8 Things I’m Looking Forward to this Season

8 Things I'm Looking Forward to this Christmas Season

The Nyquil fog has been heavy with us this week.

I don’t know if it was the 6 day weekend I had last week or the cold I’ve had since last Tuesday, but I feel like I cannot get myself together this week. The entire week has passed by in a blur, and I’m feeling a little blue as the things I set out to accomplish in November did. not. happen.

But I’m learning to be gracious with myself in realizing I can’t do it all, especially when I’m already stretched thin everywhere (except for my pants. Girlfriend needs some new pants.) I was looking forward to publishing the last installment of the Creating Space series on Wednesday, but since my last interview was with Mr. M himself, and we were both feeling under the weather, I just let it slide. So this week is just going to be a throw away week. We’ll start afresh on Monday.

Being December 1st, I’m v excited about the prospects of Christmas. And yet I was telling Mr. M it doesn’t feel like Christmas at all. Last year I don’t feel like I got to truly celebrate Christmas, as we were in wedding mode until December 10th, and honeymoon mode until December 18th. So I only truly got 6 days of Christmas cheer in there. I’m told this is what adulthood is. The Christmas magic is gone until we’ve got little babes of our own.

And speaking of babies, we’re not planning on getting pregnant anytime soon. Although I’ve made it my seasonal joke of the year that the holidays make me want kids, but I want to give them back on January.

I am looking forward to December, though. And I have a few fun things planned for the blog this month, too.

8 Things I'm Looking Forward to this Christmas Season

Things I’m Looking Forward to in the Blog World

Next week you can look forward to all marriage posts Monday, Wednesday, and Friday because it is anniversary week!

The following week I am collaborating with Tiffany from Endless Bliss, and I’m looking forward to that because she is doing #Blogmas this year. You go, Glenn Coco.

And really, we can all expect *mostly* Christmas related posts for the rest of the month. I also decided today on a whim that I was going to join Kate from A Thought & a Half’s Instagram challenge, because I love a good Insta challenge.

 

My very favorite blog I love to read this time of year is Brennan’s 25 Days of Ugly Christmas Apparel. I featured him on Hugs & Lattes several years ago, and I am psyched that he’s back for year 7.

8 Things I'm Looking Forward to this Christmas Season

What I’m Looking Forward to in Real Life

I mentioned this in the previous section, but y’all – our first anniversary is upon us! I cannot believe Mr. M and I have been married for a year already. This has been the most joyful year of my life, and I can’t wait for many more. You guys know that we love to get away, but with the holidays and our work schedules, we are going to wait unitl January or February for our little anniversary getaway. Instead Mr. M has planned for us to spend some intentional time next weekend here at home. I’m excited to see what he has planned!

8 Things I'm Looking Forward to this Christmas Season

And like the extrovert I am, I planned a Christmas party for, of course, our anniversary weekend. Woops. We have approximately 1 billion tacky Christmas mugs leftover from the big day, so we are pulling together a few friends to give them away to while we stuff our faces with delicious holiday food.

Every year when the Advent rolls around, I love to center myself on what Christmas is truly about. Besides the joy of the festivities with family and friends – and the presents of course – Christmas is a time to celebrate and reflect on my faith and the coming of Jesus Christ. I love following along with She Reads Truth’s Advent series. I believe their plan starts on December 3rd on the app or online.

This year we are spending Christmas in both North Carolina and Tennessee, so I’m excited to hole ourselves in a cabin for a night, and then see my family for a night. We’re still figuring out what it looks like to spend Christmas with both of our very large extended families; and I know it will be a matter of compromise and grace as we navigate making our own traditions and still incorporating family into the holidays. Maybe in a couple years when we have it all together (haha) I’ll be more inclined to write about it.

Last month I wrote down something I was thankful for each day, as a way to intentionally celebrate Thanksgiving. I decided to continue the tradition with December. It’s a great reflective practice to look back at the end of each day and find a moment of joy and gratitude.

What are you looking forward to this month? 

 

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Leftover Turkey Recipes + Weekend Recap

Normally on Monday mornings I like to post something deep, heartfelt, or inspirational to start our weeks off right. But let’s be real, we’re all in a Thanksgiving coma right now, so today I’m going with a good ole’ traditional weekend recap + low maintenance delicious ideas for that leftover turkey in your fridge.

