Tuesday, 13 January 2015

How To Show Love...The Filipino-Chinese Way

I have come to learn that in a Fil-Chi family, it is quite rare to receive a card from your parents and in-laws with a note saying, "I Love You".

My dad is an exception. I remember that every Valentine's Day, he would go to my school, interrupt my class and give me a bouquet of flowers and chocolates. I used to get really embarrassed with all the attention. Looking back, I was the luckiest girl in the entire school.

My mom...well, she's hardcore. She shows her love through service, specifically washing my laundry. I still bring my clothes to Iloilo for her to wash. I do this to give her the opportunity to show her love. NYAHAHA.

I don't ever recall my mom making me a card. BUT! She has a wall filled with all the cards that I wrote her since I learned how to write.

Honestly, it's very awkward for me to show my love to my in-laws. I don't think I am at that stage, where I could hug them tight and write them "I love you" on post-it notes. Cut me some slack! I've only been married 6 months! It still feels weird. I also don't see S doing this.

Instead, I show my love by sending them food and by simply being around even if I don't understand half the things they say.

I notice that my MIL also does the same thing. She shows her care through food.  She sends me my supply of probiotics,  fresh veggies and raw meats, and other chinese delicatessens. I also know that she loves me because she is very much concerned with my health.

Last Christmas, my in-laws give me a generous angpao. I guess for Chinese Families, angpaos are the standard gifts.

My mom...she gave me tubs of paksiw and chicken alexander all the way from Iloilo. No Christmas cards with "I love you" notes.

Chinese parents also show their love by "PROVIDING".  They pay for our education and it doesn't stop there. In most cases, they also pay for our weddings. They help us start our married lives by helping out as we build our homes. For the lucky ones, they buy the couple their first home!

Time is also a valued commodity. When Chinese parents make time to attend an event, this is precious time away from the business. This is time that they could have used to earn money but instead they chose to spend it on you. When they attend events in the evening, this is time that they could've used to rest but instead they chose to share your joy.

I remember that my mom really made time to tutor me even if on one occasion we wanted to stab each other with pencils. My mom went to all my school activities. I recall that I didn't want to invite her because I was worried that I would waste her time if I don't win.  This is how Chinese moms show their love. They make time for you.

So now, I am married to a Fil-Chi man and I am recalibrating my Love Language. He shows his love through time + effort + gifts.

When my husband takes time off from work so that he can drive me to the doctor, I realize that this is love. When he gives me diamond earrings, even if I don't need one, this is love. I should not force S to act like cassanova. Clearly this is hopeless.

I don't intent to generalize or make a stereotype, but I'm learning that...

Fil-Chis (atleast, those I know), show their love through FOOD, MONEY (or anything valuable), TIME and EFFORT (or service).

Physical or Verbal forms of affection are quite rare. Don't force them to give it. It is not their way. Although... Mark said that this could change due to to globalization and social media. Let's see.

On this note I should stop pestering S to do DIY cards or to send me a message in a bottle.

Feeling Loved,


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