I have been living outside my hometown, Bandung, since I was 18 years old. The distance has been making it difficult for me to meet my relatives and childhood friends on regular basis. When I worked in Jakarta, I went back to Bandung almost every weekend but most of the time I spent it with my parents and siblings.
But sometimes when I went for wedding invitations and funerals, I did get to meet a lot of people. At that time I was still single and didn't have any clue who my husband would be so I usually went to those occasions with my parents.
When I met those relatives and friends, everybody would ask me the same question,"Do you have any boyfriend?" "When would we get wedding invitation from you?"
When I answered that I had no boyfriend and they would need to wait longer, MOST of them said, "You shouldn't be so picky, you are getting old. Remember that you are over 25 already."
At first I got irritated but then after awhile I got used to it and just ignored them.
After I got married and moved to Malaysia, I went home usually only during Chinese New Year. At that time there was no direct flight to Bandung and no direct freeway from Jakarta to Bandung. Going home meant 9 hours of very tiring travelling time but I needed to do that to meet my relatives n friends at least once a year.
This time when I met them, they changed the question : "When are you going to have babies? You know, it is dangerous to give birth if you are too old."
I was irritated.... but again I got used to it.
Now that I have 2 daughters, when I get home, the question changed to: "Don't you want to try for a baby boy?"
Aaarrrrrggghhhhh..... I just couldn't believe that I still had to put up with all those questions.
I usually smiled and said that I am happy with my daughters and I don't think a son is necessary for my husband and I. We believe daughters and sons are equally precious.
While I still can stand all those questions, there is one remark that I really can't stand. I always get it everytime I go back home.... from 20 years ago UNTIL NOW....
"Hi... long time no see... By the way, you look fatter..."
It's totally unbelievable....!! If I have not seen someone for a long time, I usually ask," How are you?" then we will update each other's lives.
Those people who gave me the remarks apparently don't know that I do have a scale at home. I use it everyday hoping that one day a miracle happens and the numbers make me smile. I don't need to be reminded that I am heavier by day. I also happen to have a big mirror that accentuates every curves, ripples and stitches I have.
I understand that they don't really care if I am fat or thin, they just want to make conversations. But I guess this is where teaching manner is important. As a parent I try to educate my kids not to make negative remarks unnecessarily, to be polite, to be honest, to be kind, to be courteous, etc etc. Cambridge and Harvard do not teach this thing. It all comes back to the family unbringing.
Despite of everything I told my daughters not to say or do, my eldest once said that I am fat. When I told her that she shouldn't say that, she said, "Mommy, you told me to tell the truth and I am telling you the truth, I swear..... If you don't believe me, I can show you your fat...."