While staying at my in-laws, my MIL does everything for me. She cooks, washes the dishes, makes our bed, cleans our room, heats up my medicine, washes the clothes and accompanies me no matter where I go. She holds my hand (well, actually it’s rather a grasping of my wrist), not only if we have to cross the street but also when we just walk down a pedestrian-only street. I tell her that I can walk on my own, to no avail.
I’m not the only one who gets spoiled like a 3-year-old kid (now, even as a 3-year-old I couldn’t have possibly got spoiled like that, after all, I was growing up in a big family). On the fourth day of our stay, Y can’t bear it anymore. He tells her that she doesn’t have to treat us like little kids, that she doesn’t have to do everything for us. That we’re fine on our own (just like in Shenzhen, where we are doing everything ourselves too). He explains that I’m not used to getting everything done by someone else. And that I prefer walking on my own.
When he tells me, I ask him about her reaction. He says: “She said that I have finally grown up.”
At the same time a year earlier, my Chinese friend Z lives with his in-laws in Switzerland. Right after their wedding, he and his wife live with her parents – for around a year.
He tells me: “It was really weird. I had to help so much in the household. I had to help clean the dishes, clean the house, I even had to help in the garden. I saw that my wife’s father got up to do the dishes, so I got up too, I mean, in China you rarely see men doing the dishes, but I thought if this is common here, I have to help too. And my father-in-law was really happy about it. In China, if you’re the guest of someone, the host will try to make your stay as comfortable as possible. That’s why they do everything for you.” His wife chips in: “If we had stayed there for only 3 days, you wouldn’t have had to help in the household either. But we basically lived there, so that’s a completely different situation. Also, our parents had to bring us up all these years, so when we visit them now, we’ll try to help as much as we can.” Z is surprised: “In China, your parents will think that you’re probably exhausted from work, so they’ll to these things for you in order to make you feel comfortable.”
She tells me: “When I stay at my in-laws in China, my MIL will also do everything for me. I realised that there’s no sense in asking if she needs any help, she’ll definitely decline. But if I just go there, push her away and do those things on my own, I can sense that she’s really happy about it and appreciates my help.”
Have you ever thought that somebody did much more for you than you considered necessary?