or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › Visiting Family Overseas... time, expense, agony, and fun!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Visiting Family Overseas... time, expense, agony, and fun!

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
This seems like the perfect place for this, so...

DH is Iranian, and his family lives in Iran. The only option to get there is a miserable 24 hour trip via airplane. There's not much to do there, I don't speak the language, and discovered on my first trip that I am allergic to lamb, which is very commonly used (think daily or near-daily use). Every time I go, I end up exhausting 3 weeks of vacation time (i.e. almost all of it for a given year) and am genearlly miserable.

Of course, I want my DS to know his family, and they want to see him so much, but I made the last two trips there by myself with DS and it was very contentious both times because I don't speak the language and only one of their family does, but he certainly didn't want to be tied to me the whole visit.

We went with DH in 2004, and I took DS by myself in 2005 and 2006. We skipped last year, and although my DH is pressuring me, I want to skip this year, too. DH is consumed by his business responsibilities and will not be able to go.

BUT DS starts Kindergarten in August, and our days of being foot loose and fancy free with our time will fly out the window. At that point we will probably only be able to go at Christmas (for 2 weeks) or spring break (probably 2 weeks but no more because we'd be missing a week of school). I am putting a moritorium on summer travel because of the heat and the lack of air conditioning.

So, as you can see, it is a big problem! I like my in-laws, they've never been anything other than kind and accomodating towards me, but on the flip side I hate using my whole vacation allotment for what amounts to a non-vacation.

Share your stories, trials, tribulations, and successes with visiting family overseas here!
post #2 of 31
I hear you about using up the whole vacation to go see relatives.

My problem is that MY parents also live on the other side of the country from us, so after using up all our vacation to go see one side . . . then what? And what about taking a family vacation from time to time???? (sigh)

Don't get me wrong, I actually really like going to see the in-laws (in Croatia). They are wonderful people,, and they have a family house on one of the islands, so it's really a great vacation for kids. It's more about not having enough vacation time period . . .

Learning the language made a HUGE difference for me, I have to say. I remember what it was like the first few times I went (before knowing ANY of the language). Although most educated people over there speak at least SOME English I could get by for necessities, but it was SO tiring going out with DH's friends and not knowing any of what they were saying! They were nice and translated whenever they remembered to, but it is just not the same. I like to study languages, so since then I have tried my best to pick up Croatian, although I am far from fluent.

I know the cultural differences with visiting Iran would be much greater than in central Europe, though, and I can't help much with that. I do, however, have a funny story about a friend of ours who took his (American) wife to Tehran to visit his parents for the first time! She spoke NONE of the language, and her DH had to go out to visit someone. He was going to be longer than expected, and so sent someone back to tell her not to worry. The man knocked on the door, and when our friend's wife answered, he said "I have a massage for you". She about fell over until she realized he meant "message". To this day this is a running joke in our family whenever someone takes a phone message! : )
post #3 of 31
LOl that is a great story!!!!


I don't have good advice for you OP. I can stand three days with my inlaws and then I'm climbing the walls! Could you only go for 10 days to iran if you go this summer? Why does it have to be for 3 weeks?
post #4 of 31
Quote:
There's not much to do there
In IRAN??? I guess you didn't go during the outdoor season? Wow.

We will be in this position soon. Though, I actually like it here and I can speak some of the language (and the "second" language of the country) so it's not so bad.

Being allergic to lamb in Iran is kind of funny in a "I'm-so-glad-that's-not-me" way, though. How horrible. Like going to China and finding out you're allergic to rice.

Could his in-laws meet you in Turkey? It's much easier and Istanbul is lovely, not too far or expensive for them, and it is a very fun place. However, they also eat a lot of lamb.
post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AladdinsLamp View Post
LOl that is a great story!!!!


I don't have good advice for you OP. I can stand three days with my inlaws and then I'm climbing the walls! Could you only go for 10 days to iran if you go this summer? Why does it have to be for 3 weeks?
This is an Iranian "thing." If you're going all that way, and paying for plane fare, you MUST stay for a long time. In fact, the first time we went for 4 weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahtob View Post
In IRAN??? I guess you didn't go during the outdoor season? Wow. May I advise you never to come see the rest of Central Asia because compared to Iran, we really have nothing to do. People here go to Iran for parties and kicks!!!
It is a beautiful place. However (and I sound like such a pansy here) after the first trip where we traveled around the country, there wasn't much more to see. Also, our choices of accomodation are either in Karaj (about 45 minutes north of Tehran) in my BIL's house, or in Tehran proper with my SIL in her one bedroom apartment. I don't like the one bedroom situation because DS goes stir crazy. There's nothing to do in Karaj, and the drive into Tehran in those tiny diesel cars makes me want to throw up, especially after a week of eating salad, cold cereal, and rice.

