Rose Fulbright-Vickers, designer, and husband, Tamlin Vickers, who works in consulting in Beijing.
What is culture to you and your family?
My husband and I are both from culturally diverse families, and I think we would both consider ourselves to be British with a global culture. My father is American and my mother is Welsh. I grew up in England, but my parents always ensured we traveled to many places as a family, as they thought it was important to expose us to as many different cultures as possible. My husband was born and grew up in Hong Kong with his English parents. He, therefore, experienced a wide mix of Eastern and Western cultures as a child and enjoys being here in Beijing.
I would say that culture is the sense of self that you have, which is shaped not only by where you grow up, where you live, and which countries your parents are from, but also by the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and the books you read. To live as an expat in the world today is to be a global citizen, which helps us to understand all sorts of different people and traditions–the key to an interesting and fulfilling life.
What would you say your culture was like before coming to China?
Even though I felt I had quite an international upbringing, I had never lived outside Europe, so I think my culture was restricted mostly to a rather Western view in many ways.
How has China influenced your culture?
Coming to live in China was a really exciting adventure for my husband and me, and particularly new for me. Having been here for 2 years now, I have a greater understanding of the culture and also feel very lucky to be enriched by the amazing traditions, art, food, and philosophies to which I have been exposed in China.
Do you think your culture will change when you leave China?
I think we will always carry our experiences of China with us throughout our lives – it was the first place we moved to after we got married – so living in China has shaped our relationship and lives in a way we will never forget. For this reason, although our culture may shift and evolve, we will continue to carry whatever we have learned here with us.
Photo: courtesy of Rose Fulbright-Vickers