Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Germany: In-laws edition

Hi! This time I'm really back! We got home last night after 20 straight hours of traveling (note to self: never again agree to fly through Dallas when going from Europe to the East Coast. It will add approximately 6 hours to your trip). I'm sorry to say that I was way too exhausted to do anything with photos, like upload them or organize them, so a full trip recap with photos will have to wait until tomorrow. Today I thought I'd go into a discussion of the in-laws, since that part doesn't really need photos.

So, first of all, things with Torsten's parents went really well. Everything was much more relaxed than last time, and his mother was really nice and not at all passive-aggressive. Both his parents were really friendly to me, and even managed to discuss wedding stuff with us without getting shocked and appalled expressions at their face (assumption being that appalled faces have to do with cost of wedding and not idea of their son marrying me of all people, but you never know).

And the biggest miracle of all is that his mother did NOT say anything to him about how he is always welcome to come home if things don't work out with me! She hardly even cried when she said goodbye, AND she hugged me like five times and seemed sad to see me go too, AND when she was saying goodbye to me she said all sorts of nice things in German, which means that I didn't really understand them but I understood enough to tell that they were nice!

Plus, Torsten's dad's birthday party was great. It lasted for about eight hours and even though I don't speak the language, I had a great time and wasn't bored until the last hour or so, when everyone started feeling the effect of all the beer they had drunk and having long, drawn-out conversations that Torsten didn't translate. His whole extended family was really nice and friendly, even the ones that Torsten said aren't usually that nice. And a couple of them spoke basic English, so I actually managed to have a few conversations over the course of the evening.

And Torsten's dad gave a toast thanking everyone for coming, and he talked about how wonderful his wife was, and then he talked about how wonderful Torsten was, and then he talked about how wonderful I was. I didn't understand most of what he was saying, but I could tell that it was sweet and well-intentioned, and I really appreciated the gesture.

Basically, unlike last time, I actually felt included in the family on this trip, and it seemed that his parents felt that way too. And it was such a relief after the sensation I had last time of not being part of the family at all.

Even his grandmother was nice, and she is never nice. She seems to like me a lot, although it's hard to tell why since we can't actually have a conversation at all. The first time she saw me she went on about how much weight I had lost and how good I looked. Of course, then she negated that the next time by telling Torsten that she couldn't believe how much weight I had lost, and that I must have been really fat before. Oh, and she also asked him if I would go with him if he ever moved away from DC. Because apparently marriage means something different in the US than it does in Germany. Still, though, she wasn't being mean or malicious when she asked those questions--she's just an old woman and slightly confused and definitely tactless. So I choose not to take offense.

Anyway, you guys asked a bunch of great questions yesterday (and if you haven't asked one yet, feel free to go back and do so now!), and I do not want to answer them all at once, because oh my god that would be a really long post. So instead, I will try to answer the questions in posts that they are relevant to. And there was one question yesterday about in-laws, so I will go ahead and answer it now. It's from Marie, who asks, "If you could tell your soon to be mother-in-law what you really think of her (without any repercussions), what would you say?"

My answer to this question probably would have been a lot different before this last trip. Given how well things went this time, I don't actually have that much I would feel compelled to say to her. Before, I would have had plenty to say about how I would really like her to accept that even though I'm American and likely to keep her son from ever moving in next door with her, he is happy with me and that should be the most important thing to her, as his mother. And also probably something about her, er, frugality.

But at the moment I'm in a pretty good mood about the whole in-law thing, so I will end by focusing on the positive. My future parents-in-law like me! I think! And I like them too.

40 comments:

  1. Yeah for making inroads with the soon-to-be in-laws. I know how much better it is when you get along with them. It makes family gatherings enjoyable. Actually something you might look forward to. Amazing! Yeah!

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  2. Yay Jess!! I'm so glad things worked out so much better this time! Maybe they just needed a bit of time to get use to the idea of you two getting married. And it's great that the rest of the family was welcoming as well (oh and like you said, his grandma is just older and I've noticed grandmas can and usually do say whatever is on their mind).

    Can't wait to see pics! And thanks for answering my question. :)

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  3. IT's awesome that things went better this time! I can't imagine how difficult it would be to speak different languages! (maybe good in some cases...)

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  4. I'm glad the trip went well. It's a good feeling to know that they don't hate you!

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  5. It's great to hear that things went well with the in-laws! Figuring out how the other family works can be the weirdest thing ever.

