Yes. Your relative finally got the long awaited foreign travel visa. Whether for school, visitors or green card, you find your self excited. The dream is big because its an opportunity to finally come to the land of opportunity.
It is the land where dreams actually come true. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. You as the hosting relative said "Yes" to hosting them in your dwelling.
The excitement climaxes when you finally exchange long family hugs at the airport.
It feeling of finally having a blood relative in USA. A friend to talk to at times of need.
Fast forward a month later the roller-coaster begins.The individual depression sets in on the new visitor. He or she begins to stray in their own world. The family network and support system is loose abroad. Occasional psychological and verbal fights set in.
This unfortunately is the reality that affects most people living here in USA.
Just before you say YES or if you are currently living with relatives and things are not as you expected, this article is for you.
The following pointers may be worth looking at:
1. EXPECTATION TO APPRECIATION
We all know that you were probably expecting them to help you around especially with kids or at least with house help or just be there for you when you are low.
Your expectancy is probably your biggest downfall, listen to me .. stop it . You may think you know them well but let us face it, you were in and out of their lives for years, life has evolved they have changed and picked up some good or bad behaviors along the way. So instead of expecting anything, appreciate them and wish them well regardless.
2. MOOD SWINGS
This is one of the hardest one to deal with and manage. Your relative's mood may move from happiness to sadness in next hour. This is expected and is good you acknowledge this situation and not react to it.
They may have gone through major change, so understand that some have family they miss and everything reminds them of their life home, remember you once felt this way too. They will lock themselves in their room for hours and occasionally stay in bath tub to sock in the pain. My advice is, let them be. It is not about you but them.
4. THANK YOU, SORRY
Yes. You will feel unappreciated , not constantly saying thank you enough or saying 'sorry'. Remember most of us came from cultural up bringing where those words can be perceived as weakness.
Frankly, it comes easy when you have soaked the life here in the USA because the culture demands it.
So do not feel bad when you do not hear these words so often from them. Just remind them of its importance. We forget how far we have come and what we have had to unlearn to live here.
Yes. Most of us, do not factor finances when we say YES to hosting our relatives. This is very dangerous. It gets expensive and can drain a family, from food expenses, clothing , basic needs to major expenses such as car and college tuition, and that dreadful immigration process if moving here permanently. This always leads to a lot of strain and can lead to couples fighting if such arrangements were not exhaustively discussed.
My ten cents advice is always talk to your partner about the hosting before saying yes and also ask your relatives to chip in and help where necessary.
You may never know what they can help with if you do not ask, so ask for help. Also consider finding small handy jobs like salonist or baby sitting which is common during transition phase to put money in their wallet for basic needs .
REMEMBER... your relative is not perfect and may not be the person you knew when growing up. You can not change people's actions but yours . So stop expecting, appreciate and start giving without expecting anything back.
When they leave and never talked or appreciated your help, you will have known you did your best. Walk tall with a clear mind.
By Betty Achapa - Owner and Founder, Ms. B Finance101