There are all sorts of assumptions and questions that people have when you are a young married couple:
“I could never get married so young.”
“Don’t you think you should have enjoyed your youth?”
“Shouldn’t you have dated more to have a better idea of what you want?”
“So, when are the babies coming? You shouldn’t wait too long, you know.”
But when you are a young internationally married couple- Ohmygoodness.
The questions. (said with an eye twitch)
Sometimes, they are just too much for me to handle – mostly because they are always the same and I have answered them to many different people many times. I mean, show some originality! Just kidding… but really.
Below are some common questions that really tend to irk me.
“So… How do your parents feel about this?” or
“Your parents are okay with you just getting married and living here?”
This is the number one question I get asked here in South Africa- and it annoys me to no avail.
Last night, for the bazillonth time, I was asked this by a 60 year old Polish man who lives in Canada. I was this close to asking him “Well, how do your parents feel about you living in Canada?”. But I didn’t because I knew he was well-meaning, as most everyone is.
I get it- things are different here. In my experienced opinion, ‘kids’ stay kids much longer here. Some of my husbands’ friends, who are in their late twenties, still live at their parents’ home. It’s really not an uncommon occurrence. In the US, we move out right after graduation. Right after I turned 18 I graduated High School and that day I moved out of my parents’ house, and many of my friends did, as well. I got my own apartment, my own job, and paid all of my own bills. I was an adult in that instance of my life in every form of the word (except for that pesky no-drinking-until-you’re-21 law… but more on that another time). I have my own car, a great credit score, my own credit cards, paid for my own wedding, have had professional jobs, put myself through a college degree….. urrrrgh.
Because of this stark difference, I can understand why older people in South Africa ask me, at 24 years of age, how my parents feel about me living in another country. But come on, people. I am an adult. Why would I need to ask my mother permission? If I did she would be so confused. She would tell me “Well, Victoria, you can make your own decisions, you’re an adult.”
So, yes. My mother misses me, and I miss her. But she knows i’m happy and safe and being taken very good care of – she is happy for me and trusts me to make my own life decisions, dang it!
I firmly believe that in the US, older adults give young adults a lot more credit and definitely more respect. In the US, I have worked with people old enough to be my parent or grandparent, and they respected me and my opinions. Don’t get me wrong, I still called them “Sir” or “Ma’am” because that’s how I was raised and I truly do respect my elders, but they didn’t try to make me feel like a kid, they respected me as a young adult. Here in South Africa, i’ve noticed (a lot) that older adults really have a big thing about keeping their thumb on younger adults, and making them feel inferior and like children. It is so annoying.
Sorry for that rant- but it’s a big deal and has bugged me for a long time.
So in conclusion, asking me how my parents feel about me living in another country is exceptionally annoying.
“How long can you stay here?”
Uhh… I’m not a criminal, so I went through the legal process and got residency.
AND If I did have to leave in two months or two weeks due to the crazy paperwork system, you are probably hitting on a sore button, bro.
“Are you ever going to live there?”
No. Never. That thought hasn’t ever crossed our minds.
Are you kidding me? Our lives will always be a combination of both countries. We will probably at some point in the near future, even have our own house in both. That’s actually the dream plan. So, yes, at some point we will officially ‘live’ there. But we will ‘live’ in both places, because our lives, businesses, family, and friends are in both places.
“What will happen when you have children?”
You know they allow babies and children on planes and give them passports, right? ….Our children will grow, live in both places, have cultural backgrounds from both, speak Afrikaans and English fluently, have a passport to Germany, South Africa, and the US, probably hate us as teenagers because each US school summer holiday they will spend in South Africa in wintertime…. All good stuff like that. :)
So there ‘ya go. A comprehensive list of questions (even though they are well- meaning) that get on my nerves.
Are you an expat or in an international relationship?
What are some of the questions you get asked most frequently?