As my new love and I navigate and negotiate our way into a relationship, we faced the ultimate test of all: visiting friends and family as a couple. It just so happens that we are both from Vancouver, but met 10,000 km away in Hong Kong. I do not exaggerate when I say that we are serious about food and libation. When people comment on the fact that although we grew up 5 mins. from each other, went to some of the same schools but never met, we tell them that the most incredible thing of all is that we both adore the same local pub :)
Of course, our encounters with friends and family took place over many memorable meals:
1.) Family bbq in Gibsons where we ate hamburgers with cowboys. Someone asked my HK dwelling boyfriend (who asked for a bottle opener) why doesn't he just pop the beer cap with his belt buckle?
2.) Dim sum with the parents- what every white guy must do with his Chinese girlfriend's family. To score brownie points, my sweetie used chopsticks, humored my folks with broken Cantonese, and ate chicken feet (ok, I exaggerated- he'd rather eat dirt).
3.) Pho, the official cheap and cheery food of Vancouver. I swear, they make it better here than in Vietnam.
4.) St. James Well, our favorite local pub. We got pints, met up with long lost friends and even got a counseling session from one of them. His dating advice:
-No matter how sophisticated you think you are, never ever assume anything about your partner's friends and family. If they tell you what to do or not to do with them, you follow their advice and grin and bear it. You avoid a lot of problems later- each family is dysfunctional in its own way, and each friend has issues beyond your imagination.
-Never, under any circumstances, make fun of or disrespect your sig fig's parents. Your mate can express her anger or frustrations with them all she wants, but the minute you do it, the tide will be turned against you.
-Real life is what it is- REAL. You have to deal with work, family, friends, accidents, mortgages etc. etc. etc...Sometimes, it sucks double when you have to truck along with another person's needs and wants rather than just your own. Life is not a bed of roses, so you really should choose wisely about who you lay with, and work together to ensure that it is more flowers than thorns. (Ok, I came up with this one, after years of being pricked and pruned).
Love is like cooking. You start with good ingredients, and use your creativity to spice things up. Sometimes it becomes a masterpiece, and other times, it may be a freaking disaster. It is a craft that demands your attention, and requires years of practice and study. But like all good chefs, you must never give up, because finesse will come with time, and there is nothing like having angels cry on your tongue.