Cross-cultural romance - how do I understand the family stuff?
April 10, 2014 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm an ex-pat (Western, female) in a culture that is not like my own. I've fallen in love, but I don't know how to process the family dynamics. Help!

I've fallen in love with a man in my (conservative, traditional) host country. We've been together for over a year and I have grudgingly dealt with the fact he has not told his parents about us. (Note that we are in our 30s, he lives with parents, as is normal here). Culturally, people don't really "date" here and significant others are not introduced until a moment that is like "Hey, this is FEMALE and we're engaged." As an American, this is totally surreal to me.

I felt bad about the fact that he had not told his parents about us, especially as we were becoming more serious, and he eventually told them. We are 100% sure that they knew that *something* was going on before he told them, but this is a culture where people sort of live inside of lies. They know things, but they pretend they don't. After he told them that we were dating and it was getting serious, they reacted not positively. I suspect that their idea of what would happen to their son has been shattered, as I represent a different life (we probably won't stay here, I don't represent a family with whom they would enter an alliance with through marriage, mixed kids, etc.). They are not actively protesting the relationship, but they aren't supporting it either - this is a feeling in the air, not anything specific. And while this not supporting relationships that children choose for themselves seems to be par for the course in this culture, it feels terrible to me as an American. (For context, even though I am American, I speak the local languages quite well, have a long time interest and professional life in the local culture that will never end. I have an excellent reputation locally and certainly within the circles that my potential in laws travel in. If there was such a thing as references, I would get an A++++++. Basically, while I am not of the local ethnicity, for a foreigner, I am about as good as it could get in terms of a non-local daughter-in-law.)

To make it worse, I work in the same sector as his mother and up until the moment he told her about us, we were quite friendly, both in real life and on Facebook. Imagine her liking everything I post, commenting all the time, messages back and forth to NOTHING. (Also note that I was certainly using Facebook to suck up to her and perform being the best daughter-in-law ever before she knew.) It has been 2 months now since he told them and she has done nothing. We haven't encountered each other in person since the information came out. (Note, parents are pretty Western/open minded for their age.)

I love this guy and I want to be with him, but this snag is really bothering me. In my perfect world, we'd all be cool, they'd see that he and I are great for each other, and we've move on like people do. For pete's sake, 2 months ago, she LOVED me and thought that I was the bee's knees, but once it became "true" that we are dating, she is either in some state of shock or hates me.

His strategy is - we figure out what our next steps are (engagement, where we will live) and then he is just going to tell them "we're engaged, we're moving to X." and that is that. But this strategy seems so unpleasant to me. I don't want in laws that don't like me. I don't want to cause a family riff. I want a normal (read: American) adult in law relationship. I do realize that maybe this isn't possible though.

I suggested a letter (which I wrote) where I apologize for the deception, tell her how much I care about her son, how happy we are, how we aren't sure how the distance thing is going to work out and that uncertainty is difficult for everyone, but that we're figuring it out, and basically convey that he is in good hands.
I had a few local girlfriends read it and they all approved and thought that it would be a bold move but would probably work to repair the relationship between his mom and me. He, on the other hand, is pretty firm that staying silent until we announce an engagement or something is the way to proceed. He thinks that such a letter would be perceived as me being more into him than he is into me and me trying to use his mom or something.
I am sure that if I really pushed him, he would change his mind about the staying silent thing, but I'd have to convince him.

So at this point, I of course defer to him in dealing with his parents, but at the same time, I really would prefer to repair these relationships before he and I make the next step. Any MeFite insight into how these sort of different perspectives on in law relationships work and strategy to repair this would be greatly appreciated. Or maybe you all will say to chill out and not worry about these people so much. :)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think your guy sounds 100% right (and so supportive! You picked well). Let him take the lead on informing them about what is going to happen. You can work on making them like you later. It might not work, but at least they'll have that much more time to accept you aren't going away.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:04 PM on April 10, 2014 [20 favorites]

I want a normal (read: American) adult in law relationship.

