Bill Belew has raised 2 bi-cultural kids, now 34 and 30. And he and his wife are now parenting a 3rd, Mia, who is 8.
My name is Li，in Chinese it means flower jasmine, pronouncing as Mo4Li4. I spent my childhood with my grandparents living in a suburban area in Zhejiang Province in China. It is a small coastal town not far from metropolitan city of Shanghai. The town is famous for its seafood, beautiful scene and its people. I was a child who hates school, so most of the time, my grandparents had to home school me. It was a time with fun, joy and pleasure staying with them.
My grandparents met each other in a factory, where both of them worked in two different departments. My grandpa was hard working, but shy; while my grandma was always energetic and open-minded. There is a saying that exist for a very long time that people always get attracted by others who have features that they lack of. And my grandparents could be a good proof for that theory. They are so different in personality, as well as the way they interact with other people.
My grandma was born in a rich family in Shanghai, so her life style is very elegant and enthusiastic for all the parties. This was common in big cities in old times, such as Shanghai or Hong Kong, but in that small town, my grandma became very famous and popular among young people. However, my grandpa’s parents cannot stand with such a daughter-in-law. They were very very conservative and traditional. In their mind, women after married should always stay home, taking care of the family and members rather than going out for party everyday. So you can imagine there were lots of conflicts between my grandma and my grandpa’s family. However, my grandpa was always on the same side with my grandma, which was unusual as well. He was not a traditional husband, who saw his wife as his property. Oppositely, he respect her very much, as well as her habit and lifestyle. Besides, he trusted her for whatever she said. He always said, love and trust are just like sand in hand, the more you squeeze, the more you lose. In quite a long time, my grandpa sent my grandma to parities and then picked her up late in the night without any complain. Gradually, my grandma did not go to party as frequently as before and always spent weekend with the family instead of her friends. They never argued or fight for this issue. They solved the difference with love and trust. And after having my father as their first child, my grandma quit the job, taking care of my father and staying home. She still loved those parties, but she only went there once for week, just for warming up with her friends.
My grandparents have three children and three grandchildren. They are living together happily now, always going to senior ball party together.
Talk to Bill and others about their experiences raising bi-cultural Japanese-American kids.