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Russian MIL visiting - Page 2

post #21 of 91
Quote:
Oh, and I don't know if this is cultural, but my family is big into changing their clothes when they walk into their homes. They have "house" clothes and clothes for going out and about. I
Yes, this is very common in Russian culture as well. As are the slippers you mentioned. I think EdnaMarie pointed this out, too

These are both actually customs that I've adopted myself. I feel much more comfortable at home in slippers and "house clothes"
post #22 of 91
It's funny to hear that there are so many similarities. How about this one? It always makes me laugh. In Serbia, you are never allowed to put your handbag on the floor, because this will make you go bankrupt. Have you heard about this?
post #23 of 91
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Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
It's funny to hear that there are so many similarities. How about this one? It always makes me laugh. In Serbia, you are never allowed to put your handbag on the floor, because this will make you go bankrupt. Have you heard about this?
No, I haven't heard that one, but Russia has a lot of similar ones. Like you can't give a wallet as a gift or, if you do, you have put some small amount of money in it first (same thing about going broke). And you can't whistle indoors or you'll whistle your money away. There are A LOT of them.

Oh, OP, if you are thinking about greeting your MIL with flowers, make sure you give an ODD number--even numbered bouquets are only for funerals. And better to avoid yellow flowers--they symoblize parting, separation, etc.
post #24 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
It's funny to hear that there are so many similarities. How about this one? It always makes me laugh. In Serbia, you are never allowed to put your handbag on the floor, because this will make you go bankrupt. Have you heard about this?
Yes, we have that in Poland too!

And, also, it's bad luck to own an empty wallet. So, you should always have some money in there - even if it's just a cent. It's custom, when giving wallets, to put a cent in there so the giver doesn't go bankrupt.

Re: flowers - in Poland people very rarely give flowers. Their association is almost always with graveyards and funerals. In fact, that's where most of the florist shopes are located - right next to cemetaries.
post #25 of 91
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Originally Posted by EVC View Post
That's what I've tried to explain to dh. "How are you?" is just another way of saying "Hello", and isn't actually a question.

And, darn it, many European languages (including Russian) have "good day" as a standard greeting--and you say it even when you have had a really crappy day and when you are secretly wishing that the person you are talking to will have a crappy day too
Exactly!
post #26 of 91
Oh, another thing. About the house clothes / outdoor clothes... If you are among those who like to go outside in sweatsuits, sneakers, shorts, or God forbid pajama pants ( ) maybe you'd like to make an effort to get dressed in more formal clothing for leaving the house in. My family would be horrified if I went outside in "comfy clothes". I don't mean formal clothing like dressing to the nines, but say, you don't wear your gym clothes out to go to the bank in. That kind of thing.

Then again, I can also think of a million little old ladies who go outside in their plain old housedresses. Maybe it's a city/country thing.
post #27 of 91
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Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
Re: flowers - in Poland people very rarely give flowers. Their association is almost always with graveyards and funerals. In fact, that's where most of the florist shopes are located - right next to cemetaries.
In Hungary we had lots of flower giving. Whenever we went to see my grandmother my mom would have me present her with a little bundle of flowers we would buy at the subway station from the little old ladies there. (And we went to see her a couple of times a week! But she may just have felt sorry for the flower sellers, they were practically beggars, some of them.)

And they would bring flowers for pretty much all other occasions as well. Graduations, dinner parties, illness, name days... etc)

Oh, do you know if your MIL's name day is coming up? Do they do that in Russia? In Hungary they always announce what name day it is that day and everyone celebrates people with that name. Small presents or drinks or something. Birthdays are private family affairs but name days everyone would celebrate, like people you work with or your friends etc.
post #28 of 91
OP, is your Russian MIL Orthodox? If so, she may very well observe the fasts (and Lent is coming up like a freight train - starts the first Monday in March!), so that would mean no meat/no dairy on Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as maybe no fish or oil (depends on the locality, I'm told the fish or oil thing differs some regionally). She might also like to go to church while she's here if she is Orthodox. Just PM me if she is, and I can direct you to the place online to find a Russian Orthodox parish.

Kyyrah - the name's day thing comes from people celebrating on the day commemorating their patron saint, usually the one they're named after (Orthodox Christians do this, as well as Roman Catholics in some European countries).
post #29 of 91
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Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
Kyyrah - the name's day thing comes from people celebrating on the day commemorating their patron saint, usually the one they're named after (Orthodox Christians do this, as well as Roman Catholics in some European countries).
In Hungary it's become totally secular too, though...
post #30 of 91
: My Russian (well, not ethnically, but culturally) MIL is coming in a few months, after the baby is born. These tips are really helpful!
post #31 of 91
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Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
"How are you" is a conventional politeness which doesn't mean "how do you feel" any more than "good-bye" means "God be with you" from an atheist. It's just rude if you don't say it. Speakers of French and Italian don't really care if the cashier they've never met has an especially good day, but they still use "bonjour"/ "buon giorno" to say hello to him/ her because it's rude not to. Culture shock is alleviated when conventional politenesses are not taken literally.
Oh, yeah, I know that's what it means in the US. So when cisiting the US, I say it and smile. However, that's not how it's percieved in Europe
I think it's a very good point to remember about not taking conversational politenesses literally.
How ever it's also a great thing, WRT culture shock to just keep an eye on the locals. If noone says "how are you?" then it's probably not because they are rude people. More likely it's because it's seen as a very intrusive question.
post #32 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
It's funny to hear that there are so many similarities. How about this one? It always makes me laugh. In Serbia, you are never allowed to put your handbag on the floor, because this will make you go bankrupt. Have you heard about this?
This is funny, I've only heard this from African-American folks from the south -- the fear is that "your money will be low." I have a girlfriend who practically dives to catch my purse before it hits the floor in her house (I forget the rule sometimes, you see).
post #33 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyyrah View Post
In Hungary we had lots of flower giving. Whenever we went to see my grandmother my mom would have me present her with a little bundle of flowers we would buy at the subway station from the little old ladies there. (And we went to see her a couple of times a week! But she may just have felt sorry for the flower sellers, they were practically beggars, some of them.)

