How is it to meet his family
After we spent lovely days with my family we moved on to meet part of his family in Belgium.
I was excited as he told me so many stories upfront about his uncle in Belgium who is married to a Belgian. How will it be? Will I be accepted and welcomed in the same way as he was? Many questions for me as there still is a difference as his uncle is older and Libyan, kind of a respectable person. Even if he’s living in Belgium for a long time and his daughters were raised there I knew also stories about him having problems with the western life style of his daughter.
I’m completely western, yes, I had contact with Arabic cultures but first of all they differ from country to country and second is that people are always acting in a way they can justify for themselves. So what to expect?
I expected nothing, I just assumed from his stories that we would at least go along in a friendly way for the coming days. My thesis always is that I have to meet persons first to see myself how they are and I didn’t changed it in this case. For his uncles wife I was pretty sure upfront that we will like each other and it turned out to be right. When we arrived his uncle was still working but his uncles wife welcomed me in the same loving way I’m used to from my family. We were very quickly talking about each and everything as if we knew each others already. When his uncle arrived home he was acting a bit like my father, greeting me but then watching me eating, moving, talking. During dinner he warmed up and started to ask me what I’m working, about my family, normal stuff. His wife told me later that evening that he likes me and that he’s entirely happy for his nephew that he found his second part. My fiancé told me the same when we went to sleep. Sleeping in one room but in single beds, the uncle is the older one and he’s making the rules in his house. It was ok for two nights even if I think it’s kind of funny. We are no teenagers anymore but we accepted it. The next day was separated in the morning. His uncle likes to go to a big fruit market nearby because he can taste all fruits there without buying them and its kind of a hobby for him to do it. In the end he’s always buying but I like how he behaves, the little boy in the old man is visible. My fiancé was there with him already and liked it too, also in him the child is present, which is great. So the men planned to go there and I had to choose if I want to join them or if I go with the uncles wife to another biological market to buy vegetables for dinner. I choose to join her for several reasons. It’s not that I’m a big fan of shopping for dinner but I wanted the men to be able to talk just for them and I also wanted to listen to stories from a woman’s point of view. The decision was good as we talked non stop and became well acquainted within just a few hours. I heard stories about how difficult it was raising daughters and how they managed it, the mother is always on the daughters side and even more if she’s born and raised in a western country, at least it was the case for them and I can imagine myself being similar if we may face the same discussions to be honest. Maybe even harsher, who knows. We are not there yet.
On the other hand she told me lots about Libya and how much she loves the country, they lived in tripoli for quite a while before moving back to Belgium when the daughters were in a school age as they wanted them to learn French as well as Arabic. Libya is present all over the house, pictures, paintings, books, jewellery, small tea plates, lots of stuff she bought during her travels to keep part of it with her in Belgium. Fascinating!
During lunch time the men returned and we had a quick lunch before his uncle wanted to show us Brussels and Waterloo. He drove fast not to miss a piece of what he planned and guided us through the centre of Brussels, quickly showing all the important places. It was really cute, he was showing me that he likes me in his style. Standing beside me for pictures and happily smiling all the time. He even bought the chocolate I wanted as gift for my parents, not letting us pay.
In Waterloo we were climbing up the felt thousands of stairs on the memorial although it was foggy and slightly raining, breathlessly reaching the top. He was opening up more and we had a coffee together afterwards before heading back. It was a great day!
After dinner at home my fiancé and me went out on the terrace and what we were watching then was again so lovely, his uncle went into the kitchen and started to put dishes and cups on the table to prepare it for breakfast. He’s doing it every night so that his wife doesn’t have to do in the morning. When she’s waking up the breakfast table is already prepared. So much about the MAN in the family, he’s caring and loving. Cutting fruits for all of us so that we get enough vitamins in winter to stay healthy, talking proudly about his grand child’s, that’s why I said in the beginning, never go preoccupied into something, discover yourself how someone is and mostly it’s the small things which matter so much.
The next day we were about to leave after breakfast and the most impressive gesture for me was that his uncle was holding my hand closely, squeezing it while telling me that he is glad we met each other and he hopes to see me soon again. That was the “yes” from his side.
Faithfully, Mrs. Faith!