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  6. It's great that you get along with your in-laws. That will definitely be important in the long run. Glad you enjoyed your trip!

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  7. I'm so glad the trip was a success! Your MIL probably was so touched by your willingness to travel so far :)
    Now if only I could get along with my MIL!

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  8. I'm so glad that things were better with the in-laws this time around!

    I can't think of any questions but look forward to reading your responses to them.

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  9. You ARE part of the family. And doesn't that feel good. Hooray for you!

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  10. hooray! welcome back! i'm SO GLAD things went so well with the MIL. that's such a great surprise. aw, it's making me happy to think about it. congrats on being so awesome that you easily win over even overprotective, skeptical MILs ;-)

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  11. Yay; glad to hear it went well. Welcome back!

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  12. Welcome back! I'm glad it all went smoothly. Can't wait to see the pics!

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  13. I'm so glad things went smoothly! Glad to have you back on our soil, though :)

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  14. Yay! How wonderful to have a really positive experience with the in-laws. Lots of times, people just take a lot longer to warm up to new people (and they do it in different ways).

    Sounds like T's mom / parents are committed to supporting you guys in your marriage and THAT is what is really important.

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  15. Hey! Welcome Home!! I'm glad things worked out for you and that you were liked by all.

    I can't wait to see photos and hear about what you did while you were there.

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  16. Welcome back!

    I'm so glad that everything went well with the in-laws. It's stressful enough that you can't communicate through conversation without all the passive-agressive crap.

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  17. I'm so glad that relations with the inlaws are on an upwing. That can be quite the bumpy ride! Welcome home!

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  18. I'm so glad things went better this time around! I knew they would love you :)

    PS I may be asking you and Torston to help plan my trip to germany in october! I've never been and need ideas :)

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  19. It's got to be so hard when there's a language barrier; I can't even imagine. I'm glad things went so much better this time around!

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  20. YAY!!! God, I know how awful it can be to feel outside the loop, and I can only imagine how compounded that feeling is when everyone speaks a different language! Oy. Can't wait to see pictures!

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  21. I've been so lame at checking in on my blogging buds that I have a lot of catch up to do!

    I'm so glad your in-law time was good. It took years for my relationship to change with mine. I was definitly NOT their first choice BUT you'd never know it now and they are truly wonderful people.

    Now that I'm a mom of boys I understand how hard it much be to let them go to someone you don't totally "click" with or understand. Kudos to you for being so great!

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  22. I'm so glad to hear things went better this time!

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  23. glad to hear the trip went much better than the last time! ;)

    can't wait to see pictures!

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  24. Welcome back! Glad it went better this time. Can't wait for pics!

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  25. That's so exciting that it went so well! Can't wait to see pictures!

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  26. I'm so happy it went smoothly and you feel like a part of the family!

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  27. They came to their senses! Great to hear you had a good trip. Family can be so annoying sometimes. And yet sometimes they're just lovely too.

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  28. Glad you trip to visit the future in-laws went so much better this time around! Germans can be difficult sometimes, but they do warm up in the end!

    Can't wait to see all of your pictures!

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  29. I'm so glad that this trip was considerably different than the last one. Let's hope the situation keeps improving with each trip! Before you know it, you'll be speaking German right along with them. :)

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  30. Glad to hear it worked out better for you. This will certainly make the wedding less stressful.

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  31. Welcome back!!

    I'm so glad you had a successful trip with good bits with the in-laws!

    Missed you!
    xox

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  32. yay! I'm so glad you had a better trip to see his family this time. I would find it hard to not get along with in-laws. Yay for them seeing how wonderful you and Torsten are together! I look forward to seeing pictures!

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  33. Im glad things were better this time around. I have no experience with to be in laws but Im sure it can be rough but once you develop a bond its there to stay.

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  34. Well that is GOOD news about the inlaws! Hooray! My favourite part was Torsten's grama being "slightly confused and definitely tactless." Hah!
    Glad you're both back safely.

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  35. This is all so great. I have a small family that I'm really, really not close to and I've always been closer to my boyfriends' families throughout the years. I cannot WAIT to have in-laws.

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  36. she negated that the next time by telling Torsten that she couldn't believe how much weight I had lost, and that I must have been really fat before



    hahahaha this really really made me crack up. the image of a batty granny lacking tact? so so funny! welcome back!!

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  37. YAY! So glad the trip went well and the family was kind to you. Feeling included goes a long way toward family relations.

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  38. P.S. I tagged you in a meme, if you are interested. :)

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