We are in the car, coming home from our trip to Foshan 佛山，广州 Guangzhou. Although the main reason of our trip was to go there and meet the family members, I had a lots of fun and opportunities to learn on this vacation.
In the Chinese family I felt just like I would be in the movie, Big, Fat Greek Wedding. If you have not seen it, do it now. 😉
Everyone, really everyone is happy, and has fun. The family is huge. I mean HUGE. Just guess how much people are in the extended family. In mine about 50. It is HUGE and as well complex. After meeting two or three family members, I was already lost, how do I (meaning my family) has connection with the person.
Just imagine me going in, no idea who is that or that, but they tell me to just call him 二叔 èr shū, meaning second uncle. Alright this is an easy one, he was the second of the birth, my father is the first child, he is the second, thats why it is like this.
Now they are some more complicated ones, like 姑姑 (gūgu) or 阿姨（āyí). The first one is the father’s sister, while the second is the mother’s. Although if someone is about the same old as your mother, even if there is no connection between, you call them 阿姨 as well.
Now it starts to get a little difficult here, not only you call people these kind of things because of who they are related to you, but because of respect as well. So if you see someone who is about the same old as you grandparents, you call them 爷爷、奶奶 yéye, nǎinai. Meaning grandma and grandpa. But for relatives or, your own grandparents can be used only for the father’s parents.
On the other hand, you call your mother’s parents, 外公、外婆 wàigōng, wàipó.
Pretty difficult, but memorizable. The average person would not get to this point, to remember all these. But what is important, that this is a culture, a tradition in the whole, huge Chinese culture. To understand the Chinese culture thoroughly, this is a culture to understand as well.
It is just like, in order for a child to learn how to walk, they first have to learn how to move their legs the way they want it to.
Or in order to learn to swim, you first need to know how to stay above water at least, how not to drown.
By the way this relative connection has a collective name which is called: 七大姑八大姨 qī dàgū bā dàyí.
Unfortunatelly, I do not yet know everything.😄
The other awesome thing about this family and about Chinese people:
I love Chinese people. I love that I am somebody that has not a big knowledge about overall Chinese customs and traditions, but willing to learn. I can just learn, and adapt day by day, from people and different kind of people!
I love that everyone teaches me. Especially people from my extended family, who really want me to adopt this amazing 5 thousand year old culture.
In my next Blog, I will give you some cultural insight, and tell about my trip to 佛山！
Stay connected to My Life. 😘