Chinese New Year with the In-laws

Who among you have to spend part of the Chinese New Year holidays with your Taiwanese in-laws or prospective in-laws? Is it a painful ordeal that you contemplate with dread, or a potentially jolly good time that you’re rather looking forward to?

This will be my first CNY as a married man, and I’ll have to visit the parents-in-law on both New Year’s Eve and the second day of the New Year. My new wife’s four married sisters and their families will all be there on the second occasion, so it should be rather renao. I anticipate eyelid-drooping ennui, but will grit my teeth and bear it like a man as part of my marital duties. Yet I wonder how much I’ll find myself pining for the old days when I was free to do whatever I wanted on this precious little clutch of days off work.

It’s a painful ordeal that I contemplate with dread. :wink:

Fortunately, this year the in-laws are off on a tour to Bali, so we only have Monday dinner and Tuesday evening with them. Actually, Mom and Pop aren’t so bad. It’s the uncles and aunts (all from Sanchong) that tend to say the stupidest things. And then there’s the one uncle who wants to practice English all the time, and asks me for a word-by-word translation of every conversation. Happily, someone else always snaps first and asks him to shut up. This year should be a little better. I’m the son-in-law, rather than the fiance, so I can let down my guard a little and relax. V says I am allowed to take all the naps I want. And I plan on introducing some of them to backgammon. If worst comes to worst, I can always play with my dog. He’s coming along to meet the Sanchong clan for the first time too. Come Wednesday, they’re all gone, we’ll be back at Lotus Hill, and I’ll be a free man!

Bring at least two good books with you.

Its a mixed bag, Omni. And like many events, it’ll be mostly what you make of it.

Having said that, I’d prefer to not spend CNY with my in-laws.

[quote=“sandman”]Bring at least two good books with you.[/quote]Excellent idea. Smacking my testicles between two heavy books is much less painful than Chinese New Year.

This is one of the many reasons why I am hesitant to remarry. I was in Kaohsiung last year with little beauty’s family. Her brother “hates foreigners” and sat around sulking the entire time. Her father and I both smoke, so we ended up outside chatting quite a bit. He’s a decent enough guy, but he sure asked the requisite number of idiotic questions about foreigners (“I hear you foreigners all…”). Mom grilled me about my integrity and how much money I make. And we weren’t even engaged.

Fortunately I’ll be back in the States for Chinese New Year, so I won’t have to deal with the boyfriend’s parents … which I’m quite happy with since his dad is a former gangster and a “ling mei”

I’m spending ten fun-filled days in a little town in the south. Duo Liou is the closest “big” city. I’ll be sleeping, reading, and sleeping some more. And taking a nap once in a while.

We swore last year we weren’t going back for another CNY at my inlaws, but it looks like we’re going up again. Taoyuan!
This time though we are just showing our faces.

The plan is to turn up late just in time for the hotpot, go to bed early (“Not in my Mom’s bed - they’ll hear!” - oh well), and then head off to Taipei first thing in the morning, have a look around prior to scurrying back to Taichung before Blockbuster closes. Phew!

This thread is hilarious. We’re setting in place a whole new foreigner stereotype – “Those foreigners sure are strange. All they do is read or sleep. How on earth do they ever get any work done?”

Looks like I’m lucky, my GF went back to Taiwan for CNY and I have to stay here for business. Actually, I was a bit sad about this, but after reading your posts, it seems you should all be envious! :wink:

Rather pleasant. My outlaws consist of my father-in-law who is decent enough and who never asks silly questions, apart from how my family is, my mother in law, who’s also got used to me, my brother in law who keeps to himself, apart for when the food is served, and my two sister in laws, who are unmarried and know a bit about western ways. The women cook, while my father in law, the girls, and I watch tv, the brother-in-law comes down, we eat, the brother in law returns to his computer, we drink a little bit, exchange hongbaos, and then we go home.

All that is survivable, pleasant even. Everybody present are used to each other and don’t bother me one bit.

Then the day after the missus’s uncle pops in for an hour, burns ghost money, sets off firecrackers, chats and leaves. (He might stay for a cup of tea). However, he’s a US PhD, and he will not ask anything more sille than how the last year has been.

But I guess that my outlaws are atypical and dominated by the fact that the ones setting the pace are the unmarried women.

Sandman’s right about the two books. This will be my third CNY with the in-laws in Chiayi (I’ve been meaning to contact Almas John and go out for a drink but am always stuck in the house). The parents don’t speak a word of English, the children speak about two words of English and my Chinese is mostly limited to thank you and delicious. So it’s lots of forced smiles and nodding my head, strained silence, mindlessly watching chinese TV programs and of course all the food.

The first year I was unable to say no every time the mother pushed more food in front of me and the father filled my glass with Kaoliang, so it was three days of discomfort. After that I learned to say no to the food and alcohol, to take only small portions cause they’ll force it on you anyway, to escape upstairs to read (I felt guilty about that at first, but not any more), and to get outside and go for walks to get some fresh air and aid with the digestion. This last year I started borrowing her dad’s bike, which was good too.

Good luck.

Well, I can speak Chinese… but the problem is all of the family chat in Taiwanese, I never get an explanation as to what is going on. I just switch my brain off and numb myself to the whole experience. Ah ha, this year I will just play with my son and get him to say really annoying things in English.

The great thing is that my wife is a great gambler at Chinese New Year and usually wins heaps of cash. Oh yeah, that makes it all worthwhile.

My Mother in law is a fantastic cook, mmmmmmmm, that is also great.

The place looks like a bottle store over the new year, but the aftermath of drinking and vomitting isn’t worth it, not me, all the others.

I hope my brother in law brings his X-box home this year, that will break the cycle of boredom.

I still dred it, but it isn’t any different from most other weekends. Damn, we live to close.

The in-laws shouldn’t be such a big problem because you do not see them so often. But if your husband/wife (bf/gf) has a good friend that you truly dislike and you often have to spend time with him/her… that is DEADLY!

While I see my inlaws often, as we live in the same town, then I would say that 3 days of outlawing out of 365 days in the year should be survivable.


[quote=“Mr He”]While I see my inlaws often, as we live in the same town, then I would say that 3 days of outlawing out of 365 days in the year should be survivable.

I can survive CNY with the inlaws, but it’s nothing I look forward to. Actually, My wife and I are escaping to Saba, Malaysia this year. The good thing about CNY is that some Putonghua speaking inlaws come over. We pretty much force my wife’s family to speak Putonghua, so for once I can actually participate fully in conversations. All the conversations are boring as hell, though. And then there’s the XO. I absolutely hate XO. My wife’s father understands this and he doesn’t try to make me drink it, but there is an uncle who always tries to fill my glass. In one evening, three of them will finish a one litre bottle of XO. Plenty of westerners I know could handle that, but most Chinese can’t do it without turning red from head to toe.

Although I am no fan of CNY at the in-laws, last year I had an epiphany. There we were after the dinner, the whole family, not a drop of alcohol had been drunk, all singing along to KTV. Cheesy, yes I thought, but the spirit and kinship of my wife’s family on that night nsure beat some of the drunken and messy holidays I’ve had back home.

Some of you are so pathetic its actually funny.

With a pathetic comment like that … :unamused:

Aaah, the irony, the irony.