FWIW, a good chunk of Americans I know desperately wish their partner had the balls to stand up to his/her parents and put the relationship first. Don't take that for granted!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:08 PM on April 10, 2014 [37 favorites]

I love this guy and I want to be with him, but this snag is really bothering me. In my perfect world, we'd all be cool, they'd see that he and I are great for each other, and we've move on like people do. For pete's sake, 2 months ago, she LOVED me and thought that I was the bee's knees, but once it became "true" that we are dating, she is either in some state of shock or hates me.

This is, frankly, a snag of your making. You are not, by your own description, a n00b to this culture, so why are you acting like you expect them to be more like American/Western families? It is your expectations that are causing you such distress - you cannot make his mother speak to you or treat you the way you want, and you cannot change the whole culture to be cool with you guys. You know this, so why are you acting like you don't?

Let him handle his family his way. This is not your show to take the lead on.
posted by rtha at 7:11 PM on April 10, 2014 [37 favorites]

I agree with rtha. Trust him on this, and if he's wrong then work as a team with him to make things better.

(Source: in a cross-cultural relationship, trusted my partner on this exact issue, and she was right.)
posted by Dip Flash at 7:19 PM on April 10, 2014

Whoa. I'm not sure the anger at you is totally warranted here. Frankly, a lot of very conservative cultures honestly do deserve criticism for the role they place women in, especially foreign women. I read the "(normal: American)" thing as an acknowledgment of bias, not a wholehearted endorsement of it.

I think you're trying, and you're on the right path, but there's not much except time that will really help here. Definitely take his advice and don't write the letter, though. Respect his wishes.

Can you visit your side of the family? Are you planning on staying forever in his country and never having him visit your relatives? It seems like that might help you feel better and be a better experience for the two of you. Is there any way to do that without his parents freaking out? Are there mutual friends with more open mindsets you can spend time with?

As for the parents, the less they see of you right now the better. I would just continue to be extremely respectful and professional around his mom.
posted by quincunx at 7:29 PM on April 10, 2014 [12 favorites]

I'm not sure why you just didn't mention the culture - you could have had a lot of responses from mefites with experience of it, and the question is anonymous, after all. Nevertheless, I would say that it's his parents, and therefore his priority with regards to managing it.

It has only been two months, give it a bit of time, OP. Many non-American cultures eschew confrontation in general and talking about emotionally fraught topics and feelings in particular. Silence could very well be viewed as actually "coping" with it, and dealing.

In a lot of cultures having up front conversations talking baldly about relationships etc like your letter idea is borderline rude, incredibly gauche, and deeply uncomfortable - rightly or wrongly. Doing something that actually highlights your "Otherness" and foreign way of thinking and doing things could damage your relationship, much more than help it.

There are a few undertones here that what you really what with your inlaws (already!) is an American relationship. But they are not American, and never will be. If you truly want to be a part of this family, you should prioritise doing things the Family Way, not your way (this is often a big part of other cultures, too, you are expected to give things up and do things the way the family does them).

Best of luck,
posted by smoke at 7:35 PM on April 10, 2014 [11 favorites]

you cannot make his mother speak to you or treat you the way you want
This is so true - for everyone. You can't do this with other people *period*. Let go.

All aspects of living overseas aside (I too, married someone from another country and live there); every family has their own set of cultural norms. I'm not even sure what you mean by "normal Amerian" because I know so many American-American couples living in America that have similar issues with their in-laws for various reasons.

FWIW It took years for my MIL and I to be okay around each other. She's a nice enough person, but she doesn't know me well, we're not close, and she definitely doesn't "get" me in ANY sense of the word. Our issues are partly cross-cultural, and partly just that I dragged her son very far away, and partly just that we are very different people. I think it's gotten better with my pregnancy since that's a big fat indication that I'm pretty unlikely to go anywhere now! (ie abandon her youngest son and move back to my home country) We've been married for six years.

Also: yeah. You may very likely never get the relationship with your in-laws that you always wanted or imagined you'd have. I think that's pretty typical. Many things in life aren't ideal, aren't what you wanted or expected, etc... but, you'll learn a lot!

If they liked you before, and he's standing up for the two of you, and they're not actively opposing it, then I'd lie low and let them come around in their own time. It probably still won't be the relationship you'd ideally want with her/them, but it WILL get better. They need time. A lot of it.

