So far my Chinese mother-in-law has visited us three times. The first time together with her husband staying for a month with us, the second time for three months when Nathan was born and the third time this year again for three months. Besides that we have been multiple times in China spanning altogether again roughly 4 months, not to speak of all the video chats over the years. You might think that after so much time that I would know about MIL and what to expect. No.
Each time she visits or we go to China I learn a bit more about her. This is usually a good thing however in this case it results that all my prior “knowledge” about her becomes useless. Every time when I have the feeling that I know what kind of person she is and how her mind works she destroys it by doing something totally out of her normal behavior. For example I always thought for years that she loves to share everything she has with her family that she likes giving. This was true for many years but then suddenly she was the exact opposite. When my wife was still a beauty consultant at the airport in Finland she got many cosmetic products for free so of course she gave tons of it to her mother. In fact she gave so many things that MIL wouldn’t be able to use them all up in the next 40 years, several suitcases full. When my wife asked her mother to give her some creme as she had forgotten to take it with her MIL just refused. She needs it herself urgently, she has not enough and so on. Not enough? Alright…
I told you already about her magical ability to twist reality as according to herself she has never done anything wrong in her life. The toaster she broke 3 years ago in Finland? Wasn’t her, it just fell apart itself. All the bowls she dropped? Wasn’t her, they just fell down themselves as someone else has place them in a bad position on the table. The ugly clothes she bought her niece? Wasn’t her, everyone else remembers the story wrong. You see, it is a bit strange with her. When we told her not to spoil Nathan so much and be more strict with him when he does something wrong she didn’t understand. My wife asked her then how she raised her up and MIL said that she did the exact same thing as with Nathan now. Lets just say I could see my wife’s jaw drop after that remark. When my wife was little her mother was pretty much what you hear about Asian Tiger Moms. Yeah, MIL had forgotten/ twisted her view on the reality that she has never been a strict mother, punishing if needed with a slap or two.
Another thing she surprised me with two years ago was how and to whom she expresses it when she is angry. There was this one time we went to the Muslim Area in Xi’an in order to get some nice food. Aunty, MIL’s sister, had the idea to take us to a certain restaurant with nice food whileas MIL wanted to go to a total different restaurant. They both did not argue but something very interesting happened once the food was served. I immediately digged in and loved the food (a cold noodle dish) however when MIL tried her noodles she started shouting at the waitress how they could dare to bring her so terrible food, the noodles were too hard and all in all it was the most disgusting food she has ever tried. Another jaw dropper…all the huge argument starting like a fire between my wife and her mother is another story altogether. While they had their argument I ate the delicious noodles and was wondering about MIL. Later I experienced several times her “anger” directed towards other people when something didn’t work out the way she wanted. Funny though that this anger is always unleashed on people who are on a bit lower social status than herself. I am saying this because once she returned bread in a very expensive supermarket. The reason was that the bread had tiny worms crawling around just a day after buying it. Both my wife and I expected another furious clash but no, she calmly talked to the staff and the manager of the store and even said it is not that bad and that no refund was needed. Once again a jaw dropper!
My crazy Chinese mother-in-law is surely a strange human being. I am not condemning her for that but it is always strange as she is so unpredictable, you never can even guess what will happen next. Despite all of that we still love her, even though she is a bit crazy and her next three month visit is already been planned in order to help us as I am mostly not able to do much due to my health. Without doubt she will surprise us once again with some unexpected behaviour.
Do you know a person who always surprises you with unexpected behavior?
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