Friendsgiving 

low maintenance turkey recipes

Thanksgiving for us began on Tuesday evening. Mr. M and I combined our respective small groups that regularly  meet on Tuesday night for a Friendsgiving extravaganza. I started roasting the turkey that afternoon, only after realizing I had to let the turkey “temper” from the fridge. I, of course, documented the whole ordeal on my Instastory, probably making my vegan friends unfollow me with grotesque images of raw turkey flesh.

But! Alls well that ends well. The turkey was delicious, and fellowshipping with friends was even better.

Thanksgiving 

weekend recap

On Thursday, Mr. M and I traveled to my hometown to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. Since Mr. M’s family doesn’t have a set Thanksgiving routine, they’ve joined us the last two years for Thanksgiving. If we’re all being honest, none of us remember much from Thanksgiving last year since we were all in wedding mode, so it was nice to have a more relaxed atmosphere this year. I made green bean casserole halfway from scratch (when I realized I ran out of cream of mushroom soup) and now it’s my designated dish. The key to good green bean casserole? Buckets of fried crispy onions.

Holiday Traditions

low maintenance turkey recipes

Growing up, my mom always rolled out buckeyes around Christmastime. Now when we come home for Thanksgiving break, I like to sit down with my mom and make buckeyes. It’s an office favorite, and I love carrying on traditions from my mom into my sphere.

Blogger Meet Up

weekend recap

Last year,  I noticed that Divya from Eat, Teach, Blog lived in my hometown, so when I came in town, we met up for a little coffee blate. It was so fun to hear more about each other’s lives, turning our online friendship into IRL friendship! She even brought me a little gift, which absolutely warmed my heart. She picked up a bangle from her sister’s wedding and a cute little Christmas scarf! She and her husband Ankur love to take weekend trips, so we’re hoping they’ll come check out our town for a visit!

weekend recap

Professional Tree Decking

weekend recap

Sunday afternoon after Mr. M and I got back, I helped his sister decorate their family Christmas tree; I’m considering making this a profession. If you are feeling joyless but want your house seasonally decorated, call your girl. Mr. M and I spent the evening snuggled up on the couch watching The Holiday and drinking hot tea. It feels as if the Christmas season has finally begun <3

Leftover Turkey Recipes

Delicious Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

Last night while Mr. M was playing FIFA 18, I was scrolling through Facebook and happened upon a yummy looking leftover turkey recipe, so I thought I would share some yummy recipe ideas with you all so you don’t have to make that dreaded grocery store run this week!

For Breakfast: 

Waffled Leftover Thanksgiving Brunch 

Turkey for breakfast? Yes please! This spin on chicken and waffles sounds EVEN better. I’m thinking I can make our turkey last until Saturday so Mr. M and I can enjoy a nice little brunch.

Lunch 

Turkey Caesar Sandwich

This turkey caesar sandwich makes for a great lunch or a light dinner. I made this for Mr. M and I last night with a bow of chili on the side. It was quick and easy to whip up, and left our bellies feeling full and satisfied.

Dinner 

Caramelized Onion & Cream Cheese Turkey Enchiladas 

Ready to move away from comfort food? These caramelized onion & cream cheese turkey enchiladas sound delicious and low maintenance.

How was your Thanksgiving holiday? 

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Living in Limbo [Creating Space]

Creating Space

Creating Space is a 5 part series that will be featured on Hugs & Lattes every Wednesday through the month of November. This is the 4th installment. To view last three posts, see here and here and here. Please note that the interviewee’s experiences are their own; they cannot speak for anyone and everyone in their circumstances. While stories may be similar, each individual has their own perspective. 

I have no idea how I first came to follow Divya’s blog, but as I noticed her posting pictures on her Facebook page, I realized that a lot of the background scenery looked eerily familiar – like – she was living where I grew up. Let me tell you, friends, coming from small town East Tennessee, you never expect to find someone on the Internet who lives where you are from. I reached out to her about a year ago and we compared notes about life in rural East Tennessee. I have loved following Diya’s blog; she has so many wise observations about the world, self-care, and life. My all-time favorite post is one of her most recent posts where she recaps her sister’s wedding in Cancun. And now I am determined to somehow be invited and/or crash an Indian wedding one day because oh. my. word. They know how to party! I’m glad that I have the opportunity to introduce you guys to an amazing blogger who is sharing her experiences growing up in America and transplanting to East Tennessee. (Which, let’s be real, is like being in a whole ‘nother country for some of y’all.)