Also, we've only been in the early springtime - March through April. It is still pretty cold when we are there. We can't go in summer because of the heat and the expense. Plane tickets are twice as expensive after March 31st, so our choices are winter or spring.

Keep in mind also that we've had a baby or young toddler with us every time we've gone, which limited our possibilities for activities. DS is almost 5 now, and finally potty trained, so I think we might have more options on subsequent trips.

Quote:
Being allergic to lamb in Iran is kind of funny in a "I'm-so-glad-that's-not-me" way, though. How horrible. Like going to China and finding out you're allergic to rice.
Yeah, it's a huge problem. My poor SIL spent hours butchering chickens for me because I am such a picky eater (I have sensory issues). I felt like such a burden to them. My husband swears that they don't care, but I feel like I'm putting them out. I never realized how bad my sensory integration disorder was until I couldn't control my environment like I do at home. Let me tell you, it's bad.

Quote:
Could his in-laws meet you in Turkey? It's much easier and Istanbul is lovely, not too far or expensive for them, and it is a very fun place. However, they also eat a lot of lamb.
This is what I want them to do, but for some reason my husband doesn't want to suggest it.

I do think part of the problem is that I feel so isolated there... I am so independent at home, but in Iran they are not comfortable with me taking a walk by myself. I'm not afraid, I love to travel and interact with the locals wherever I am, but they are not comfortable with me being alone outside the house, and that makes me wonder if I would get into trouble or something. I don't know. It's really hard.
post #6 of 31
That's a really tough situation but I have to say that I don't think you should be the one to have to bear the responsibility of your in-law/son relationship. I hear that your husband is busy, but he needs to take this on or your in-laws need to come to or near you. I end up doing a lot of the in-law stuff solo too but we're from the same country, I love going there and I'm (mostly) ok with being the conduit. To spend all your vacation time doing something that makes you miserable doesn't seem right.
post #7 of 31
Yeah, the kid thing is tough. Hard to enjoy the out-of-doors with an infant. I thought Iranians (based on what they do here, I haven't been there, but we watch it every day on the news, and see many of them in our city) liked picnics and hiking and so on.

I understand about feeling like you're putting them out. At least you can take comfort that they are spending less on chicken than on lamb, no?

Do you know why your husband doesn't want to suggest it, at least every other year? I can see why he'd want the kids to experience the culture, reinforce the language, etc. etc. but it would be so much easier for you if you could at least have one meal you controlled and could stay in a hotel, which (if Iranian hospitality is anything like here, and I suspect it is) is impossible if you are in Iran.

Would it be too expensive for his parents to go to Turkey? Too difficult for them? What are the barriers? Is there any way you could discuss it in a non-threatening way while expressing your desire to have a bit of a rest?
post #8 of 31
I haven't been in your position - this summer will be the first time we'll go to the Philippines to visit dh's family (they've visited us a few times). But what strikes me the most is the fact that you've gone there by yourself twice already and your dh is asking you to do it again?! Are your in-laws not able to come visit you instead? Unless their health is poor and/ or they work just as hard as you both do, I don't see any reason they couldn't make the trip sometimes (assuming you paying for their trip is about the same expense as for you and ds's).
Also, if I remember correctly from your other threads/ posts, your dh is working very hard on a business that is not profitable - would taking a vacation really make that much of a difference that he absolutely cannot leave?
post #9 of 31
I experience a different kind of agony. I am living in DH's country, so visiting family overseas means going back to the country where I know the language, etc. I love my family dearly. It's just… I hate my hometown. Hate. Hate. That's why I left when I was 18! I'd love to go back and visit the place where I lived most of my adult life until now, see old friends, etc. etc. but that's 1500 miles from my family.

