Chapter 10

“You Should Have a Baby Boy”

Knocked Up Abroad Again: Baby bumps, twists, and turns around the globe 

(Anthology by Lisa Ferland)


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr




When I move to China in the summer of 2012, I choose the southernmost metropolis to live and work in. Growing up in Austria, I always hated the cold, and I am sure I’d love living in this place with hot summers lasting at least half a year. Most of the other time, it would still be comfortably warm.

We sometimes make plans for the future, but then fate gets in the way. On my first day at work in a Chinese company, I am seated right next to Yang, a tall, handsome guy in his early thirties, who’s originally from Northeast China (often better known in the West as former Manchuria). After finishing work on the second day, our team goes out to karaoke and shaokao, or barbecue prepared at street side food stalls. Just when we leave the office, it starts to rain. Only half of us have an umbrella, so two people each share one. I share one with Yang. Since he’s so much taller than me, I hand him the umbrella. The other coworkers start joking that we should get a room. They are all around 30, but their sense of humor makes them seem at least 10 years younger. I don’t think anything of it, but after a week of talking and joking daily with Yang on a messenger called QQ and getting to know more about him, then another week of doing the same, we start falling for each other. When we start dating two weeks later, his mom inquires via WeChat, a messaging app popular in China:

“Where is she from?” “From the Northwest. She speaks Mandarin Chinese with an accent.” “In which year was she born?” “In the year of the rabbit.” “Someone born in the year of the ox would be more suitable for you, but the year of the rabbit is still okay.”

Luckily, we still get her blessings after telling her that I’m from a place much further West than Northwest China. It wouldn’t have stopped us from dating if she hadn’t, but it makes things much easier that way. 

We get engaged within a month of knowing each other and marry in Austria half a year later. Shanhun, or “lightning wedding” is what the Chinese call a wedding as fast as ours.


feedback & reviews

"We dare to have children in a place we've known not long."

Melissa Uchiyama

Chapter 1: Birth Control, Birth and the Need for Translation

"Knocked Up Abroad Again is a terrific collection of honest stories that show us that motherhood knows no borders."

Jenn Mann

New York Times bestselling author of "People I Want to Punch in the Throat"

"Funny, moving, and insightful–a wild ride of motherhood around the world."

AK Turner

New York Times bestselling author of the "Vagabonding With Kids" series