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.

Chinese Americans change the world

Living with Chinese In-Laws

Disclaimer: I love my Chinese in-laws. I know, Chinese don’t usually say that to their parents, but I can say it – I am made in the USA.

To my Chinese friends: please learn to laugh at yourself sometimes.

My Chinese in-laws have come to live with us. They have been in our home for what seems like a time period equal to China’s long history. Less I wake up and forget they are still in my home, here are 10 reminders that my wife’s parents are still here.

1. My house smells like the Chinese kitchen of a local Mr. Chau’s, North China restaurant, Super Buffet or whatever. My mother-in-law is a great cook, no doubt it about it. And if you don’t believe me, ask my nose.

2. Our dishwasher has lost its purpose in life. Despite the fact that the four of us use more dishes than my five siblings, my mother and father and grandfather and me used when we were growing up…out dishwasher has never been used. It thinks it is just a dish rack.

3. There are things in my refrigerator that I cannot name or even recognize as food for that matter. I am sincerely afraid to ask what is what for fear that someone will tell me. I usually just close my eyes and hope I can find the milk and get out as quick as possible – cow milk is what I want NOT soy milk.

4. We’ve not bought trash bags, um, ever. Lion and Ranch 99 plastic grocery bags do double and sometimes triple duty at our house. Thanks, mom and dad, for saving on the weekly grocery bill.

5. I can’t follow the discussion at the dinner table. Now I can tell my family what time I will be home, where I am going and the other basics. But, I don’t know anything about Chinese history – in Chinese – or about the neighbors, the in-laws of my in-laws (how do the Chinese remember all those terms for family relatives?) so, usually I enjoy dinner semi-alone while the other three enjoy some sort of lively discussion.

6. Speaking of eating – food NEVER gets wasted. Never ever. If we don’t clean it up the first, second, third, fourth or fifth time it makes an appearance at the table, it will keep coming until I do.

7. No one invites us to Tupperware parties anymore. We have very carefully rinsed margarine tubs, take-home food containers, glass jars (that double as cups) and….

8. Paper napkins mysteriously appear. We have a tissue box that NEVER runs out. It’s a miracle – really. Same box sits on the counter and there are always new and sometimes different color napkins that come out of it. Elijah would be jealous.

9. Snack food in the car when we take a drive (anything over 15 minutes is a drive) is no fun. Everything is dried up – squid, apricots, plums and who knows what? “How about a snack, Bill?” “No! I am driving and can’t eat now.”

10. The flowers in my front yard seem to change color much like the napkins in my mystery Kleenex box. Every week there are different flowers, different colors and on different sides of the front yard. I wonder sometimes if I am coming home to the right place.

My in-laws have invaded, I mean, come to stay in my home. And, try as I might I will never forget they are there. God love ‘em and God have mercy on me. 😎


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Bill Belew

Bill Belew

Daddy and Christian.

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