Monday, June 29, 2009

The Generation and/ or Cultural Gap

My parents immigrated to Canada almost 30 years ago. My mom was born in Cambodia. Her family was fairly wealthy, but they fled the Khmer Rouge to Hong Kong in the 1960's. My dad was born in Vietnam. His family was poor, but they managed get my dad out of Vietnam to Hong Kong so he didn't have to serve in the Vietnam War. My sisters and I were born in Toronto, and have grown up here our entire lives.

When I think back, and realize how much opportunity my sisters and I have at a better life than my parents. And how hard they have worked to give us those opportunities, I am humbled and truly grateful.

But then there are times, when our views are different on certain subjects, and I feel that I may be hurting them by having a different opinion.

For instance, LeBlanc and I have been planning to take a vacation together. We're thinking of a relaxing stay in Europe (Normandy, France) or strolling along beaches, long walks, bicycle rides, wine, food, and lots of lounging around. Both our jobs are demanding, and we think it would be nice to just have nothing on the schedule, except "us."

I mention this to my parents, and they seemed to take it quite well. (Much to my surprise. So, I called LeBlanc and told him that I really should be giving my parents more credit.)

Then, I get a call from my mom the past Friday. She was very concerned about this trip of mine, she proceeded to dissuade me from going.

The thing is, I get very defensive when I feel someone else's goal is to change my mind. It's an automatic reaction for me, and unfortunately, my listening abilities drop by 50%. All I can hear is "You are wrong. I am right."

My mom was concerned that "something" might happen between LeBlanc and I if we are alone in room together. Since we would most likely be sharing a hotel room. Most likely with one bed.

Did I mention that I am 25 years old? I am.

Anyway, my mom tells me that she doesn't think this type of behaviour (premarital sex) is good. It's not a right path, or reason. It's lustful. If I marry someone, they may not like it. Etc., etc., Basically, it's wrong, and she doesn't think I should do it, and wants me to PROMISE not to.

She pushed a lot of buttons when she was trying to convince me.

1) She thinks I'm being casual by sleeping with someone before marriage.
2) She thinks I've had too many relationships (this is my second serious one)
3) She thinks that "little Chinese girls" are supposed to live at home until they are married, but since I work far, she "lets" me live on my own
4) She thinks my future husband will not accept or like the fact that I've been with othen men before him

It's funny. When we were little, we were told we couldn't or shouldn't do things because we should be getting good grades. In high school, it was so that we can get in a good university. In university, it was so that we could graduate and get a good job. And now that I've done that, the NEW GOAL is the good husband. (I see the trick, I've fallen for it my entire life!)

My mom is a very stubborn woman. And I do believe that children need to have strict rules when they are growing up, because they don't know the difference between right and wrong. However, I am an adult now. And I have been for some time. I've been making my own decisions, whether she realizes that or not, and it's no longer her say.

Last time when I wanted to go on vacation with Almond (I think it was 4 or 5 years ago), she basically had the same "calm" talk with me. She states her reasons, and then expects you to agree with them. I stated my reasons, too, and I told her that I still wanted to go, that I didn't agree with her on her reasons.

She. Freaked. Out. She got very, very angry. And she hit way below the belt. She pretty much dared me to go. To go against her will.

And I didn't. Almond didn't want to go anymore. Who wants to have that kind of an axe over their neck?!

And my biggest fear was that she was going to pull the same stunt this trip. I'm not expecting her to agree with me, or be encouraging of my trip. But, she should know that it's not her say, anymore.

I was very upset with the phonecall. I reminded her of what happened last time. And I asked her that if she pulled something like that, how am I supposed to respect her?

If we are both adults, we are both entitled to our own opinions and our own decisions. We may agree on some issues, and we will disagree on others, but she cannot force me to agree with her. She can't threaten me into agreeing with her. I lost a lot of faith, when she stooped to that level last time, and it hasn't been completely restored to this day.

If she really did want me to think about it. I will. But I might not change my mind. And if I don't. She has to respect that. She can't throw a fit, and threaten myself or LeBlanc.

I've been talking this over with my sisters, my friends, and LeBlanc (though LeBlanc doesn't know all the details of the past), and I guess I need to man up and have a conversation with my mom. Calmly. Even if it hurts her, that her daughter is a grown woman now. I'm not innocent and naive. And if I want to sleep with someone who is special to me, that is my decision, and my decision alone.

I know it exposes me to be hurt. And even though I hurt like hell, through the break up with Almond. I don't regret it. And in the end, I know I've become a better person. I stronger person. A smarter person. And a more forgiving person. I may not be young and naive, or "pure and innocent", but I'm a better person. And whoever my husband will be, he'll be someone is accepting of everything about me.

So, I've decided to head home on Canada Day and confront this (and grab my passport, as well). Wish me luck!!!

Do you currently face any generation or cultural gaps with your parents or elders???

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


When I moved into my apartment, I tried to buy some furniture under the colour theme of black, white and a pop of red. I love bold colours with black and white. I think it looks so simple and classy.

So, one afternoon of lazing around, LeBlanc says to me:

LeBlanc: Des, I want to do something with my room.

me: Um hm. *Wheels start turning*

LeBlanc: Not sure what, though.

me: Hhmm. *Mental remake of room in progress*

LeBlanc: Any ideas?

me: Maybe you can paint the walls. Move that (hideous) shelf. Change you desk. Emphasize your beautiful bay windows.

LeBlanc: Hmmm. Good idea.

me: I've always wanted to decorate a room, after seeing so many epidsodes of Trading Spaces. Can I try decorating your room? It'll be like an experiment, and if it works, maybe I can do mine next! :)

LeBlanc: Yea, sure. I would be really supportive of that. That's awesome.

So, I've picked a colour palette to work with, and LeBlanc loves it. (I assured him I would not turn his room into a dollhouse.)
I don't want to do anything too drastic, I want to re-use most of his furniture. Maybe get rid of an extra shelf he has lying around. Add some nice drapery to emphasize the beauty of his bay windows overlooking his front patio, maybe put in some chairs there. I love simple floor to ceiling curtains on rods.

I like colour, so I was thinking of painting one wall blue (his favourite colour), and the ceiling and other walls an off white, paint his doors a dark chocolate colour. And add some softer lighting in. Get some new duvet covers and pillows and we're done.

I'm so excited. These are some pictures where I've been getting some inspiration.

I love the two coloured wall, and the hard wood floors. LeBlanc has really nice hardwood floors at his place.

I like that light. And those sticks.

I like the seating at the bay windows. Not sure if we want to put in that much work, he's only going to be there for a year, but maybe some chairs and cushions, instead. I was also thinking of painting the inner trim the same dark chocolate colour, and the outer trim to be a khaki colours, and the wall white.

That's it for now! I hope it will take us about two weekends to do this.

Do you like to re-decorate??? Any recent projects or future projects planned???