與外父母旅遊 – traveling with in-laws

I read so many nice comments from you admiring me for not killing my mother in law (so far – key word). Well, if you think living with her is a nightmare, just imagine traveling with your in-laws. image (3)And to be fair, I will mention my dad who is a great father in law but horrible travel companion.

I swear to you, when I think of it, most of the traveling Sing and I done as a couple is with someone. Either his or my relative. Most of the time his. Specifically speaking, it’s Momzilla.

If you think your honeymoon was bad just keep in mind I went on my honeymoon with Momzilla and my sister-in-law. Thank God Wah Wah is workaholic and no exotic beach will change that. A lot of our Hongkongese and Chinese friends go for a family trip right after the wedding, but they will get their private trip after that. I spent my first two weeks of marriage as wife, daughter-in-law and very cool sister-in-law.

The whole concept of your honeymoon spent with your relatives in bad enough. But it’s not the only time we traveled with someone.
In the past Momzilla used to travel a lot with Sing – they went to South Korea, they visited Japan few times. My appearance in Little Prince’s life didn’t change anything. To be honest, that’s not something unusual. Seen tons of young Asian men traveling with their mothers.
Together we went to Singapore, Thailand, Mainland China, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, we visited few cities in Poland.

I know I shouldn’t complain since a lot of people don’t even get to travel around their own country, but believe me – traveling with in-laws can be called, at minimum, ‘awkward’. And here’s why! 

  • They are there – they hear, they observe, they judge. You think you could relax on holidays, but no – one bad move and there will be ‘yap, yap, yap’ going on for hours because you didn’t get rid of all the tiny pieces of sand from your beach towel. image (1)
  • Finding food to eat is a nightmare. There’s that weird generation gap that stops people aged like my parents or Sing’s parents from eating ‘unknown food’. So instead of weird famous local streetfood we would wander around the city looking for McDonald’s (thanks Dad). I have to give Momzilla credit for at least trying. 90% of the time she will dislike the food, but at least she doesn’t give me that ‘Let’s try Irish Big Mac-face’.
  • Father/Mother knows best. I don’t really know why Sing agreed to that, maybe he was scared to get punched by much taller and stronger man, but when we went on a European tour with Momzilla my dad forbid Sing to rent a car and drive. Because of course bus driver gets much better weather conditions than a car driver next to him. That’s how we spent most of the time on a slow bus rather than getting into another city in much shorter period of time. Apply to rule to absolutely anything that has anything to do with traveling. 
  • There’s a high chance your relative will embarrass you at some point. And when I say high, I mean ‘100%’. I still remember when Momzilla burped during the breakfast buffet in Budapest. On one hand, both of us were soooo embarrassed and on the other one, she did it so casually… You should see that. Same with my mom, she’s not a ‘burper’, but she will always do something that will make me and my dad go in different direction.
  • You will end up as a translator. Doesn’t matter what time of the day or night. It doesn’t even matter that you don’t speak the local language, your oldies depend on you and you should be prepared before traveling here. Sometimes they will try to use imaginary sign language, but if you’re anywhere closer than 1km, you will have to take the responsibility of being the translator.
  • People might openly comment your situation. It’s not that I don’t know my MIL is here, trust me – she announces her presence every second. image
    I don’t need you say to your two besties ‘What a looser, traveling with his mom and girlfriend’.
    First of all, you should be smart enough to realize over 1 billion people speak Mandarin and my husband might know it too. Second of all, when you make a comment be sure you’re more than 1 meter away from the people you talk crap about. Third of all, at least he has girlfriend (at that time already wife) to travel with – from what I see you either don’t have a boyfriend at all or he doesn’t like personality enough to stand you for 11 straight hours you two would have to spend together at the airplane. Buuuurn. I’m sorry, I get bit mean when someone talks bad about Sing. I can call him my bitch if I want, because he’s my little cute and lovely hubby-bitch, but you don’t dare to say a word, at least not in my presence.
  • You will feel old. Let’s face it, with my parents being nearly 50 and Sing’s parents being almost 60, when we travel we have to be aware that there are some limitations due to their age and physical conditions. Sometimes I feel like we went to old people’s rehab center instead of being young couple on their holidays.