When you two move, they will likely freak out. Establish a communication pattern before you go (every Sunday at 6pm or whatever) and stick to it. If you can, plan your first visit back before you move, even if it's a year out... in the long-term establish a regular visitation pattern too. This really helps a lot.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:41 PM on April 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

For one thing, putting culture aside, a foreign daughter in law means a very good chance that the son will emigrate, such that he and the grandchildren are an ocean away. This is an extremely painful prospect for any parent that likes having access to their kid. So if you are serious about staying in your adopted country, you might want to make sure your partner's parents know that. (If you're not, then think about what you're asking them to be supportive of.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:42 PM on April 10, 2014 [8 favorites]

Your letter sounds like a terrible idea.

Just leave things alone.

You are not marrying his parents - you are marrying him.

This is between him and his parents. It sounds like you need to back off.

I agree you don't sound very accommodating towards his (and especially from their perspective, his parents') culture, which is odd, considering how you've chosen to live and work there.

Focus on your partner and please let the rest of it go. It's no reflection on you personally or professionally unless you continue to draw attention to yourself and the situation.

Seriously. Drop it.

Source: I'm in a mixed culture marriage.
posted by jbenben at 7:49 PM on April 10, 2014 [16 favorites]

I'm also engaged to someone from a very different culture, and one thing I've learned is that even when it _seems_ like things are the same or you understand the dynamics, suddenly something will happen that reveals the gap. This seems like one of those moments --- to you, you had a good relationship with his mother until this and so naturally she would be OK with it, and in America thats probably a good assumption.

Often no matter how familiar we are with another culture, its incredibly hard to remember that some things we think of as facts or How People Work are, in fact, because of our cultural upbringing and not human nature. I don't say this as a criticism, from what I can tell no matter how vigilant you are things will surprise you.

The key is to talk about these things when they come up --- and listen to what your partner is telling you. No matter how much time you've spent there, you don't have the internalized sense of normalcy about it they do, and your intuition is rarely going to be right. So absolutely I would follow your partner's advice -- you trust them enough to marry them, and presumably you think they are a good / smart / capable person, so believe that they know the right thing to do here, even if it seems bizarre to you.

(That said -- my previous marriage I had in-laws that I never got along with. We were both American, so it wasn't that --- and it did make life less pleasant. So while the cultural aspect is there --- you might not ever have a good relationship with your in-laws regardless of what you do, and you have to think about that --- I don't recommend it, but I don't necessarily think its a dealbreaker for marriage... hard to say).
posted by wildcrdj at 8:05 PM on April 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

This is not THE conflict.

It is the FIRST conflict.

There will be many, many more like it if you marry this man. I really want you to step away from this (you can do exactly nothing about're trying to counter a completely legitimate fear that their son will move away) and think about the bigger picture here.

There are millions of cultural clashes ahead of you. Expectations around where you live. How you live. How you think, how you feel, how you express yourselves. How you deal with money. How often you visit family and vice versa. The role of religion. The role of socializing. The roles that husbands and wives play in their families. How children are raised. Everything.

That's not to say it's not surmountable. I have dated multiple people from other countries, and in fact married someone who'd recently moved to the U.S. I am not trying to talk you out of it. I'm trying to talk you out of doing it this way. You're doing it wrong!

You say you understand the language and the culture...but you are incredibly tone-deaf in your approach to his family (for reference, your letter would be taken as incredibly gauche in my American family...I can only imagine how a family in another country would feel). You should be quietly observing, taking his lead, trusting his interpretation of family dynamics. You need to be constantly communicating with him about the intercultural dynamics...but fundamentally you need to trust him about his own culture.

You cannot expect to have the type of relationship with his family that you'd have with an American man's family. If you value that (which you may, I think it's a legitimate thing to want), you should marry an American. Maybe your relationship with him is more important to you - but in that case you're going to have to let go of a lot of your ideas, preconceptions, judgments and expectations about the rest of your life. That really is what's at stake here. His parents are never going to treat you the way your high school boyfriend's parents treated you. That battle is already over. The real question is, are you two going to last, and how will you make your relationship work?

