Meeting the parents can be daunting. But meeting the parents from another culture – well this just amps up the anxiety a few more notches.
Erin “What if I do something offensive?”
Ivan “It’s not a test! They are lovely people, you’ll be fine”
Erin “They know i’m white right? And also quite loud and rude sometimes? I won’t be anything like your ex girlfriends”
Ivan “Of course they know! Just be yourself. They will love you”
I was so nervous to meet Ivan’s parents, which for me, didn’t feel very comfortable. I thrive on meeting new people. I’m a nurse! I win people over all day! I don’t tend to get nervous about these kind of things…but this however was different. Most Filipino people are by nature very quiet, humble, reserved, shy, gentle and softly spoken. None of these words would ever be associated with me.
*Internal monologue to self* Erin, you’re going to have to tone it down a few notches here girl. Be lady like. Think before you speak. No swearing. Ew and don’t do any of your gross burps either. Smile, but not too much, you don’t want to look creepy.
I shared these internal thoughts with Ivan. After he stopped laughing some 10 minutes later he said “You’re not meeting the Queen! They are normal people too. It’s nice that you want to impress them but don’t change yourself to do that, just be you. But yeah, no giant burps k?”
The anxiety was uncalled for; they were extremely lovely, very welcoming and much more relaxed than me. I drunk beer, ate way too much food, screamed at the TV during a scary movie and sung karaoke with Ivan’s family for a few hours (a bit different to what i’m used to but I went along with it anyway).
Now, for poor Ivan, he faces a different problem. First off, I have 2 sets of parents, so double the pressure. Secondly, they are quite “out there” in terms of verbal banter and…..”Just brace yourself” I said to Ivan. “Oh and don’t take anything to heart!”.
When Ivan first met my Dad, he told him; “We used to have a Filipino servant but we buried him out the back”. Oh God here we go I thought…….Next came “We have some fresh dog meat, that’s what you guys eat isn’t it?”. I could of died. That was, until, Ivan replied with “I don’t eat dog meat, but I will eat your dog”. *Seal of approval gained from Erin’s Dad*
Before I introduced Ivan to my Mum and Step Dad I told them both; “Be nice please! He’s really shy and he might take awhile to come out of his shell”. They both gave me their word. When Ivan met my Mum, we were having a lovely family dinner. The dialogue went something like this;
Mum “So Ivan, do you have any hobbies?”
Ivan “Yes I have quite a few actually – photography, playing the guitar, basketball”
Mum “That’s great. Do you do Kung Fu too?”
Erin’s Step Dad “CHRISTINE!”
Ivan “Haha it’s okay. No, I don’t do Kung Fu”
Erin “Mum you can’t just ask that! Not all Asian people do Kung Fu!”
Mum *looks surprised* “Really?”
Later on that night, I apologised to Ivan. Luckily he found it all pretty funny and wasn’t offended at all. Phew I thought, because “That was only the tip of the iceberg!”.
Ivan then went on to meet one of my Nana’s, Betty. I love old people, they have no filter and it’s always a bit of a surprise as to what’s going to come out of their mouth.
*Ivan and Betty meet* – It appears to be a great success, they chat away, laugh for a bit and then Ivan return’s to his seat at the table. Ivan say’s “I think your Nana likes my shoes”. I ask “Whys that?”. He replies “She told me I could park my boots under her bed any day”. After squirting water through my nose and laughing for a few minutes, I had to then explain to Ivan what that expression really meant….
Later on, Nana Betty says to me – “Erin, he’s far too handsome for you and he’s also far too young!”. Thanks Nana! Love the honesty!
Families. Gotta love em.
P.s For those of you who don’t know what the above expression means, click here with caution 🙂