Creating Space

Tell me About You

Tell me a little about yourself, your family, where you grew up, etc. 

I spent 30 years of my life as a resident of California. (Seriously. Moving day was ON my 30th birthday). I grew up in Southern California, attended UCLA for college, and then, after I completed my Masters and credentialing program I moved up to the Bay Area to begin teaching up there. I’m a special education teacher and I absolutely adore spending my day figuring out how to connect with little ones and identifying how to best meet their needs.

What has it been like to move from California to a small town in East Tennessee with a small minority population?

In June of 2016, I moved across country to rural Tennessee so my husband could pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. From spending most of my life in a big city or the surrounding suburbs, I went through quite a bit of culture shock when I moved out here. Not to mention, I look a whole lot different than the average resident.

I was fortunate and found a teaching job almost immediately and spent the months between August-March teaching as a 4th grade inclusion teacher at a local elementary school. In March, I decided to quit. It was really difficult to be an outsider coming in and suggesting changes being made to a pretty cemented system. I figured I could be a better advocate for my students if I wasn’t an employee of the county. Now, I’m temporarily working an administrative job at the university my husband attends school at.

Tell me about your faith and why it is important to you. 

My faith. Oh, my faith. It’s a tricky thing to explain to people. I grew up in a divided household. Both of my parents were born Hindus. My mom continues to practice her faith and my dad identifies as being somewhere between Atheist and Agnostic. Because Hinduism is so much more than a religion – it’s got a bit of culture tied into everything – I grew up practicing a lot of the traditions and participating in the prayers because it all blended together. It’s hard to really categorize each holiday or celebration as being “religious” or not.

My mom has a mandir (a shrine with statues and images of all the gods and goddesses) both upstairs and downstairs in my childhood home. And – from the day I popped out of her womb – she has been committed to praying once in the morning and once in the evening. She would make us stand at the mandir before an exam or before a big presentation. And she would make sure we repeated the Gayatri Mantra (a sacred chant) before we were allowed to open our eyes and step away from the mandir.

My father, on the other hand, believes that religion is so much more than standing in front of a deity and praying. He believes religion is in your day to day conduct. Your behavior. Your ability to stand in front of a mirror and say, “Was I the best possible person I could possibly be today?”

My father grew up in India at a time when the Muslim/Hindu riots were at a really high, stressful point. He was just a child, but he can still vividly remember homes being burned down, people dying, and horrible things happening. Because of religion. So, needless to say, he hasn’t been a big fan of the whole religion thing.

So, it’s hard to really know what MY faith is when I grew up in a divided, confusing household. I feel fortunate that neither one of my parents pushed anything on me or my sister. They gave us room to figure it out on our own.

Today, I identify as being a Hindu. And in the Hindu religion, we have many gods and goddesses. It is an all-inclusive religion. Hindus believe there is a single eternal path, but do not believe that any one religion is the only valid religion. The “eternal path” is seen reflected in all religions. And that kind of acceptance and love for all is what draws me to identifying with being a Hindu.

Creating Space

On Identity

How has growing up in America shaped your identity?

I grew up in a predominately white neighborhood and was one of the few minority kids at my elementary school and high school. I, naturally, gravitated toward the other Asian kids. But despite my friend group, I still felt as though I stuck out. Sure, the color of my skin. But in other ways that were a little less obvious. When my friends came over, I would apologize that my house smelled like masala. When it was lunch time at school, I shamefully kept my sandwich inside my brown bag as I tore up piece by piece so my friends didn’t have to see that my mom had thrown in the Indian leftovers in between two pieces of toast. When my grandparents called on my cell phone, I would step away from the crowd I was with so they didn’t have to hear me speak in Hindi. It was a really challenging time to grow up in a place where you felt so different. I didn’t quite feel 100% Indian. But I didn’t quite feel 100% American. I was in limbo. And it was really, really confusing for my young brain.

Do you have any pivotal memories growing up that strengthened or weakened your perception and identity of who you are?

When I went to college and met other people who looked like me, grew up like me, celebrated the same traditions as me, I started embracing my culture. Surprisingly, I didn’t gravitate toward the Indian crowd the way other Indians tend to do in college. It was nice to know that they were there. But I just sort of observed them from a distance while I found a good group of friends through the organizations I was involved in. Because there was SO much diversity in college, I felt way more comfortable talking about my culture, sharing my Indian food that I brought from home after the weekends, etc.

