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Visiting Family Overseas

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Dh is from Turkey, we live in the US. It used to be so easy to go visit them before dd started getting bigger/going to school. Now we can either go after school (mid June) or at Christmas. Dh is not Turkish, he's ethnically Armenian, and he's not Muslim. Dd is going to be 7 in Feb. This year, she is already getting very excited about Christmas. We do Santa and the whole bit. I remember the magic of Christmas and Santa... it lasted until I was about 8 or 9. Those Christmases are among my favorite memories. Dd seems equally excited.

As we have done so many years in the past, dh wants to go back to visit his family over Christmas break again this year. Since Christmas isn't celebrated in Turkey (they do make a big to-do out of New Year's), I don't want to go this year. This will be the first year that dd is really excited about Christmas. We are very non-materialistic and she doesn't get a bunch of gifts, but last year we spent a lot of time going to things like the Zoo celebration, making gifts, visiting family, etc. While she didn't understand it a lot, she remembers it and is already asking to start Christmas crafts, etc. (FTR - we are not religious at all... we celebrate it as a secular holiday).

Okay - I think you get the point. I don't want to go to Turkey this year (we have been back 11 times in 10 years, and dd has been there 5 times). I want to stay home and celebrate Christmas.

Flip side of it, though, is we weren't able to go back this past June because I have rosacea (things like heat make your face red and inflamed... it's very uncomfortable and sometimes even painful) and they do not have air conditioning. I am getting treatments for the rosacea starting in October, so I may be able to go this June.

Dh thinks I am being completely unfair, because it will then be 2 years since visiting his family. His comment was, "Fine, we won't go and I'll just cut my ties to my family!" I told him to not be so damned dramatic and that most people don't go to visit their family every SINGLE year... and that the families are also willing to reciprocate the visits. They have *plenty* of money and could actually afford it better than us because of the weakness of the dollar and this darned recession.

I think he and his family are being a little bit unfair because they absolutely REFUSE to come visit us. They ALWAYS have an excuse. If they really want to see us, they can come at Christmas. I don't mind going, it's just getting harder and harder to go with schedules (I work part-time now, too, so my schedule is a factor), school, holidays, money, etc. It'd be nice to not have to feel obligated to go every year, ykwim?

Sorry for my ramblings!

Thoughts? Am I being unreasonable? How often do you go visit family overseas?
post #2 of 10
We have family visits once a year at least; for various reasons the ILs have always come to the US, but we would happily go to France if/when circumstances allow.

I don't think you're being unreasonable, esp. regarding his family coming to the states to visit you for once. But is there a family dynamic, or even a cultural one, that dictates for DH & the ILs that children should go to visit parents -- returning to the nest and all that -- rather than the other way around? I know there are some of these expectations in my family, and the thought of having to break with tradition and disappoint my mother isn't an easy one. But it's been part of "growing up" for me.

Also from your husband's point of view, might he have taken your not going in June b/c of your medical condition as a (tacit?) commitment that you would be going at the holidays? Now that you would like to spend them in the US, he's feeling a little, well, like the rug was pulled out from under him?
Just some random musings on my part, YMMV.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbamama View Post
But is there a family dynamic, or even a cultural one, that dictates for DH & the ILs that children should go to visit parents -- returning to the nest and all that -- rather than the other way around? I know there are some of these expectations in my family, and the thought of having to break with tradition and disappoint my mother isn't an easy one. But it's been part of "growing up" for me.

Also from your husband's point of view, might he have taken your not going in June b/c of your medical condition as a (tacit?) commitment that you would be going at the holidays? Now that you would like to spend them in the US, he's feeling a little, well, like the rug was pulled out from under him?
Just some random musings on my part, YMMV.
Thanks for your response. FTR, his parents are long dead (dh is in his 50's and his parents had him in their 30's/40's).

