Page 1 of 1

In laws and language difficulties

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:31 pm
by dungie79
I would really appreciate some advice, suggestions or anything really to help me deal with this issue that I have created in my head!

As some of you may know, I live in Japan with my Japanese DH. My Japanese isn't wonderful, but it's Ok enough to hold an sh!tty conversation. I am not currently studying it, as much as I want to, due to the fact that I work full time and then have to go home and go all the housewifey stuff, so needless to say sometimes I am not in the mood!

My IL's don't speak English, so every time I go over there, I have to try and communicate in my crappy Japanese, and often I can't communicate and express myself properly and I hate looking like an idiot! Which I think, herein lies my problem. Although it's gotta better recently, we used to have to go over to his IL's house every single week, and it was normally a Sat night, meaning there went any plans of going out and enjoying ourselves. For some reason, I really hate going over there, but I can't clearly identify the problem why. When I get there it's fine, but the thought of going there sometimes makes me sick to the stomach! Last weekend Dh and I had a massive fight all because I didn't want to go over! I hate myself for feeling that way, when I shouldn't because the IL's are wonderful and caring. I have spoken about it many times to DH and he understands a little, but he just tells me to study more!

And then there is the whole SIL thing. They are both really nice, but the younger one, who for years barely did anything apart from sitting on the couch barely communicating, has decided to step up to the plate and become MIL's side kick and spending heaps of time with my other SIL and MIL. Which is fine, coz I work, and they don't, but I feel like I'm even more of an outsider than I already am. It's terrible to even say, but sometimes I'm hesistate to try to have a kid, because I don't want to end up at their house two or three days a week! Part of it to, is that maybe I am jealous that I don't have my mum in Japan.

I guess sometimes living in a foreign country is tough.... Yesterday I broke down in tears when I got home all because I misheard a store assistant. Argh!!!

Thanks for listening!

Re: In laws and language difficulties

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:52 am
by seaweed
That is a fab idea Mrspony, anything that is such a challenge is so much nicer and attainable with a friend.
My 1st husband is German who was brought up by his Aunt & Uncle since he arrived in Australia. They both spoke English, but his Auntie would only speak German when I was there even though I couldn't understand a word. I can certainly relate to feeling "out of it" and I remember being really lonely and bored silly not understanding or knowing what was being said. I really feel for anyone in this situation, but to have to live in a country where your native language is not the norm would be so hard. I hope your dh's really appreciate what wonderful wives they have. I wonder how they would go if the shoe was on the other foot.

Re: In laws and language difficulties

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:10 am
by Wombatta
Dungie, I'm sorry you've been finding it so hard :cry: living overseas is so hard and on top of that the cultural differences and language must make it even harder. We live in Ireland and have noone here, husband's family all live in Italy, nobody speaks one word of English so I really relate to how you feel....

Rather than putting in more effort on your part, maybe you can suggest to DH that you spend every 2nd or 3rd weekend doing other things away from his family? It sounds like a bit of time just the two of you doing other things might be good rather than having to spend every minute with the inlaws. They should understand, and if they don't the important thing is that your DH puts you first and makes you feel happy living in his country. sorry I am a mean pregnant lady at the moment, didn't mean to sound so bossy! 8O

Re: In laws and language difficulties

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:38 am
by dungie79
Thank you so much for your responses! I will definately write something more when I am not at work and there is no chance of crying while I am typing.. *sigh*.

Re: In laws and language difficulties

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:10 pm
by Teska
I know exactly how you feel, only I do not get along with my in laws. They will occasionally speak English to me (if I'm alone) but if DH is with me, they will only speak their native language. I have a very limited understanding and ability to speak and I am really self conscious about speaking it because SIL and MIL make fun of me (especially SIL).

I have attempted to learn more in private and I asked DH about helping me and coaching me and his attitude was always "I only do it with them, I can't be bothered speaking it normally, I prefer English". It was only very recently that I sat DH down and told him that it makes me even more uncomfortable going over there not only with the tension but when they all speak their own language and I'm left sitting there barely following it because things have gotten heated and so they speak faster. So he can either request that they speak English around him too OR help me with their language.

I think a study buddy is a great idea. If DH can't help you out, perhaps there is a friend that can. Maybe even your MIL can help????

Re: In laws and language difficulties

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:23 am
by dungie79
Everyone... Thanks so much for the replies and for making me feel a lot better!
I have gotten out from under my rock and the warmer weather has improved my mood!

I go through this every so often, but this time hit me quite hard!

I'm glad that you are in a similar situation and that it frustates you as well!

I think that a lot of the whole langauge thing stems from an ex. (!) He was Croatian and his whole family spoke Croatian when they were around me and a little English. So, I did what I though was best at the time and started Croatian lessons. Except that every time I attempted to say something my ex would tell me that I was saying it wrong and criticize my prounication. And it was in a d!cky way. I know that I can't blame it all on him, but I am always scared to make a mistake and I am highly self analytical. Even after teaching English for 6 years and telling my students that it's OK to make a mistake, it seems that I can't myself!

I know that DH really appreciates me living here. He would go back to Australia in a second, I know that and in the long term, he thinks it will be possible. I know that he also appreciates the fact that I am working hard to better myself in the limited options that I have teaching English (through sheer luck, I am one of the lucky ones who earn more than most). I am also lucky that I have great collegues who often go through the same thing, but they are all guys so sometimes aren't the most sympathetic ears!

This weekend in the families annual party where they invite their business associates to thank them for the year etc. Every year without fail, I manage to drink too much from my nerves. This year however, I will be wearing a kimono and won't be able to breathe, let alone eat or drink! Which is a good thing!

On the plus side, DH said to me last night offhandedly that he has made an appointment next week to check his rubella levels! I was so happy that he was being so proactive about us starting TTC next month!

Thanks again for all of your replies and kind words!!

mrspony- PMing you now!!!!!

Re: In laws and language difficulties

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:42 am
by dungie79
That's right.. Sometimes its easier to live with and sometimes its not!
I know that I was super stressed last week with starting a new school and other things, but so far its all worked out to be OK. The party on Saturday night was fun and thank god it was raining, and everyone went home reasonably early.

I know that they are grateful of that, but I'm not sure that they would necessarily see it that way. Japanese culture is still very much male dominated and its seen that once you get married, you are part of your husband's family, not your real family ( Not that it's so extreme, but you are expected to spend major holidays with them). Luckily that's something that because I am a foreigner I can escape from somewhat, with the excuse that I am going home for the holidays...