What do you love about your culture?

Something I love about the Indian culture is the community. I spent my entire life calling random strangers “Aunty” and “Uncle” and, when I was younger, I genuinely thought I was related to every single person that came over to my house. But, turns out, that’s just what we do. It feels like family when I come across someone who is Indian because we know the same language, we eat the same foods, we celebrate the same holidays. And we’re loud and rambunctious and obnoxious. But when you’re in the midst of all the chaos, it just feels good to look around and feel at home.

Creating Space

Racism in America 

What are some microaggressions you have experienced in the US?

Most of the microaggressions have been due to a lack of understanding and (hopefully) not malevolent. I’ve been called Mexican quite a few times. Anytime we had a substitute teacher, I would cringe when I heard the sigh and then the lack of effort as they started to spell out the name. Since moving to the small town in Tennessee, I’ve had a number of people ask me why I’m here. Because I stand out. Again, none of these situations have made me feel unsafe. It was just me coming across people who were confused and/or curious.

What has been your response? 

Before this year, if anyone made a comment or a general judgment about Indian people, I could feel my blood boiling. I got really defensive and angry and wanted to throw it right back in their face. I remember – so vividly – an interaction with someone who was born and brought up in rural Tennessee. We were celebrating a co-worker’s birthday and he popped his head into the room and said, “Do they celebrate birthdays in India?” I was so taken aback by the question that I immediately fired back, “No. We’re all monkeys out there. We don’t really understand the concept of a birthday.” Everyone around me laughed. Most of them realized I was joking. And this man joined in on the laughter, but I could tell he felt a little uneasy. Like maybe he wasn’t sure if I was telling the truth. Like maybe he couldn’t tell if he offended me. It wasn’t until I went home later that evening that I realized that he probably didn’t know. He was asking a question. An honest question. And, instead of using it as an opportunity to share things about my culture, I just shot him down. I was pissed at his ignorance. But I didn’t offer a way out of that ignorance. I could have very easily opened up the channels to communicate about our different cultures, but because I was so defensive and uncomfortable at being viewed as different than the majority here, I just got angry.

How do you reconcile your faith in your religion/faith in humanity with the racial tension we have witnessed this past year?

I’m learning. Living here has been one of the greatest opportunities I have been given. Because it’s forcing me out of my California bubble. It’s forcing me to feel uncomfortable and move in closer to people who may have never met an Indian person in their entire life. It’s teaching me that I don’t have to blend in. That I can stand out. Even if it makes me feel awkward and unusual.

What is one thing you wish the white community could understand when it comes to race and racism in America?

I’m finding that I am living in fear more than anything else. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of feeling disconnected. Fear of criticism and judgment. Fear of thinking that people will be threatened by the color of my skin. And, with the current climate of our country, I worry that someone is going to view me as a terrorist. I don’t think this is something that is in the forefront of my mind all the time. I don’t fear walking into our local grocery store. I don’t fear going out to dinner. It’s just this dull fear that lives in me. All the time. That forces me to assimilate and acclimate to the culture around me so people don’t think that I’m any different. I notice myself doing it when I’m at the airport. When I’m sitting in the exit row in an airplane, I think to myself, “Make sure you give a verbal “Yes” with eye contact and a friendly smile so they don’t think you’re going to take this plane down.”

It’s small things like that. Where I alter my behavior so that I don’t even give someone the opportunity to question me.

Creating Spcae

Unity

What does unity look like to you?

I’m currently reading Brene Brown’s, ‘Braving the Wilderness’ and it’s shining light on all the things that we, as a society, are doing to make us more and more divisive over time.

This quote speaks to me. So much. And I’m hoping that, with time, this stuff comes to me naturally. But I’m so grateful for the opportunity – today, tomorrow, and the next day – to keep showing up and trying.