And they would bring flowers for pretty much all other occasions as well. Graduations, dinner parties, illness, name days... etc)
My experience, too. My in-laws are Hungarian, and often when we've visited, I've been given flowers for one occasion or another. I always found this funny, since I'm not in my house, and it's not like I can bring them home... they do the most beautiful arrangements, though.
post #34 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
OP, is your Russian MIL Orthodox? If so, she may very well observe the fasts (and Lent is coming up like a freight train - starts the first Monday in March!), so that would mean no meat/no dairy on Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as maybe no fish or oil (depends on the locality, I'm told the fish or oil thing differs some regionally).
Actually, it's supposed to be fasting *every* Wednesday and Friday, and during the fast periods, every single day. I wonder how many people do this strictly, though...
post #35 of 91
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Originally Posted by Barbamama View Post
This is funny, I've only heard this from African-American folks from the south -- the fear is that "your money will be low." I have a girlfriend who practically dives to catch my purse before it hits the floor in her house (I forget the rule sometimes, you see).
That's funny, my friends do that too ... Funny to see this "rule" exists in so many other places as well
post #36 of 91

So funny!

I am so glad to have found this thread! I am living in Lithuania right now where my DH is from, we do Sunday dinners with his family, and other events. they also came to visit us after she was born in Costa Rica.

try as i might, so times i really feel like im living in a foreign country... go figure! The question for me is this, should i obey the 'when in Rome" idea, or should i show them who i really am everyone try an understand each other? Does this change when they come to my house as opposed to when i am in there house?

They think my ways are strange, i think the same of them, but slowly i thinks its getting better. It the start i had a really hard time understanding that it was just cultural and that his mothers comments about DD not wearing more clothes etc are not an attack on me.

My best advise- try and not react. Just let it go. Do it your way. Pretend not to understand and happily go about your business. MOst of all- try and keep things calm and sweet while you can- she will be gone soon and you want to give you MIL and you DH this special time to share with you LO.

Oh, and FYI- I dont bundle DD no matter what they say, she hates getting dressed. I dont wear slippers, just socks, its my way, i explained they make my feet hot. But i do eat dinner at 8pm even when DD in grumpy, and I do try and give them alone time with her so they can bond with out me. Its give and take. GOOD LUCK!
post #37 of 91
I personally think that if the MIL is there for a short period of time- three months is kind of mid-term- then MIL should be accommodated as much as possible. It is really her time with the baby and when she leaves everything should go back to normal, but she will have had a MUCH better time and it will make long-term relations SO much better. Yes, absolutely stand up for the health and safety issues (MIL may not hold baby in the car, MIL may not administer watered down honey and vodka to the infant, etc.) but for anything that has no chance of leaving a long-term effect, try to give a little.

And you can give her flowers- just, the right number and color. Red is good!
post #38 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
OP, is your Russian MIL Orthodox? If so, she may very well observe the fasts (and Lent is coming up like a freight train - starts the first Monday in March!), so that would mean no meat/no dairy on Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as maybe no fish or oil (depends on the locality, I'm told the fish or oil thing differs some regionally). She might also like to go to church while she's here if she is Orthodox. Just PM me if she is, and I can direct you to the place online to find a Russian Orthodox parish.

Kyyrah - the name's day thing comes from people celebrating on the day commemorating their patron saint, usually the one they're named after (Orthodox Christians do this, as well as Roman Catholics in some European countries).
Have her make blini for Maslenitsa - great fun, and a great way to make her feel welcome!

But, I'd differ on the observance of Lent - what you describe, Tradd, is standard for the entire year, but not Great Lent. Great Lent requires that level of observance for all seven weeks, save Sundays.
post #39 of 91
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Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
But, I'd differ on the observance of Lent - what you describe, Tradd, is standard for the entire year, but not Great Lent. Great Lent requires that level of observance for all seven weeks, save Sundays.
I know that, but it sounded like MIL is only going to be here in a few weeks for a few weeks, so she'd be gone before Great Lent began.
post #40 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
I know that, but it sounded like MIL is only going to be here in a few weeks for a few weeks, so she'd be gone before Great Lent began.
Uumm... OP said she's coming in Feb... for three months. So she may well be here for Pascha, let alone Great Lent. Just sayin'.
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