Struggle or Strengthened
We are experiencing unprecedented times in the World. Coronavirus has literally stopped us dead in our tracks. Due to the stay at home orders that many countries have in place, we are now spending more time with our loved ones.
During this time, we have the opportunity to discover who are spouses really are. Spending a significant amount of time with a person may cause you to fall deeper in love or out of love depending on the hour or day. LOL, 🙂 China has reported that there is a rise in divorce rates due to quarantine. Let’s talk with Kisha & Nana Abban to see if their relationship is struggling or has been strengthened while living abroad in China.
Covid-19 & China
Tiffany: When and why did you move to China?
Kisha: In 2014, I accepted a school counseling position at an international school in Guangzhou, China. After realizing the savings and travel potential, I decided to stay abroad. I completed a 2-year contract in Nigeria from 2016-2018. In 2018, I eventually made my way to Tianjin, China, where I currently reside.
Tiffany: What are your thoughts about COVID-19 and China as they have some of the highest rates in the world?
Kisha: Initially, I was frightened by COVID-19 due to people becoming ill and dying. I have been confined to my house because its scary to know that there is a deadly virus that you can’t see or smell.
Looking back, I can now laugh at some of the crazy things I did to ensure I was safe. One day I received a shipment of Girl Scout Cookies from my Sorority sister in Japan. Before bringing the package in the house, I ran outside with my mask, gloves, and used a can of Lysol to spray the entire box.
As an ex-pat, I must admit China has been my least favorite country while living abroad. Despite my feelings, “I appreciate how the government has handled everything”. Although the lockdown has been hard for many people, it minimizes the risk of infection.
Staying quarantined in China has proved to be the best decision as other nations began to see a rise in infections. Best of all, we did not witness any price gouging, and supplies such as toilet paper have been available.
Love is strengthened during Quarantined
Kisha: I met my husband through Christian a mutual friend who was from Ghana. Christian provided the contact info, and Nana and I began chatting right away. A month later, I traveled to Ghana to meet Nana. We had our first date at a restaurant called Honeysuckle located in East Legon.
Kisha: I fell in love with Nana when I observed how he interacted with other people. He made each person feel unique and valued, even in disagreement, he can make you feel heard. As I took note of how he treated others, I began to watch how he behaved and interacted with me.
Kisha: We have a three-bedroom apartment, so when we need a break from each other, we can go off and do our things.
For the lows, we have had some small disagreements, but they were always resolved shortly after. We have learned to be patient with one another and to ask clarifying questions to ensure that nothing got lost in cultural translation. I think the quarantine has made our relationship stronger because we were able to talk in-depth.
For the highs, we discussed family traditions that we want to create as a family. We would like to incorporate our culture that comprised of Ghanaian, Jamaican, Cuban, and American.
Kisha: During this time, I have learned that my husband is a profoundly spiritual man. I knew he was a Christian, but his level of discipline and desire to spend time with God was amazing to me. I have watched him pray and commune with God for hours. I grew up in a strict West Indian Seventh-day Adventist family, and we don’t hold a candle to Nana lol.
Around the world: Dating and beyond
Kisha: Yes! Nana is a true adventurer at heart, and we love to travel together. Our very first trip was our honeymoon to the beautiful island of Boracay in the Philippines.
Kisha: In life, nothing is guaranteed, you could meet a person in the States, and they can con you out of time, money, or sex. The country doesn’t make a person terrible; bad people are everywhere; we have to be vigilant and look for signs.
Tiffany: Any advice for those who are interested in dating abroad?
Kisha: 1) Trust your gut: If something doesn’t seem right, follow your instincts. You can either investigate or bounce.
2) Be Patient and clarify everything: We often think that because we are all black that we will understand each other. We have to remember that we have different cultures and different ways of doing and understanding things. If your boyfriend/girlfriend says something to you and you get angry, ask for clarification first. I like to ask my husband “What does this mean in Ghana?” Once he explains it to me, I will follow up and tell him what it means in American and Jamaica. Don’t assume that everything transfers over culturally. By getting clarification, you can save yourself from an unnecessary argument.
3) Keep it quiet: When Nana and I were dating, I didn’t tell anyone except for my friend and cousins who were in Ghana with me on vacation.
Out of excitement, we tell our friends about our new relationship in hopes they will be happy as well. Before you can say anything else, they have already started talking negatively about the men in their country, causing you to have a flood of emotions such as fear and doubt.
I didn’t tell anyone, including my best friend that I was getting married. I knew if I had, she would have talked me out of it, I knew I was making the right choice in picking my husband, and I didn’t need anyone to make me doubt that decision. Once she met my husband, she saw how much he genuinely and authentically loved me. Today she is our biggest advocate.
Coming from Jamaica, I have given my friends warnings about dating men, but I’ve never discouraged them. I just gave them enough information so they would be able to make informed decisions. The fewer people in your business, the better off you’ll be. If it doesn’t work out, you can deal with it privately.
Kisha: Currently, we have a few goals that we are working on as a family, the first is to develop our businesses.