Post Tagged with "meet the family"

Granny, I’m marrying a vegetarian

Petya (Bulgaria) and Kyle (USA)

My grandparents are sweet simple people. They live in a small village up in the Mountains of Bulgaria and spend most of their time working their land and taking care of their animals. They always look forward to Christmas when, traditionally, the entire extended family gets together for a big feast. We usually eat pork that came off the back (or butt) of a pig they had been raising themselves.

Grandma was a little bit suspicious when she found out I was planning to marry an American boy. Her suspicion turned into outrage when she found out that Kyle was not only American but also vegetarian.

What do you mean he doesn’t eat meat?
Well, he doesn’t, Grandma.
No meat at all? Ever? Not even for dinner?
No. No. No. He’s been vegetarian for most of his life.
What do you mean most of his life?
He’s been vegetarian since he was 15.
Does his mother know he doesn’t eat meat?
She does, Grandma. She does.

Grandma is quiet for a little while. I know she’s trying to come to peace with the idea that she will have a foreign non-meateater in her family soon and she will simply have to accept that. I also know she loves me more than anything and in her silence I recognize a true effort to stay positive. Still, she really seems to be struggling with the whole vegetarianism thing. It really is THAT BAD for her. Eventually, she breaks the silence:

OK, so… he’s vegetarian. But does he drink?
Well… I am not sure how to answer, but I choose to say the truth. He does drink, yes.
OH! GOOD! You should have just told me earlier.

She seemed SO happy and relieved. And I guess she was right. I should have told her earlier.

Petya has a whole blog dedicated to her cross-cultural marriage. In her words it is ‘an ongoing story about travel, cross-cultural (mis)-understanding and running-ins with immigration authorities on both sides of the Atlantic ocean’

Go and have a look at How to Marry a Bulgarian.

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January 24, 2009 4 comments

Are you saying I’m fat?

Kyle (USA) and S. (Chile)

“Ahhh, Kyle, gordita, como estas?”

(Translation: Ahhh, Kyle, fatty, how are you?)

This is how my father in law would greet me every time we went over to his house. Although, the word gordita was alternately replaced with “rellenita,” another term, also referring to plumpness.

At first, I thought I needed to be on model behavior for my husband’s parents, so I would just grit my teeth, clench my fists, and smile and nod, when all I really wanted to do was punch his dad in the face, as he insulted me about my weight over and over and over again.

Finally one day I’d had it. When my father in law inevitably brought up my weight at the dinner table in front of everybody, telling me I looked “even fatter than normal,” I took the bait and snapped back, “Well, you look older and more wrinkly than normal.”


Crickets chirping.

Me turning beet red as I realized I’d just said something truly offensive.

Eventually someone coughed politely and changed the subject. But, after dinner my husband took me aside.

“Why in the world would you insult my dad like that?!?” he asked.

I told him, “I’m sick of the weight comments, tell him to stop insulting me.”

And then the error of my ways was explained to me. My husband told me that in Chile, “Gordita” is a term of endearment and is only used lovingly. He also explained that it’s not at all impolite to bring up other people’s weight loss/weight gain and that if people do, that just means they care about you enough to notice.

And then I explained to my husband that telling someone they look fat/fatter is one of the rudest things you can possibly do in my culture and that certain gringas (ahem, not me, of course) are even prone to random acts of violence when old men, who are also fat, feel it necessary to make weight comments.

Needless to say, hubby had a little chat with my father in law and my fatness, or lack thereof, was never brought up again.

Kyle’s blog Just Married Chilean Style has more stories of married life in Chile.

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July 13, 2008 3 comments

Firoozeh (Iran/USA) and François (France)

The first time they met François, my parents insisted on taking him to the nicest Persian restaurant in Los Angeles. My father ordered the appetizer sampler, which François ate with gusto while questioning my mother about the ingredients:
“Is this the spice sumac?”
“Are these the thin-skinned Persian cucumbers?”
“Is the feta made with sheep’s milk?”
Once the appetizers were finished, François selected the most copious dish on the menu, the sultani, a combination of lamb, beef, and chicken kebob on an enormous mound of rice. His order arrived, looking as if someone had just grilled an entire petting zoo. François ate and ate and ate. My father asked me, in Persian, whether he always ate like this. My mother said, in Persian, that she hoped he wasn’t going to get sick. Meanwhile, François kept eating.

