When I found out that there was a WWAM (Western women and Asian men) community in 2015, I was surprised and delighted. A weight lifted off of me just knowing that other foreign women had chosen a similar life path. We could communicate with each other about our joys and frustrations with complete empathy. Those of us with more experience gave invaluable advice to those of us just starting out. Though we were located all over China and the world, we were finally able to talk with other women who didn’t need additional cultural context for understanding.
Being in the community is liberating for many of us, including myself, but I didn’t know that for me, it would significantly change the course of my life, in so many wonderful ways.
I was having a difficult time, back in 2015. Finding kindred spirits really helped to improve my experience there. Over time, I became close with several of the women in the community. Not only did those relationships bring richness and color to my life, but they also presented opportunities. I was able to give better travel tips to a woman in the WWAM community on a trip with her mother in law in Qinghai. I attended my first real life WWAM meet up in Shanghai, and was able to thank a woman there for helping me with some medical problems. I met another woman there and continued to find convenient situations for meeting up over the next two years.
When I found myself needing to visit Hong Kong, I discovered a wonderful group of women in the WWAM community in Shenzhen. They are now some of my closest friends in China. When my husband and I wanted to start our Tibetan-style blanket business, the women in the WWAM community gave practical advice and suggestions, and understood the difficulties of working between cultures. Now one of our own in the WWAM community is in danger of losing her art center, and I am working hard in the fundraising process to try and save it. (To find out how you can help, visit snowlandart.org for more information)
Because of this community, I have even been able to find a better job, working for one of our own. It is amazing to work with people who can completely understand your unique family lifestyle in China, because they have one too! Without being invited to this network of Western women who are with Asian partners, it is hard to say where my life would have brought me. I want to thank the wonderful woman who introduced me to this community. I am forever grateful! I am happier in my life now than I was pre-WWAM and am convinced that it will only get better as we go along together.