Posts Tagged ‘family reunion’

communication issues within the family

June 13, 2012

Hmm, I seem to be posting now more than ever and I am so busy. But, I think it helps to post when I am thinking about things. then, I go back to packing.

this post has nothing to do with packing, however. It has to do with language and family.
I have a family reunion on Saturday. I’m bringing vegetarian baked beans and samosas (if I can get to the store in time). DH figured that we should not have to bring anything. after all, we have a little baby, we are coming from far away and… … yes, the most common excuse, “We are blind.” My mother told him that if he / we did not bring food for the pitch in, she would make sure that he would not get any of her strawberry banana dessert (which he loves enough to ask her to make him a bowl to take home). My SIL will also be down that day. She is coming on Friday and will stay until Tuesday. She, her driver friend and her little baby Ayaan will come with us to the event.
My mother rarely “makes a request,” she just “tells people what to do.” And, so, she told me (on several occasions) to tell DH and Sil that she did not want them to speak Urdu during the reunion. Often when she calls, DH is on the phone with SIL and she can hear him in the background. He always speaks to her in Urdu, even though both of them are very proficient in English. I have to admit that it bothers me, as well. when they are talking on the phone, I am not as annoyed, but when she comes to our house and they both talk in Urdu — Or Punjabi (which is why it would be pointless for me to learn Urdu, if my only aim was to understand what they were saying) it is annoying. I find it rude. It says to me:
We are “choosing” to leave you out of our conversation. This dialog is only between us two special people and we have a wonderful special bond that you can’t and won’t share with us, no matter how much you try. and, I have had more than one person ask DH when he and his sister are out: “are you husband and wife?” That is, they think that DH and his sister are married — not DH and me. /This special communication doesn’t help any. although my whole family knows that DH and I are married, it just proves how exclusive it makes DH and his sister look. They do have a very very very (can’t say “very” enough times) close relationship. It is somewhere between father/daughter and twin. “Twin” because they want to do everything together and have parallel lives. “Father/daughter” because many times, he will act like her father — taking responsibility for her and her decisions… … and before the feminists get all up in arms, know that it is “her choice.” Some women do feel better having a male figure be responsible for their well being and decisions. I can’t explain it.
OK, am I being a bit dramatic? Probably.But, I do think that it is rude when you are suppose to be socializing with others to exclude them from your conversation by “choosing” to speak in a language that they don’t understand. I keep emphasizing the word “choose,” because, it would be entirely different “if” they didn’t know English. But, they do.
and, if I am honest, some of these language Issues have stopped me from learning the language that I was so intrigued by from the start. I had good intensions to learn Urdu. I wanted to talk to my ILS and knew that they were not very proficient in English. I wanted to speak it to Azaan so that he would be bilingual. I had someone teaching me and we were making great progress. but:
DH would not talk with me on a daily regular basis so that I could get better. the rub is that: He’ll talk with his sister for at least two hours a day — mostly in Urdu. But, he can’t spend ten minutes helping me get better. I am not saying that he doesn’t want me to learn the language. I am saying that he doesn’t want to put any effort forth in helping me learn it, but he is perfectly fine sharing that lingual bond with his sister. Language is important enough for him to want to speak it on a daily basis — just not with a novice like me.
I could go on and on about my own feelings; but I am wondering (from you readers);
Is my family being too closminded? Are DH and my sil being rude? I’d love to ehar your opinions.


first family reunion: first intercultural marriage, (more firsts)

November 12, 2010

My mother’s side of our family: (My mother’s mother’s side) decided to have their first family reunion, ever. We had never had one before. and, I would be bringing my new husband to the first one ever.
dominika took pics and I am not savvy enough to link the album that is on facebook to the blog page.
[Sorry, but if you find me on facebook, you can see them].
I must admit that I was a little anxious.
But, my mother was quite supportive.
It is worth noting that she was not very supportive of my first marriage and I think that she wants to make up for her bad behavior (even though it was more than a decade ago).