I'm not proposing staying home for Christmas for me because I don't really care that much (for myself) about the holiday... I care about how dd feels about it. We've spent 7 of the last 10 Christmases in Turkey. I'd like to start our own traditions as a family, here in the US. It's depressing to wake up on Dec. 25th to everyone going about their business knowing that back at home everyone is gathering around the ham and potatoes and playing games and kids running everywhere and presents being opened. I want dd to experience this like I did as a kid.
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Thanks for your response. FTR, his parents are long dead (dh is in his 50's and his parents had him in their 30's/40's).
Ok, gotcha. And please don't think that I thought that your desire to stay home this Christmas was about you, I did understand that you want your dd to have the Christmas experience here, to start your own holiday traditions.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Thanks for your response. FTR, his parents are long dead (dh is in his 50's and his parents had him in their 30's/40's).
Ok, gotcha. And please don't think that I thought that your desire to stay home this Christmas was about you, I did understand that you want your dd to have the Christmas experience here, to start your own holiday traditions.
post #6 of 10
Wow annual visits, thats a bit much with the traveling for me.
I've only been back to visit family 4 times in the last 15 years and my family has come to us about 6 times. Only one year we made it for Christmas, and that was fun, but they do the whole Santa thing too.
I think he's being a bit dramatic saying he'll just cut off his family, did he stamp his feet too Honestly he needs to look at it from the other side. It's time to push the relatives he wants to see so bad into coming to you for a vacation, it's only fair with the cost.
I think you've been very patient and gracious visiting annually for so long. Time for a relaxing Christmas at home (with whatever relatives want to fly in)
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCR View Post
I think he's being a bit dramatic saying he'll just cut off his family, did he stamp his feet too
Almost. I don't think he realizes how ridiculous these types of statements are. After 2 years, he's going to have to completely leave his family behind. Right! My sisters live in the US and I see them less than he sees his sister.

I do love his sister and her family. I know this last tie to Turkey is important. I just think that we have to put our daughter first.

Thanks for the responses. I appreciate it. I'd like to know how often others visit their families.
post #8 of 10
My DH is from Iran and his whole family lives there. We go often... in my opinion we go too often. Now that DS will be starting school we'll be stuck with the same travel schedule you are dealing with (summer or Christmas/New Years) and I hate both options. The best time to visit the Middle East is in the spring when it is cool. I was going to take DS to Iran next summer as an addendum to a European vacation, but after looking at the prices (EXPENSIVE - it's so expensive to travel in the summer!) I think we will be visiting Iran at Christmas 2009 instead. I've been to Iran 4 times in 5 years, and so has DS. It's too much. Also, it's not a vacation by any stretch of the imagination.

If your DD really enjoys Christmas I don't think there's any harm in staying home for a couple of years or whatever. I realize and appreciate the importance of family but there has to be a balance. Take this summer vacation to Europe we are planning for next summer. It will be the first time I have ever been able to have fun on an international trip. I've been to Europe 4 times and have barely seen it because it was mainly layovers. Ugh.
post #9 of 10
We are expats in the UK. I am Canadian (though my family is mostly in the US now) and my husband is American.

We only ever go back for special occasions; weddings, births, serious illness and that type thing. It has worked out to be about 5 times in 8 years. If there hadn't been any of that type thing we'd probably go every other year with they coming here on the alternate years and that is only because we have a child.

In our case people think because we are going to be in the US we need to visit all of them. So that means 3 states east, west, and south. As if that's quick and simple.

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. I understand the desire for your daughter to experience a "traditional" christmas. If Christmas isn't a big issue for his family, why go back at that time? Couldn't you go back in November or January? Wouldn't it be cheaper then as well? Has his family been to visit you?
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hannahsmummy View Post
I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. I understand the desire for your daughter to experience a "traditional" christmas. If Christmas isn't a big issue for his family, why go back at that time? Couldn't you go back in November or January? Wouldn't it be cheaper then as well? Has his family been to visit you?
Well, his family doesn't celebrate Christmas. They do have a big New Year's party, though. December 25th, they're all heading off to work and school. They are orthodox, and attend a church service on Jan. 6th, (Orthodox Christmas), though it is purely religious and there is no "celebration".

We have to go back at Christmas because dd's winter break at school starts December 19 and ends January 5. Dh is a university professor and he has a similar schedule.

I agree that spring is the ideal time for Middle East visits. Dh's semester ends at the end of April... we used to always go at the beginning of May and the weather was always beautiful. With dd's schedule, that's impossible now.

Lisa - we have always stayed one week in Europe prior to traveling on to Istanbul and I think that is a very inexpensive way to add a vacation on to a trip to see family (which I agree is not a vacation, but I do enjoy visiting his family as they are wonderful people). We actually used to live in Germany, and traveled a lot then. Dd has been to 9 different European countries but only remembers a handful of recent places. This year, though, we wouldn't have the time because of dd's school.

Dh and I talked more last night. We had been saving up for an anniversary trip in 2010 to the North Sea. His elementary school friends are wanting to get together in Armenia that summer instead. I agreed to give up the anniversary trip and instead for us to combine that trip with a visit of his family if we don't get there again before then. He's being more reasonable now and I'm more willing to compromise because he's seeing the importance of Christmas to dd.

Thanks for the replies!
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