What does it take to be married to a man of another culture, to have kids and to live abroad in the 21st century?!? A lot! Really. A lot. Are you up to it?
Take ‘date nights’ for example; do you remember your parents having quality time, date nights, arranging baby-sitters? Well if you are in your 40’s like moi and are from Brazil, your answer is NO.
Do you remember your mom carefully reading labels at the supermarket, checking out for food colouring, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, Trans Fat and all the indecipherable chemical names 50 letters long!? I guess not!
So, when people (including me) say it is important for a married couple to go on dates, they do not think of what it involves, the stress it actually puts on both parts! Oh yes, you read it right: the stress!
There I was, playing with my toddler, in the backyard, at 6pm, in forever sunny California. It was date night; however, I was still on my mommy duty. Then, my husband gets home earlier, for our date. Only God knows what he did in order to beat the traffic from Palo Alto to Los Gatos and be here before 7pm, on a Friday.
The children are eating: pizza, salad, fruit because it is ‘date night’. It is 6:30pm and my husband and I are looking at those pizza slices…we are not supposed to eat at home. He is enjoying a little glass of wine, I am in my rags, elbows on the island watching the kids eat…My husband and I cheat our way into a shared pizza slice…I say:
‘I am not ready yet, I have to change…’
‘I wish they had beds in these places…’
My husband looks at me in the eye and totally gets it ‘there is no sex implied when a couple with kids asks for a bed! They simply want to sleep!’ We break into a laugh, he says:
‘That would be good!’
‘I’m so dead! Wouldn’t it be great if they had lounges with beds at the bars? Like we could lay down and we could talk and eat, laying down…’ – this is me spelling it all out: please save me from this date! I love you.
I make my way into my closet where the horror starts, between myself and I:
‘I should wear this dress…oh no then I have to change my bra…and my underwear lines show through it…’
‘Perhaps this red dress, I haven’t worn it since Christmas…’ I could wear it with these cute high heels! Oh, no…open toes! Look at my toe nails! Maybe, I could paint just the 3 ones that will be showing? No, I don’t have time for this. Next!’
‘What the heck, jeans it will be then!’ Here, this blue jeans, black tank top, need a cool cardigan…where are you?! Aha! Teens closet…Here! This will do!’
Hair and make up time! Hot iron here we come…I’ll just curl my bangs…Make up…just a bit, who wants to remove tons of make up after midnight?!
‘Oh no! What is this?! Mustache!? End of the world…no, wait! He won’t see this!! He needs glasses! And he cannot see from close (just like I can’t either! lol). If I sit next to him at the bar, and keep my face relatively close to his, he won’t see my faint mustache! Yay!
Last look at the mirror: Wow! Don’t I look good in my 40’s! It is actually a really good thing not to do myself up every day! Because when I make an effort I like the results 😉
At the bar we eat, we talk, we take a selfie, I argue with him. I complain about a bunch of things; I condole the Silicon Valley, I move back to NY, I move back to England, I come back to the Valley…He grabs my face with both his hands and gives me a kiss. I blush, the elder couple at the other end of the bar seems to liven up with our scene. I livened up, we all did. We are back to 1995, London, in front of Big Ben…our first date.
We get married, we have kids, we work, we move around the world, we end up sometimes where we do not want to be! We complain, we strive to be our best, we question this culture, his culture, our culture. We are always tired, we have no help, God help us!
Date night. So that we do not run out of love. Whatever it takes.