So you’ve met the love of your life! Or maybe, the love of the moment? Regardless of the situation, if they are from a different country or a background completely diverse from your own, you’re setting yourself up for a series of events that can be insanely enjoyable and full of unrestrained suffering at the exact same time!
1. I have no idea what she just said.
So it’s time to meet the parents of your significant other. The problem is, you don’t share a common language, not yet anyway. There are going to be a lot of smiles, and even more nodding. You are going to feel like a toddler at the dinner table because questions will not be asked to you, but about you.
You won’t be able to form an instant relationship with his or her loved ones. There will be a moment where you feel a bit inadequate in comparison to their ex – because you can’t even say “hey, thanks for this great food!” without a ridiculous thumbs-up gesture. When you’re out with their friends, the conversation gets even more complicated, so you just sit there, smiling. Everyone thinks you’re a psychopath because that’s all you do. You become extra grateful for the one friend that speaks English. Eventually, it gets better, believe me.
2. Jetlag is my middle name
Travel is automatically included when you’re dating someone from a different country. If the two of you aren’t living in the same country, and doing the long distance thing – you better like spending what is leftover of your paycheck on planes, buses, or trains. If you eventually find yourself in the same place as your significant other, there will always be family visits from one homeland to another. If you like traveling, this will be a pleasant surprise. (I think you almost HAVE to love traveling in order for this kind of relationship to work).
3. Pass the pasta, please.
If you love eating as much as I do, you’ll be thankful for the world of new cuisine presented before your eyes.There’s no better way to get to know people than to see how they eat. Meal times are often reflections of a specific culture, and eating with loved ones may be the most important part of the day. What people eat, how, and what time, say a lot about the specific country at hand. Unfortunately, I’m Canadian, so I can’t offer much in exchange to my Italian counterpart (other than poutine, but I’ll pretend that doesn’t exist).
4. Are you yelling at me with your hands?
When it comes to arguments, people fight differently. You might mean one thing, and your significant other hears something else. Words and actions may be misunderstood due to cultural norms. Not many Canadians can express “you’re acting like an idiot and I can’t believe you would say that to me, are you crazy?!?!” with 3 hand gestures. I find this part more interesting than infuriating. Regularly, I come across a response to a situation that would be considered weird, offensive, or surprising in Canada, yet here, its completely normal. It’s fun to discover the ins and outs of a relationship based on the cultural differences that each person brings to the table.
5. The Future
Eventually, this topic will come up. It’s the elephant in the room. If you and your s.o are from different countries or continents, one of you will have to make the move in order for it to continue. This is probably the most difficult part of any long distance relationship, let alone, a relationship where you’ve got a body of water called the Atlantic Ocean between the two of you. Whether it’s job security or personal preference, making the decision change your home for another person is a big deal, and can bring both positive and negative issues into the relationship. I’m a believer in the concept of always being able to find a way, as long as both individuals are on the same boat.
I would love to hear about other experiences similar to mine, please comment or message me and tell me your story!