By the time he was done, there was not a grain of rice left on his large oval plate. My mother told him how lucky he was that he could eat enough food for three people and not be fat. François was of normal weight – although he did outweigh me, which fulfilled one of my two requirements for dating a guy. The other requirement was a total lack of interest in watching sports on television. François fulfilled that one, too.

Unbelievably, he ordered dessert, exclaiming that he couldn’t possibly imagine skipping the rose water and pistachio ice cream. By then, I was just hoping that if he did throw up, it wouldn’t happen in my father’s car.

Once we arrived at my house, I asked François why he had eaten so much. “I know that Middle Easterners love to feed people and I wanted to make a good impression on your parents,” he said. “But now I need to go lie down”

The story above is an extract from the book Funny in Farsi published with permission from Firoozeh Dumas. Firoozeh is the author of Funny in Farsi, an excellent and funny book of tales about growing up Iranian in America, and her second book, Laughing without an accent, has just been released.

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May 9, 2008 4 comments

Melinda (US) and Alessandro (Italy)

By Melinda Gallo

After flying back to Italy from the US, my husband and I decided to spend the night at his parent’s house because we were too exhausted to drive to our apartment downtown.

Because one of my suitcases never made the connecting flight, I didn’t have any of my own things. My husband lent me a pair of his pajamas to wear and we went straight to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, I was feeling groggy from jet lag. My husband suggested that I take a shower to wake up, so he told me that he’d get everything I need for my shower in his parent’s bathroom.

I walked into their bathroom and jumped in the shower when the water was hot. When I opened the shower door afterwards, I couldn’t find a bath towel hanging anywhere. I spotted a small hand towel and considered drying off with it, but couldn’t bring myself to use it because it looked like it had already been used.

I stood on the shower mat dripping wet, beginning to get cold, trying to come up with another solution. I didn’t want to yell out to my husband to get me a towel because he wouldn’t have been able to hear me in the kitchen.

As a last resort, I decided to dry myself off with his pajamas instead. Luckily, my husband had handed me an accappatoio
(bathrobe) before taking my shower, so I walked out of the bathroom wearing it and holding my now wet pajamas.

I flung the accappatoio on the bed and started getting dressed. My husband scooped up the accappatoio and was about to hang it up when he said, “How come the accappatoio is dry?”

“Why would it be wet?” I asked.

“Didn’t you use it to dry yourself off?” he said, patting it between his hands.

I told him that he forgot to put a bath towel in the bathroom for me, so I had to use his pajamas to dry myself off. He told me that the accappatoio was my bath towel and showed me how to dry myself off by putting it on and using it like a towel.

I had only ever worn an accappatoio in luxurious hotels after washing up and never knew it could be used as a bath towel. As a result, I got my own accappatoio a few days later. I find it even more practical than a bath towel: I can dry off quickly while keeping warm and cover up at the same time when I exit the bathroom.

You can read more about Melinda’s adventures in Italy in her blog Living in Florence

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March 24, 2008 2 comments

Petite Anglaise (UK) and Mr Frog (France)

The frog and I speak a language understood only by ourselves, where sentences may start in French, end in English and include some words which hover somewhere in between. I’ve adopted some of the frog’s more endearing mistakes because they amused me: faulty plurals (feets, sheeps), creative past tenses (“I’m feeling hanged over”). He also does a very convincing faux Yorkshire accent when he says “fancy a cuppa tea luv?” and slips into it automatically (as do I) when he spends time with my family.

Mother called last night and asked the frog if he had any idea what she could get him for his upcoming birthday. I would give anything to have been a fly on the wall to see her reaction when he said that he could do with a pair of handcuffs*.

Strait-laced mother must have been struggling to process this unexpected/unwelcome revelation about our sex life and his request was met with a protracted embarrassed silence. I was too busy choking with mirth on a sour cream and onion Pringle to put either of them out of their misery.

He meant cuff links*.

Reproduced with permission from Catherine Sanderson´s blog Petite Anglaise. Catherine is about to publish a book about her adventures living in Paris.

*note for non-native english speakers:
handcuffs – the police use them to fasten your hands together
cuff links – decorative device used to fasten shirt sleeves

February 20, 2008 Comments disabled