MY MOTHER-IN-LAW IS COMING



MOTHER-IN-LAW …… WHAT ARE YOUR DESIRE FOR DINNER THIS EVENING?

My mother-in-law is coming to spend a few days with us. She is coming from Eldoret to Nairobi to bid farewell to one of her daughter heading to the US for study.

No problem, so far, except that she is coming to my house and I must adapt to her culture. It’s not like in Rome do like the Romans but for Rome to change for the un-Romans.

Technically, in her culture, the in-laws are forbidden to stay in the son-in-law’s house. Both my in-laws are nice but my mother-in-law is more avant-garde compared to her husband.
So much so that when my father-in-law comes to town he stays with his single daughter or even a hotel. The hotel is not at his cost but for the host. Yet, he is absolutely welcome to the comfort of my house.
Also, since I didn’t get married in accordance with the local practices, I do not exist. I am a non-existing reality in his life. Consequently, when he comes to Nairobi we do not see each other. I met him once at his home in Eldoret and sadly do not think it will go further than that.
Personally, on marriage, I am not in favor of the local practices which are interesting but quite tedious to my taste. You know, the long songs and dances and rituals which I don’t understand then the dowry bargaining. Don’t dare asking me to take part in dancing rituals too, I am not shy but the thought of being a tad embarrassed scares me.
I will not pay and refuse to pay dowry. My wife was not an item on a supermarket shelf or a bid at a bride’s auction. No metaphors and nice stories about the culture will make me change my mind and nor will I go through the motion of a local marriage to please anyone.

The most drastic change, according to my wife, is that I must stop smoking around my mother-in-law. I must smoke far away from her, far away from the inside of my house; in conclusion I must smoke outside.
So me, almost a Roman, must kick myself out to the sidewalk to satisfy my nasty habit.

Now, let’s go to the sleeping arrangement. We have three bedrooms as follows;
1) Our bedroom, by name only since we hardly use it, which is spacious but she cannot stay in because it is “our” bedroom.

2) She cannot stay in the TV room because the mattress is on the floor. Ok! The mattress is on the floor but you should see the room it’s like Arabian style, full of pillows and quite comfortable. That’s my favorite room to sleep in.

3) The last room has a smaller bed and that’s the one my wife wants to give her. But my desktop is in it!
The bed is smaller but we can manage and we have done it before. It’s no hardship for the few days she will be with us and it will be easier for me to access my computer.

Well, my wife says that she must have that room. This room has the smallest bed and her daughter, the one she has to bid farewell too, will be sleeping with her. Both of them are not so slim so the squeezing will be magical.
I bet you, at the end of the day common sense will conquer and they will be sleeping in different room.

The food arrangement is interesting. Who will cook? ….ME!
Lucky, I don’t mind, I love the kitchen but not to the point of being an “a la carte” chef to the visitor.
She is diabetic, me too, and need special meal. My wife says she must eat lots and lots of vegetable.
OK! But must I cook to the “lot” amount, vegetables which I am not too found of.
My mother, in my house, prepares her own breakfast and cook for the pleasure of all of us. Not here, due to culture, I understand, that she will not touch anything and be fed, and served properly.

I remember once, visiting my in-laws, I said once and I have done it only once, seeing my wife’s father sitting about one hundred meter from his house under a large shade tree with a table in front of him.
– What is he doing?
– He is waiting for breakfast.
I don’t understand! And what would I say to my father waiting for breakfast under a tree when he can do it himself? I cannot think of any nice words.

Extreme cultural hierarchy drives me crazy. I dislike taboos restrictive to one’s individuality. I cannot be molded into a robotic mass; I need to keep the me in me.
I know I am weird and probably somewhat of an embarrassment to them.

The paradox is that she cannot sleep in my bed, yet she will have to share my bathroom and toilet. If I was her I would relax, be free and enjoy doing things outside the box when the opportunity comes.
Seriously, I would love to taste her cooking.

Patrick-Bernard

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3 responses to “MY MOTHER-IN-LAW IS COMING

  1. How are you doing? I check your blog from time to time. (when i have the time actually). So….. you seem to be a refugee in your own house when it comes to smoking… It’s ok if you go in another room but to go outside…. interesting

    cheers. how are things with you besides all things

    Luv and kiss
    Miora

  2. hi love,
    if she spends most of her time outside the house, where do you smoke then???
    Nivo

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