“True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. If we are going to change what is happening in a meaningful way we’re going to need to intentionally be with people who are different from us. We’re going to have to sign up and join, and take a seat at the table. We’re going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain, and be more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness.” – Brene Brown

Divya Mathur is the blogger behind Eat Teach Blog. A recent transplant to rural Tennessee from sunny California, she is currently struggling with how to dress herself when the temperatures drop below 65 degrees. She experienced her first snowfall in January of this year and she is loving this new adventure in Tennessee as her husband pursues his dream of becoming a doctor. She loves reading, experimenting in the kitchen, and going on long hikes. She’s also a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur and – if calories didn’t count – would live off of french fries and froyo!
You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook 

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Intentional Gratitude + Friendsgiving Guides

Intentional Gratitude + Friendsgiving Guides

Over the past three weeks, I’ve been writing out something I’m grateful for each day. As it turns out, most of the things I’m thankful for are food related and/or coffee related. Tomorrow night Mr. M and I are pre-gaming for Thanksgiving with a Friendsgiving Extravaganza with our small groups. I bought a 20 pound turkey and cheated and bought 2 packages of pre-smoked ham for extra meat, and am going to try to conquer roasting a turkey again. I roasted a turkey a couple of years ago and it started with me getting REAL intimate with a turkey, sobbing while running water through the body’s cavity, and ended with friendship and zero food poisoning.

Perhaps my subconscious is stressed, because I was up for a solid hour at 5am thinking our Friendsgiving was Tuesday and our Christmas party was Friday. When I woke up fully, I realized our Christmas party is, in fact, 3 weeks and I’m going to be okay.

So if you happen to be throwing a Friendsgiving party and need some guidance, these bloggers have great how – to guides you should check out:

Hosting a Stress-Free Friendsgiving from The Millennial Sprinkle

How to Host Thanksgiving 101 from Coming Up Roses

The 10 Commandments of Friendsgiving from Kitchn

Maybe this time next year you’ll see a little how-to guide from yours truly. But for now, we’re going to rely on the expertise of others and I’m going to start emotionally and mentally preparing myself to sick my hand up a turkey’s butt tomorrow morning.

Intentional Gratitude + Friendsgiving GuidesAdd heading

Practicing Intentional Gratitude 

Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving are my favorite holidays, and not just for the food – although that is preetttty important in my book. I see Thanksgiving as the tailgate to the Christmas season. We’re gathered around, there’s lots of food, and there’s a feeling of festivity in the air. This is a time of year to catch up with people we don’t see very often, and to extend our gratitude towards each other and the Lord. It’s always like a reset of thankfulness for me. While I practice gratitude and thankfulness throughout the month of November, I should practice it year round.

So how do we take Thanksgiving out of November and practice a thankful heart in the bitter cold days of January?

By being intentional.

Intentional gratitude is recognizing in each moment that this is a gift. This can be your life, your job that you hate, your relationships, your teeny apartment, etc. When you practice intentional gratitude, you live your life on purpose.

So count your blessings this Thanksgiving, and then do it again and again and again until your life is overwhelmed with gratitude.

Intentional Gratitude + Friendsgiving GuidesAdd heading

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4 Reasons to Travel w/ Your Spouse’s Family

4 Reasons to Travel with your Spouse's Family

When Mr. M and I started spending more time with each other at our family’s houses, we learned a LOT about our family structure. For instance, Mr. M’s family is chill. Even though there are four kids, they are all close in age; all but one are now adults. His youngest sibling was 10 when we started dating.

In contrast, all six of the kids in my family are all close in age, but there are SIX of us. My parents went on the 2 1/2 – 3 year plan, so we are all evenly spaced out. My youngest sibling was 5 when we started dating. His family is pretty low-key, my family is high octane. We spent a lot of time at his family’s house sitting around and talking; we spend a lot of time at my family’s house sitting around and talking and doing and there is always noise in some capacity. Most of the members of my family have busy personalities, and all of us kids speak loudly. You would think we have Italian roots, but nope. We’re Scotch-Irish.

About a year after we first started dating, I went on a family vacation with Mr. M’s family. We spent a week at the beach with no set schedule. We stayed up late playing Settlers of Catan, slept in until 11am or so, spent the afternoon on the beach, and took turns cooking in the evening. Our vacation mirrored the way the M family live their life.

Last weekend Mr. M and I flew to Las Vegas to see the Thunderbird Air Show with my entire immediate family + my pappaw. This was the first “family vacation” Mr. M had gone on with us. We had been invited by a colleague of my dad’s who had been a Thunderbird back in his day. The reunion show was breathtaking. Planes were zipping everywhere, performing amazing tricks. Having the Thunderbird Air Show on Veteran’s Day Weekend also put a lump in my throat; I am so thankful for the men and women and their families who sacrifice to fight for our country and our freedom.

Aside from the Thunderbird Air Show, we tried to pack as much of Vegas into the short weekend as we could. The weekend was very reminiscent of how my family operates – high octane. I love it. I am always wanting to go and do. I get it from my mama. We spent the weekend walking through hotels, eating good food, watching my brave sister jump off the Stratosphere, and getting very little sleep.