Our next trip back will be for winter break, and it will be our first trip with baby. I'm due early September so s/he'll be 3.5 mos or so. How fun will that plane ride be?!
post #10 of 31
3.5 months is nothing. Babies often sleep on planes. Believe me- I did it alone three times. I was also nervous but little babies are not very hard on airplanes. It's the one and up phase that is hell.
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by nznavo View Post
That's a really tough situation but I have to say that I don't think you should be the one to have to bear the responsibility of your in-law/son relationship. I hear that your husband is busy, but he needs to take this on or your in-laws need to come to or near you. I end up doing a lot of the in-law stuff solo too but we're from the same country, I love going there and I'm (mostly) ok with being the conduit. To spend all your vacation time doing something that makes you miserable doesn't seem right.
completely agree! I realize that your in-laws love your little boy and that you want to nurture that relationship, but it also has to be up to your DH to help out with this!

Going *on your own* with a small child to a country where you don't speak the language more than once (ore even once!) is truly above and beyond the call of duty.

Not to 'diss on your DH, Lisa, but time for him to step up to the plate on this one!
post #12 of 31
Some of my and all of my husband's family are in Germany. Grandmother 1 came to visit after our daughter was born, grandma 2 also. I've been over to Germany once last year and found it very, very uncomfortable there with an infant. I am not going again as long as she is small or until someone able and willing to give me real help with a little child offers to take me in. No mercy visits, so grandmothers can squish on their granddaughter!

In your case, it wouldn't have occurred to go without my husband. I think it is great that he wants his family to see their grandchild but then he should make some time and go with her. And you would get a nice long break and could stay alone at home.

Or, you could learn Farsi and become more independant when you are in Iran. Maybe you would enjoy the visits then. Perhaps your husband could pass on Farsi to his daughter, too?
post #13 of 31
My question is how come your Dh doesn't just use the money from your tickets and use it to buy his parents tickets to come to see your family here?
Dh did this for me, I was doing all the traveling, and got a bit fed up. Once we had older Ds in school my travel times were cut, but as adults the parents didn't have times that were bad, so we got tickets for them during the off season and had them here.
My friend did this also, her IL's are from India, she had them come visit her toddler twins for the whole summer one year, it was a nice change, they re arranged the bedrooms to give them space and her Dh spent all his off time with them and they vacationed as a family with the IL's
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
Iranians can't get visas to come to the US. There is no option other than for us to go there.

As to why my husband doesn't come, he owns a business and can't take time off from it.
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabry View Post
Also, if I remember correctly from your other threads/ posts, your dh is working very hard on a business that is not profitable - would taking a vacation really make that much of a difference that he absolutely cannot leave?
Well actually things are looking up with the business! I'm making more money at work, so I'm able to cover more expenses, and he is able to take the money that he was paying me and is investing it in the business. DS starts public school in September and then well will be in a really good place. Finally. After 3.5 years.

I know it sounds crazy, y'all, but I've already agreed to a 2 week trip. Because I am cuckoo. Trust me, if they could come here I'd be all over it. Unfortunately due to the visa situation it's just going to be me.
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
Also, our choices of accomodation are either in Karaj (about 45 minutes north of Tehran) in my BIL's house, or in Tehran proper with my SIL in her one bedroom apartment. I don't like the one bedroom situation because DS goes stir crazy.
I can really identify with this part, Lisa. My FIL lives in a teeny tiny little apartment in Tokyo, and this is the main reason DD and I haven’t gone over to Japan to visit in a long time. He always wants us to stay with him, but there’s just no way that me, DD, DH and FIL can all spend two weeks in that tiny apartment together. Plus FIL snores more loudly than anyone I’ve EVER met, and I’m a light sleeper. It’s just an impossible situation.

And since everyone else we know over there doesn’t really have room for us to stay for an extended time either (it’s Tokyo, after all, land of tiny accommodations) our only other solution is to stay in a hotel @$250 a night. Which makes it prohibitively expensive. Plus, living in a tiny hotel room with a rambunctious toddler doesn’t work very well either. With no place to just hang out and let DD do her thing, we have to do stuff out in Tokyo all day long, every single day. That’s a lot of fun, of course, but two weeks of never-ending activities is exhausting.

Add in the long plane journeys (3 hours to the West Coast, then 11 hours to Tokyo) and it all just makes the trip supremely unappealing. For the last 2 years, after visiting twice with DD, I’ve let DH go by himself.

FIL can come here, though. He has done it once before. We think he’s going to come in July this time. We have plenty of room for him!

I hope your next trip turns out to be a fun two weeks – or a least a tolerable two weeks. We’ll support you in your visiting-your-in-laws cuckoo-osity!!
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
Iranians can't get visas to come to the US. There is no option other than for us to go there.

