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.
Read more stories of cross-cultural encounters from My Partner is a Foreigner.