so, she calls and asks questions — naive ones, but with an inquisitive nature.
“does he have to pay your father to have you as his wife?”
“Are you allowed to touch his Holy Book, the Quran?”
“What if he wants more than one wife?”
“When you marry, will he let you work?”
“Will you start wearing the head scarf?”
Ok, I have had to field lots, but they were asked because she honestly “did” not know.
But, she has also been supportive of him:
“you should move closer to his work.”
did she forget that I just moved in March?
and, does she forget the hastle involved in packing????!!
anyway, sorry for the digression.

my daughter was there (she is also intercultural: African-American and white), but her and my dh were the only two brown folk.
and, it was in quite a remote setting: small country town (hard to find) with small fire station.
But, when we get there, we are greeted by many family members.
they are anxious to see my dh, just to say “hello.”
There were some who came around to talk.
My cousin M had some interesting stories about coal mining and DH and he talked a bit about the minars in Chile.
Sounds like we need to take a field trip to the mine to see first hand.

[this is one of the perks of being in an intercultural relationship — all the things that you have not done as a child, you can do under the presumption of “letting him experience it for the first time. — We are doing it in the name of cultural expansion.”]

My cousin, the prison guard, also had some interesting stories to tell.
He assures me that “yes, blind people are just like anyone else!” He knows because some have ended up in prison, as well.
… Way to get a prospective.
and, what did my dh eat?
Well, he doesn’t like turkey. He won’t eat ham. (I didn’t either). But, there was chicken which was spiced with basil and garlic. I thought that he would not like it, but he did.
I found out that he does like sweet potatoes.
He ate corn.
And, HE, like everyone else, thinks that my mother’s banana strawberry creamy dessert is the bomb.
Now, I think my mother likes my dh because… …. well, he has a job. — and a pretty good one, acording to my family’s standard of living.
My older sister’s husband just got a job as a maintenance man because my sister has decided to go back and get her masters.
He has not worked for 10 years.
And, my younger sister’s (as of October 1, an exact week after my own) husband does not like to work much.
My mother’s husband worked for quite a long time doing many things. they eventually owned a trucking business with about four trucks, but had to give it up to care for a grand child.
(not mine)
He, her husband, retired early and she still works part time at Walmart. She is a hard worker but has a problem with “lazy” guys. my dh has proven that he is not lazy and will provide….. big points with my mother.
So: a guy who has a job is pretty important and sometimes “rare” in our immediate family.
My older sister, who is a bit exclusive, anyway, only said: “I know many doctors named Ahmed.”
(she is a highly paid nurse).
[it is strange that her associates degree in nursing pays her more than my BS in social work and probably more than a Masters in this field would pay me].
My younger sister is much more chatty.
All in all, it was a good first and we were invited back.
They had a sale to pay for the use of the fire station. i decided to get a $2 fondu (don’t know how to spell it) set. My DH likes to collect radios. So, he paid $10 for an alarm clock radio.
[one which we have not even sat the alarm on, yet because it is digital and blind people can’t set the alarm].
He just had to have that radio. So, ok.
I am thinking about getting him xm radio for christmas to put in our room so he can listen to cricket on the xm radio and not his laptop. We don’t have and don’t need TV, necessarily.
But, I know that he really likes listening to the cricket matches.
[It takes the same amount of time to listen to cricket highlights, as it does to watch an entire basketball game].
……[I am just sayin’].
So, any good suggestions about a great “cricket” gift, let me know.
We will be celebrating Christmas; but I do wish that I could have got it in time for the upcoming EID.
[He mostlikely won’t read the blog unless I ask him to, so we are good].

Keeping on track; It was, for the most part, “normal.”
— or as normal as it can be.
No one made any remarks about terrorism, Islam or any other controversial subject.
Granted, there was no alcohol.
That always helps instigate snide remarks.
But, all in all, it was good.

We came home with two pieces of chicken, some cheesy potatoes and some mac&cheese. We had a small piece of cake: — remember he is trying to get in shape for the mini marathon?
Dominika ate the mac&cheese.
We had the rest for the next day’s dinner.