As to why my husband doesn't come, he owns a business and can't take time off from it.
They can't? Here in Dubai there are many many many Iranians applying for visas and greencards and they are getting them. When I took my husband to finish his greencard documents (in Abu Dhabi) almost all of the ones that day who got them were from Iran. Maybe they have a hard time getting them in Iran?
post #18 of 31
aww, thats a shame u don't like going to Iran.
Where in Iran do your inlaws live?

I actually really love going to Iran and seeing our family over there, really truely...I LOVE it.
The few things I do, I admit dislike is dealing with "taroof" (false politeness) and am usually stuck making and serving tea when people show up to say Hi, I really dislike that becos I usually rush when I hand out the tea. LOL. Oh and dh's bro-in-law is all about kabob, so after awhil I get sick of kabob with bread (we norm go to lil' village and not a big city, so its a very diff atmosphere)

But, otherwise i LOVE to go...we arer going in late April and I'm already getting excited about goin g. I love going tothe bazaars and stocking up some stuff thats much cheaper there, oh and exchanging my old gold for new gold pieces and usually talking dh ino buying me a new piece, buying some new manteaus (overgarments) and hijabs and basically love going.

I guess w/ every trip there r a few annoyances...such as the flights and how long it takes to get over there but overall I really enjoy going.

Umm Ibi

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
This seems like the perfect place for this, so...

DH is Iranian, and his family lives in Iran. The only option to get there is a miserable 24 hour trip via airplane. There's not much to do there, I don't speak the language, and discovered on my first trip that I am allergic to lamb, which is very commonly used (think daily or near-daily use). Every time I go, I end up exhausting 3 weeks of vacation time (i.e. almost all of it for a given year) and am genearlly miserable.

Of course, I want my DS to know his family, and they want to see him so much, but I made the last two trips there by myself with DS and it was very contentious both times because I don't speak the language and only one of their family does, but he certainly didn't want to be tied to me the whole visit.

We went with DH in 2004, and I took DS by myself in 2005 and 2006. We skipped last year, and although my DH is pressuring me, I want to skip this year, too. DH is consumed by his business responsibilities and will not be able to go.

BUT DS starts Kindergarten in August, and our days of being foot loose and fancy free with our time will fly out the window. At that point we will probably only be able to go at Christmas (for 2 weeks) or spring break (probably 2 weeks but no more because we'd be missing a week of school). I am putting a moritorium on summer travel because of the heat and the lack of air conditioning.

So, as you can see, it is a big problem! I like my in-laws, they've never been anything other than kind and accomodating towards me, but on the flip side I hate using my whole vacation allotment for what amounts to a non-vacation.

Share your stories, trials, tribulations, and successes with visiting family overseas here!
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahtob View Post
In IRAN??? I guess you didn't go during the outdoor season? Wow. May I advise you never to come see the rest of Central Asia because compared to Iran, we really have nothing to do. People here go to Iran for parties and kicks!!!
wow, im surprised too. Anytime we go there is stuff we do...even though we're going to a wee tiny village...we still visit people, walk around the farm (bagh), try to get to the next larger town over to buy stuff, picnic...stuff like this.

Or if there really is NOTHING to do, take a seriously long hamam.

Oh, funny story!!!! Ya'll ready!
I always take a shower, like every single morn, sometime twice a day...dh does to...becos well, we dont wanna stink. Well, in Iran...esp outside of the big cities, most people still shower once a week-then they do a big, drawn out bathing/hamam experience...well, the fact that we took a shower every morn. upon waking spread through dh's village like wildfire and after a few days there, some women or young girls would say stuff to me like...wow, you and your dh must have a VERY loving relationship, and wow, don't you guys ever sleep?
yup! They thought we were a EXTREMELY loving married couple (ahem), hence the need to shower every single morn. (Becos Muslims r supposed to do a ritual washing after "getting together" w/ the spouse) LOL LOL
yup, I couldnt believe how insane it was!
Meanwhile, id have to explain that no, its becos we are used to washing everyday becos in America everyone showers every morning, because Americans hate to be dirty and smell bad. Meanwhile, they'd chuckle, grin and give me a look like *yeah right*.
hehehehe....

*rolls eyes*
post #20 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
Iranians can't get visas to come to the US. There is no option other than for us to go there.

As to why my husband doesn't come, he owns a business and can't take time off from it.
I had no idea, you think if was parents visiting a married child, it's ridiculous that they won't be given a visa, So sorry.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Multicultural Families
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › Visiting Family Overseas... time, expense, agony, and fun!