I told my host family, that I was very disappointed to hear such things from a third part.
TALKING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WHEN TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT CULTURES MEET AND LIVE IN ONE HOUSHOLD TOGETHER.
After the one felt ashamed and even got a glass of wine (I had never seen this person drinking before), the other just continued pretending that everything was ok and told me: „Daniela, we only want the best for you. There is nothing we can change on your behavior. An other family should try it." One day before I left, the person shouted at me: „How did your real mother raise you?“ - This is an absolute NO-GO! And after leaving the family neither my host mom nor my host father were at home. My host grand parents ignored me too and didn’t say goodbye... These actions just prove everything. There is no more explanation needed.
All in one: A change is not always dramatic. It improves your ability to understand a culture from different perspectives. Who has the chance to live in various places of Shanghai and to experience diverse lifestyles. The change didn't bring me down and I'll enjoy my last two and a half months to the fullest!