As negative as this post probably sounds, I actually do think an intercultural relationship can be a wonderful thing...but I'd really like you to see that the issue here is not your partner's's how you react to your partner's family. And there are so many things that are going to be like this...if you can't figure out how to understand, empathize and communicate with your boyfriend about your vast cultural differences, this will never work.
posted by leitmotif at 8:12 PM on April 10, 2014 [21 favorites]

I think your boyfriend's plan -- bide your time until it's time to announce your engagement -- is the best course of action here.

For one thing, people feel how they feel, and you can't make these people like you or accept this. Also, there's a strong likelihood that they will eventually get used to this, and waiting to clear the air a bit is going to be helpful with that.

I also wonder if a big part of their hesitation is that dating, as opposed to engagement or marriage, isn't really a Thing in their culture, so they don't know what to expect or how to relate to you. And, frankly, I think the fact that they're "Western" or "open-minded" probably is the cause of that paralysis, because they've likely been steeped in American media that paints Dating as this foreign, mysterious, and vaguely negative institution. If we're talking about the culture I have a slight feeling that we might be talking about, there are negative attitudes toward more liberal Western style dating relationships -- and, to an extent, negative stereotypes about Western women and sexuality -- floating around in the culture already.

Switching gears, one thing I think you should remember is that, even if you were with an American, there are no guarantees that your partner's family would approve of you or that you'd have a warm relationship with them. You seem to be comparing the very real relationship you have with your real boyfriend's real family to an idealized "normal" that probably isn't as typical as you assume.
posted by Sara C. at 8:13 PM on April 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

I am an immigrant from a conservative, traditional culture. In my family, it is indeed also the expectation that you only really introduce the SO to the family when it's engagement time, and the relationship before then is on the DL. It is not about "living inside of a lie," it's just different expectations about relationships and when your personal life can/should intersect with your family life. In my experience, it's common for there to be a period of coolness in in-law relations while everyone gets used to the upcoming marriage and what it will mean. It's also fairly common to do what your partner is suggesting: to tell his parents what the plan is, and leave the ball in their court to come to terms with it. This may involve some drama, but it will probably not involve a giant rift. Shit will settle down naturally once you give it some time. The importance of family in a lot of conservative traditional cultures means it takes a lot to get to estrangement territory, and your situation just doesn't reach that. Let your partner handle his family and follow his lead.

Also, the letter is not a good idea. In my experience, it would read as boundary-crossing and weird. In fact, I'd venture to guess it could escalate the drama. If his family is going to be involved in wedding planning, the time to bond is then. Don't make any apologies other than something like, "I've wanted to tell you about our relationship for ages! Partner and I decided to wait until we were officially engaged though, and I'm so glad I can get to know your family better now."

I really, really can't emphasize enough that you should take your partner's lead on this. Or, if your partner has siblings or cousins that he's close with, use them as a resource as well. Your partner is the one who has lived with his family and with his culture his entire life, he's the one who understands the dynamics and how these things work. Focusing on how things "should" work or how it would be in an American family is just unproductive.
posted by yasaman at 8:18 PM on April 10, 2014 [19 favorites]

I'll also add that I'm an American, from about the most down-home mainstream American type of culture you can think of, and I'd be unlikely to introduce an SO to my parents unless it was extremely serious. I'd probably not wait until I was actually engaged, but to me it's definitely something that signals "this person is marriage material" or "don't be surprised if I end up marrying this person." I often find it forward when friends describe introducing casual short-term partners to their parents. And I'm a "normal American"!
posted by Sara C. at 8:26 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

"They are not actively protesting the relationship, but they aren't supporting it either - this is a feeling in the air, not anything specific.

If this is the worst you have to complain of, then I think you'll be okay. They're showing good manners, they're not treating you with hostility, they're not forbidding the marriage or otherwise protesting in a way that worries your SO. It's entirely possible, especially in a culture where people don't date, that their attitude isn't, "we don't like our future daughter in law" - it's "wait and see." Perhaps they aren't sure there will be an engagement after all, perhaps they are waiting to treat you like family once you actually become family (after the wedding, when it's a done deal). Babies also have a way of warming new grandparents' hearts to their sons/daughters-in-law, should having kids be in the cards for you.

