Things you learn about yourself from bringing a boyfriend back home

My boyfriend is from a country far away from mine and our cultures are very different. We both live together in Spain and our daily life works our quite well there, no big issues. Maybe we question some things that the other person does, either by asking about it or silently thinking about it in our heads. I know I do many things that for me are absolutely normal, and the same for him, but in eyes of others it might look weird…

This Christmas I brought him back to my country to celebrate and to introduce him to my whole family. He has already met my parents and my closest family, and even some friends, but now it was time to see my granny, my aunts, my cousins, and some more of my friends. Nothing can go wrong, right?

And we’ll, “wrong” is probably not the right word, but many “secrets” and old habits popped up and the questioning really started. Same for me about his customs. For me Christmas is a very intimate holiday, every family, religion and country celebrates it in its own manner and there is no right or wrong theoretically, but it’s a tradition that you’ve had for your whole life and that you’ve always had in one way and want to keep in that certain way. Christmas is a weird holiday because many things that we do can look a bit strange for someone on the outside. For example, I read an article the other day about Swedish and Scandinavian Christmas, they are not the same, and I know that most traditions in Sweden are strange, but when you see it written down, black on white, it really makes you think about how dorky you are… Read the article here.

And how do you explain for your better half why you sing and drink shots during dinner? Why the food must be eaten in just that order and not the other way around? Why you watch Donald Duck at 3pm? Why you rhyme on all the presents? And so many more questions… And there were many more things that were qustioned and also found answers to, like why I take off my shoes at home, he finally understands!! For those who don’t understand: in Sweden the floors are warm, as the whole house, and there’s no need to wear footwear, if you want to, there are plenty of slippers that you could choose to wear. And without shoes, the house stays cleaner and the wooden floors won’t be destroyed by dirt and small stones that are caught in the sole of the shoe. And another thing, my boyfriend got to experience full recycling! I’m used to recycle everything in the house, from food going to the compost, newspaper and other paper, glass, cans and even beer bottles and cans that you get money for when recycling! But, to keep animals, insects and bugs away everything has to be clean when recycling. You can’t let an greasy old can or pizza box lie in a bag for weeks before throwing it out. My boyfriend commented on it to my parents that he finally understands why I do certain things and he also said that he sometimes didn’t understand the logic of it. 

He told us about his traditions and they are quite different from ours. First of all, he’s from a tropical country, close to the Caribbean, so the temperature is one big thing. They usually meet up with friends during the day, on the streets outside the houses, and when they’re hungry they just go inside (it doesn’t matter if it is their own, a friends or a neighbors house) and get themselves some food. Later at night they meet up with their families and they have a huge turkey. My boyfriend asked if we could have turkey too at our Christmas dinner, but I was sorry to say that turkey is not part of any Christmas table in Sweden… We eat everything but turkey (or chicken and duck). But I convinced my mother to make some for the 25th. One thing our two countries have in common though is that we both celebrate Christmas in the 24th.

In my family we give out the presents after dinner even though it’s quite common to do it before. I had to grow up and learning the fine art of patienc. In my boyfriends family they don’t really have any presents, only for the kids, up til you’re 12, because apparently after that you don’t believe in Santa anymore, so why should you get a present?  The sad truth about my boyfriends Christmas traditions…


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