My Chinese father-in-law

When we talk about our Chinese in-laws, our dear mother-in-laws are usually the protagonists. I am sure you are all familiar with Momzilla, and with Timo’s crazy MIL. Autumn is maybe the only one that sometimes puts her FIL on the spotlight (he truly deserves it, hehe). I have written about my Chinese MIL before (and it is one of my most viewed posts ever), but my FIL has never been properly introduced on this blog. It’s time to put an end to that!

Family portrait in Shanghai.

Family portrait in Shanghai.

C.’s father has a small convenience store in the alley where he lives. He mainly sells drinks and cigarettes to the neighbourhood people, mainly old people and migrant workers. He sits in the store all day, watching dvds on a portable dvd player, listening to the radio or chatting with the passersby. Before, he used to be a sales representative for a Chinese watch brand, so when C. was a kid he went to many places in China with his parents. But when foreign brands started coming to China, this watch factory couldn’t cope with the competition and had to close, so he lost his job.

When people see C. and his dad together, they always say that C. resembles his father. So I know what I will have to face when we get old! Their physical resemblance is truly remarkable: before C. got his braces almost 2 years ago, even their teeth were extremely similar (in a bad way).

Every time we go see him at the store, he always wants to give me some drink, ice cream or snack. Other times he wants to give us a potted plant (the plants and animals market is at the end of their alley) or frozen dumplings. The first word I learned in Suzhou dialect was “fie”, which means “I don’t want (that)” [like bu yao in Mandarin] because that is what C. always replies…

If he is not in the store, you can probably find him playing mahjong with some neighbours. He loves dogs and is very fond of Nico. He can cook some dishes (and often puts too much salt for my taste) and doesn’t own a mobile phone. His Mandarin has a strong Suzhou accent and sometimes I can’t understand when he speaks.

C.’s father is always smoking and when we go to a restaurant he always brings his own alcohol, 黄酒 huangjiu or yellow rice wine (bringing your own drinks is acceptable in many restaurants in China). When there is a special occasion, like Chinese New Year, he likes wearing his gold watch and ring. We joke and tell him he looks like a mafia boss.

The glasses are fake. The gold is real.

The glasses are fake. The gold is real.

 

How is your relationship with your father-in-law?

 

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