It's also possible they will never like you and it has nothing to do with their culture - some people think no one is good enough for their child, some people take years to warm up to new family, some people are just jerks. If your future MIL now sees your actions toward her on facebook as some sort of deceptive game (and your own description of them sure sounds that way), you will have an uphill battle here of your own making - but if any of your interactions were genuine and not just buttering her up, that too can be overcome in time. Be happy that they are treating you with what looks an awful lot like passive acceptance (even if it's hostile below the surface) - that's still a much better starting point for you to work from once you're officially married and not going anywhere than many cross-cultural partners get.
posted by Mchelly at 8:55 PM on April 10, 2014 [5 favorites]

You need to stop stressing about this. What matters is your relationship with your partner, not with your mother-in-law. She'll come around eventually.

Plus, relationships with in-laws can be volatile. They can go from hating your guts and saying so to your face to genuinely respecting and admiring you. And vice-versa. Multiple times. I have friends with in-laws from various parts of the planet as well as western, even All American ones. It's all the same. What matters is how your partner reacts and supports you in all this.
posted by Neekee at 8:57 PM on April 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

They are not actively protesting the relationship, but they aren't supporting it either

This is probably as good as you can expect. If having a super close and intimate relationship where you can "chat" with your in-laws is important to you, you should prepare yourself for the fact that this is unlikely to happen. Marrying into a non-Western culture means accepting some differences, and this is one of them. (I am married to someone who, while born in Canada, is a daughter to two immigrants from fairly traditional backgrounds, and this is just "how it is." Deal.)

That shouldn't be a deal-breaker on the other hand - a good relationship with in-laws is a 'nice to have', rather than a 'necessity' for a good marriage, I think.
posted by modernnomad at 2:14 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

[A couple of comments deleted. Helpful and productive, please.]
posted by taz at 4:06 AM on April 11, 2014

Trust your boyfriend.

Don't worry so much about being liked by your in-laws. In time, they'll accustom themselves to you and you'll reach a rapproachment, if not affection. If there are children involved, it will happen prior to their arrival.

You know his mother likes and respects you, his family is disappointed that he didn't choose someone from their culture. They've lived however many years of his life, imagining his wedding, and their grandchildren. The fact that you are his choice does NOT fit into the ideas they've been cherishing since his birth. They need time to get used to the idea.

Your boyfriend has known them all his life, he's been in his culture all his life, it is appropriate for him to deal directly with his parents.

So don't send the letter, don't intervene at all at this point.

Instead, work hard to be your most awesome self. Don't suck up to his family, but don't distance yourself either. Follow your boyfriend's lead.

Additionally, be sure to do a lot of premarital counseling, either through one or both of your faith groups. Mixed marriages can be awesome (mine is) but you need to be on the same page about the most important things, and to anticipate strategies for working through the rough spots.

This goes double and triple if you're planning on having children.

Love is awesome, but so is pragmatic anticipation of problems and issues associated with blending two cultures.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:35 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

You sound like a go-getter type person, who actively moves to achieve a goal. That's awesome, but in this case you need to relinquish control and recognize that there is nothing you can do to speed up the process of his parents accepting you. Lean back, take a deep breath. It's okay, the way things are now. Let them cone round in their own time.

In the meantime confront your negative attitude towards their social norms. If you don't, you will make a happy end difficult. Specifically this "living in lies" thing. Your American upbringing (I assume!) says to you that getting things out into the open, hashing things out and being direct is good. Their society values the unsaid word. The discretion of acting on information that is merely implied and denied, the grace of ignoring a blatant thing if this makes it easier for everyone.

In these Ask vs. Guess discussions Askers often say they don't see a point in Guesser mentality, that it makes things difficult, and isn't their way better? Perhaps. But you are now living in a society where talking directly about awkward stuff (like your letter) is not the done thing. If you don't learn to embrace that, if you go on thinking that your in laws' social behaviour compares unfavourably to yours, you will never get closer to them.

I don't mean that you should become like them ( persumably your guy loves the way you are!) But stop seeing your in laws' locally normal behaviour, even when you find it difficult to understand and deal with, as a problem. It is not the problem. They are not the problem you need to solve.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:24 AM on April 11, 2014 [11 favorites]

Also, not posting on Facebook may well mean they don't know how to act towards you ( as you are neither merely an acquaintance nor a fiancee, but this weird thing called a girlfriend, who knows how serious, and what are the norms about how to act around girlfriends and omg is this awkward...why did he have to tell us??!). So maybe they're just discretely silent while they're stewing on it!
posted by Omnomnom at 6:33 AM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

Also, the letter is not a good idea. In my experience, it would read as boundary-crossing and weird.