But to be honest, it wasn’t THAT bad after all. We could feel like dating again, every single time we go with someone, image (2)we will sneak out of the hotel room at night and just walk around the city. First time we did it in Guangzhou, eating some ice cream we got in convenience store and now we continue this tradition. It gives a little spice to our ‘old people’s relationship’.

If I have a change, I prefer to be alone with my own husband, it’s more romantic and natural, but knowing my life I will keep on traveling with our relatives. At least you can read my blog and laugh at my pain!

Have you ever traveled with your relatives? How did you like it? Would you share your tips how to enjoy yourself despite the situation? Share your stories and experience!

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39 thoughts on “與外父母旅遊 – traveling with in-laws

  1. Andy went with his parents to Hong Kong. He was solicited by a prostitute in Kowloon and his parents tried to fix him up with a friend of a friend’s daughter. I am not sure which experience was less pleasant, but the combination of both made him swear he was never, ever, going on a trip with them again.

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    1. Once on a trip to Korea, we had just left the Chosun Hotel, I was walking beside my husband, and we were holding our (then young) daughters’ hands. The Korean prostitute who solicited him couldn’t have failed to see that we were together. I guess she assumed I couldn’t understand her, and he could meet up with her later.

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  2. And here I am again and laugh at your pain 😀
    This time when we go to China next month my dad will join us again (mom never wants to go to China again xD ). Usually you would think that getting around with such an old man (turning 75 this year) would be hard due to limitions of age but no…he is more active than most people in their twenties. During summer time he goes bicycling each day between 20-60km in the morning before starting to create work at their summer cottage such as chopping trees down or similar.
    But when I am with my in-laws, oh noooooo. First of all they move at a speed that snails overtake us sometimes, then they do not want to try any local food as food outside of China is very bad. So we always end up eating in some shady Chinese restaurants which most of the times have so horrid food but according to them it is still better than any European food -sigh-

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  3. Your stories are incredible! I appreciate your honesty (it keeps me laughing!) I’m new to your blog so I’m curious- does your MIL know that you write about her??

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  4. Oh I know your pain so well! We spent our honeymoon with my Peruvian in-laws and brothers in-lawWell basically we were constantky looking for some Peruvian food in Italy… I managed to have 1 pizza in Latino place. No visiting places but market shopping. Being a translator… I was sick of Spanish after 2 days haha
    The hardest week of my life.

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  5. What the hell was that?? Honeymoon with MIL and SIL. That’s a technically impossible thing! That thing is not called a honeymoon at all! Please threaten Sing to get a proper one! 😀

    But, seriously, you could totally use this against Momzilla next time she does the baby talk on you. Like… “How do you expect us to have baby when you even come along during our honeymoon to be a freaking LIGHT BULB??”

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    1. I think the only trips we were alone was LA, Hawaii and Paris – I don’t count going to HK without Momzilla’s knowledge 😀 I think she was there to make sure we are actually working on making a grandchild, but sorry – not gonna happen with you next doors 😀

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  6. Very well written. You highlighted the main difference between marrying mommy’s boy and a self-made man. My friends and I never encountered such problem. We paid for our own vacations and save for our own wedding. Hence, mommy and daddy practically have no say most of the time. We even save for our own college fee. For master and phd degrees, we received scholarships. Young people these days are so financially dependent on their parents and then complain so much about their lack of freedom. They don’t even realize that they are the ones putting themselves into such dilemma. Hilarious!

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      1. Thank you. To arrive at such awareness, one went through unimaginable hardship. I used to think kids with rich parents are extremely lucky until I came across a guy who committed suicide. He had everything. Rich, good looking, smart and kind but extremely stressful life. He couldn’t perform in medical school so one day he jumped down from the rooftop of his condominium. All his family members are doctors. He must have been really depressed for failing his parents. This incident changed my life forever. After that, I think very differently about life. Lina, I hope you understand why your parents-in-law behave the way they did. The Chinese government and system made them this way. They are very reliant on their children due to poor social benefits coupled with ignorance. Due to fear of abandonment in their old age, they think by having a control over you to instill obedience solves everything. However, this approach only tends to backfire.