On the way home from our trip, I asked Mr. M, “What did you learn about yourself this weekend? What did you learn about my family this weekend?”

I think every couple should go on a vacation with each other’s family either while they are engaged or while they are at the foundation of their marriage. I love to compare and contrast how our family’s do things – not in a bad way, but because we are combining two different cultures and it makes for a lot of fun and intriguing conversation. Really, any marriage is the combining of two family cultures – even if you are both from the same area. Each family has their own way of doing things, and that is what your spouse is used to. So when you are able to observe and discuss how your respective families interact, you are able to grow closer to each other and each other’s family.

4 Reasons to Travel with your Spouse's Family

1 – You learn about each other’s family dynamics

When I went on vacation with Mr. M’s family, I saw the realities of working in ministry: even when you’re on vacation mode, your ministry isn’t. Papa M spent many a late night or early morning on the phone with his ministry coordinator’s in Zimbabwe. Knowing that one day Mr. M and I will be assisting in the coordinating of his family’s ministry stateside, I learned a lot of what it would take to coordinate even on vacation. It sparked a conversation between Mr. M and I surrounding his family’s ministry and the opportunities we will have when we are more involved one day.

When Mr. M went on vacation with my family, he got to see how my family coordinates pulling together the desires of 11 different people each wanting to experience a piece of Las Vegas. While some of us all wanted to do the same thing, there were a few of us who wanted to do different things at different times. The younger kids would want to do something that catered more to their age and style, and the older kids wanted to check out the different hotels. At times we would split up and at times we would come together. Experiencing vacation together with my family allowed Mr. M and I to laugh about how a family of eleven operates versus how a family of six operates. It also allowed us to compare and contrast cultural differences between Americans and Zimbabweans and how we approach family dynamics. This is what happens when a psychologist marries a sociologist.

2 – You see how your spouse responds in “vacation mode” 

Vacation mode with just your spouse is vacation mode with just your spouse. Vacation mode with your spouse and their family is a whole ‘nother animal. When Mr. M and I went on our honeymoon last year, we were the ones calling the shots. We only had to compromise with each other. When we went on vacation with each other’s families, we had to compromise with several other people.

When I went to the beach with Mr. M’s family a couple of years ago, I had to learn to slow down. I was so used to going going and going as how that is how my family’s vacations are usually structured.

When Mr. M went on vacation with my family this past weekend, he had to learn to go go go with the flow. Usually I am the one who likes to know the plan in the relationship, and Mr. M is the one who wants to go with the flow. But when you are coordinating a large group of people, sometimes you only get a partial piece of the puzzle – the piece that is most important to you. I was okay with knowing the most important details, Mr. M wanted more details. In general, this is quite opposite of how we interact at home.

4 Reasons to Travel with your Spouse's Family

3 – You spend quality time with each other’s family 

Gosh, you guys I love love love my family and I love love love Mr. M’s family. Going on vacation with Mr. M’s family was the first time I really felt like I was truly getting to know his family well. Although I had spend countless hours with them, I started to get closer with Mr. M’s family members when we went to the beach. This was also when I started to pick up more Shona words. Although I have it as a life goal to learn to speak Shona fluently, it’s hard to do so when it’s just Mr. M and me and we both speak English most of the time. The only opportunity I get to listen to Shona is when I spend extensive amounts of time with his family.

Having Mr. M spend time with my family – and especially spend quality time with my brothers – brings a lot of joy to my heart. My youngest brother has spent almost half his life with Mr. M being my boyfriend or my husband, so he truly sees him as a brother. Mr. M has even stepped into the older brother role with my sisters – he teases them and also asks them the hard questions concerning their relationships with their boyfriends.

4 – It sets up expectations for how YOU do vacation

Mr. M and I like to say that we get to take the best of both worlds and merge it into one. We get to take our favorite family traditions and implement those into our family. Last night we were laughing about how much I like to do activities and how much he is okay to just sit at home and talk. I said, “Listen, I grew up doing, and you grew up not doing, so we’re just going to have to do.” So on our vacations, we have to have a good mixture of down time but also an exciting excursion.

4 Reasons to Travel with your Spouse's Family

Have you gone on vacation with your spouse’s family? How do you and your spouse navigate the differences between your family?

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