I agree with this 100%. Your intention is good, and understandable, but there are just so many ways a letter could go wrong. It puts your SO's mom in a very awkward position, and I think you will be viewed as an aggressor/transgressor.

SO's Mom is processing, and will come around (or not) on her own timeline. I know this is very uncomfortable for you, but I think the best thing you can do is: nothing. That's hard when your anxiety and natural tendencies to want to smooth things over are kicking in, but this is definitely one of those lean-back vs. lean-in situations.

And don't sweat the people who are tut-tutting at you for not being more grokked into the culture. You can live somewhere for years, and still not really know how dating/family dynamics work until you are actually in the thick of it.
posted by nacho fries at 8:58 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

I think you need to give his parents some time. They need to get used to the idea of your relationship, and that will take a while. 2 months just isn't that long for someone who has had all future expectations concerning a child turned completely upside-down.

I also think the letter is a bad idea, they need to process this on their own and if they need more information they can ask. Even in an "average" American family such a letter might be seen as a bit pushy. Also, coming right out and calling the circumstances of the relationship a "deception" could be problematic, especially since you said this is a culture where social interactions require some denial and saving face.

My sister is married to a man from a conservative country and culture that generally frowns upon marrying foreigners. Her in-laws refused to even MEET her for over a year after her husband announced their relationship (and, like you, she was fluent in the local language and very knowledgeable about the country). My sister did not push the issue, but during that year various other relatives really encouraged the parents to meet her. Finally they agreed and she was able to build a relationship with them, to the point that the parents fully approved when they eventually got married. It took several years, but she now has a very positive and close relationship with her in-laws.

Hopefully that will be your outcome, though it may take time. Good luck!
posted by janerica at 12:01 PM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

They are not actively protesting the relationship, but they aren't supporting it either - this is a feeling in the air, not anything specific.

If this were an American family I would describe it as simmering disapproval and resignation. The "Well shit, they're adults now and there's not much we can do about it past shut up and hope for the best." For plenty of American families this is about as good as it gets. (And jeesh, my kingdom for an entire season of dating without comment from my family.)

Your foreignness in the culture and in The Family may seem like the most salient aspect of this dynamic, but to me it sounds like pretty standard in-law stuff. You don't fit Mom's expectations, she's not fitting yours and everyone's all kerfuffled. American advice columns, self-hep books, AskMe blah blah blah are littered with the carcases of upset adult children and upset adult parents tarrying with all manner of conflicting needs, desires and expectations.

Besides, I don't think we have any special purchase on parents supporting adult children's chosen anything. One could go as far as to say that in the States not needing parental or in-law support or approval to be okay is part of being an adult and making adult choices about adult relationships. In this respect you can still navigate this as an American without getting yourself into too much trouble.

As others have said, approaching this with American expectations if fundamentally flawed. But if that's your bent keep in mind that some of the rules that apply here apply where you are.

Some of those rules. Soliciting in-law approval is a miserable errand so don't tie yourself into knots trying to get it. You manage your folks how you see fit, he manages his folks how he sees fit. If partner's expertise is credible and partner is trying to help you not do something they know will blow up in your face, don't strong-arm partner for help blowing shit up. You're local friends may see room to maneuver within the logic of this culture, but they're not intimates in culture of The Family, so be wary of advice from non-locals. Be circumspect about advice from people who don't have to live with the consequences of that advice. Leaning on people who are already reliable fonts of love and acceptance is a better balm for the ouchies of rejection than chasing after the person who rejected you.

Keep in mind too your own interpretation - that her response is about what you represent and not about who you are. That's a pretty good definition of this isn't personal. Right now her reaction isn't about you, so don't fuck with it and give her a reason to make this about you.

Your first question about how to understand this situation is your best one. Bad things happen when folks try to change something before they understand it. I'm guessing you've done well in this culture with a good mix of smarts, humility, curiosity and adventurousness. Chances are good this spirit will serve you well with the family.
posted by space_cookie at 1:30 PM on April 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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