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        1. Well, to be honest they have enough money in properties and savings (yay Momzilla’s sense!) to afford a caregiver, not to mention Sing has a sister. I just think – as for our family – it’s just because they always been close (Sing and Momzilla) and that never changed and probably never will. Well – my luck, should have checked is it ‘marry one, get one free’ thing haha ;)!
          And I’m so sorry about your friend, awful history.

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          1. Having enough savings to afford caregiver is never the same as real affection from family members 🙂 My parents were super happy when I treated the family to dinner after receiving my first paycheck. Also, they bragged to almost everyone when I brought them for an overseas vacation 😉

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            1. Momzilla lives between Hong Kong, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Europe (previously America). Sister in law is the closest to her when it goes to distance, so sadly being sure there’s someone to take care of inlaws when they get old (family member or not) is the best we can do from here. The bragging, same with my parents – whenever we give them something they will show off to the rest of the fmaily haha!

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  7. You are very lucky to be travelling with your in-laws. Even when we go to a large family event (say, a grandparent’s milestone birthday) on the other side of the country (5 hr plane trip) My in-laws travel separately (themselves, with SIL and a boyfriend if she has one, the in-laws paying for everything) and DH and I are on our own. They don’t want to do things with us, they don’t even ask us to go for coffee, they barely acknowledge our presence. Not sure why, because DH was the perfect son, he did everything for his parents while his sister never did a single thing for them.
    They tried to ruin our wedding and tried numerous times to break us up. All this because I am white and he is Chinese. His sister has white boyfriends, but that is alright. They treat the boyfriends even better than my husband as a sort of way of punishing him for being with me and not staying home to work for them and going back to HK to find a wife when they were ready.
    Don’t take things like family vacations for granted. As horrible as my in-laws are, I wish we could go somewhere together as a sort of family unity. Instead we just get rejection.

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    1. That’s a completely different view on this topic. Sorry to hear that! I know I’m pretty lucky, but you know what they say – the grass is always greener… If my MIL was less intense (?) person, I bet I would enjoy it more! But then on the other hand, looking at your story, I’m pretty lucky… 😦

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  8. I have never been on a trip with my bf’s parents, except short day trips to Shanghai and the countryside. They almost never leave Suzhou! Imagine, Shanghai is only 80 km away and they had not been there in 25 years…

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    1. Sing’s outside grandma never actually left Shanghai. Like EVER. And you know what’s the reason? Because if she doesn’t dust every day her house will be dirty and that’s unacceptable! She first hand washes laundry then uses machine… I smell OCD

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  9. Each year we take one or two family trips. We’ve had some great trips to places like the Mayan Riviera and St. Johns and Glacier National Park. Since our trips include several families and three generations, it takes a lot of effort to plan things that will suit everyone. It helps if we make room for times when we will split up and do our own thing. I try my best to keep up with my children and grandchildren, but it’s not easy.

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  10. Thank you for the giggle! I’ve never travelled per se with in laws, but holidays as a teenager with my parents, was much the same. Even when I go back and visit them now!

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  11. I’ve travel with my in laws at least once a year. That in itself is alright – even though father in law can be embarrassing. They will only travel with a hong Kong group tour, which is what bugs both my husband and I.

    Getting up early every single day, only seeing half of the landmarks (at top speed) and a guide who speaks only in Cantonese aren’t my cup of tea.

    Mind you, I’ve been living with them for 3 years now, so I understand how you feel about being alone with Sing!

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  12. lol. FOOD is one of the main reasons why i prefer not to travel with family, when possible. they are not as adventurous as me, plus their inability to walk as much mean choices of food need to be within close range. me wanting to try a possibly good european fare further down from here? forget it. let’s go for that questionable chinese place we just passed by earlier. at least they have rice. sigh…

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