So I was sitting here after work thinking about how we both met each other’s families. One thing that stood out to me were the differences between Western culture and Korean culture when it comes to meeting the parents.
In the West, it is pretty common to bring home a girlfriend/boyfriend to the house even if you are casually dating. Now, I was raised a bit differently so I didn’t fit this mold, but many of my friends did. I pretty much knew that any girl I brought back home to meet my mom meant that I was pretty serious so it was pretty strange to see some of my friends do it differently.
In Korea it’s pretty much the same as I was raised so it wasn’t really a surprise when I didn’t meet Hyo’s mom until after about 6 months of dating (it was before I had to go back to the states for 3 months).
Meeting Hyo’s Fam
As I said above, we had been dating for about 6 months before I met her mom. It was a pretty low key meeting. It was a cold December day, but we ended up eating some Samgyeopsal (yes!) and then going to a park in Incheon. I met her mom, sister, and her sister’s boyfriend. I was totally nervous especially when I was left with her mom at the table all alone for several minutes.
But I mustered what little Korean I knew and was able to have a broken conversation haha. But she was very cool and accepting of our relationship from the start. I often hang out with Hyo’s mom and sister and her mom is always looking out for me by sending me food and always asking Hyo if I’m lonely because I live alone. In Korea, you usually wait a little longer to meet the dad, so that will probably happen this year.
Now I’ve said this in another post, but meeting Hyo’s mom also showed me where she got a lot of the things in personality that I admire. Hyo is short and cute (looks harmless haha :p), but definitely not a pushover and is strong, diligent, and independent.
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Meeting My Fam
Earlier this year, we took a trip back to my hometown of Detroit so she could finally meet my fam. We had been dating about a year and half by that point so it was about time she got to see some of my culture and where I get some of my personality quirks from.
It was a pretty interesting trip for her (maybe she can write about it later :p). We had already visited Hawaii, but this was her first trip to the continental states. Detroit was quite a culture shock as you can imagine. Detroit being one of the more dangerous cities and going through some hard times right now. But she enjoyed it as I was happy to show her where I went to school, my favorite places, restaurants etc.
My mom was very accepting and turned my room into a mini hotel for Hyo to make her feel completely comfortable. I think they both have some similarities in their personalities and despite the slight language barrier, they get along great. Hyo cooked 전 (Jeon), a type of Korean pancake, and my mom was raving about it for days. Hyo also met my dad which was hilarious because my dad is taller than me and Hyo seemed like she needed a ladder when she met him.
We also took a trip to west Virginia to see my grandma, aunt, and cousins. They all loved her and it was a great time. They really made her feel at home. To finish our trip, we took a visit to NYC and met up with some friends there as well.
So as you can see, any relationship will have its challenges, and maybe more so with different cultures (language barrier sometimes), but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I mean, if you were to go back in time and tell 18 year old Dom that he would be living in Korea, bringing his Korean girlfriend to meet his family in Detroit, I would’ve laughed in your face and said you were high. But that’s life…and it brings many surprises along the way. Cheers.