Author Topic: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)  (Read 10414 times)

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freakyfemme

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2007, 09:14:00 PM »
What about picking up a Chinese/ English dictionary? Dog-ear the page for 'vegetarian' in case you end up at the restaurant again. Maybe if you bring a phrasebook to dinner you can converse with Uncle's BF. (My thinking is that you got 'so engrossed' in trying to talk to Uncle's BF that you just didn't know how 'mannerless' you were being  ::). A built in excuse if you will.)

Your mother is going to get upset about something, so accept it and do what you can to have a good holiday.

Actually, Elle, Boyfriend *can* speak English, it's his mother who can't, and she lives in Singapore, so she probably won't be back this year.  Either way, though, the more I think about this, the more I don't want to do it.  I don't really see much point in "preserving a relationship with Uncle and BF" if that "relationship" consists of one meal a year, at a restaurant that nobody likes except BF, and all the hypocrisy surrounding the situation in general just makes me sick.  I feel as if, just by being there, and not being able to successfully stop the slanderous talk in the car, I'm somehow part of the problem.

Elle

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2007, 10:17:53 PM »
Please, for the sake of your own mental health, do not hold yourself responsible for other people's boorishness and bad taste. Sometimes all you can do is make it clear that you disapprove.

(I'd still learn to pronounce the phrase 'Vegetarian Meal' just to increase the odds of getting something substantial and edible to eat.)

freakyfemme

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2007, 10:47:33 AM »
Please, for the sake of your own mental health, do not hold yourself responsible for other people's boorishness and bad taste. Sometimes all you can do is make it clear that you disapprove.

(I'd still learn to pronounce the phrase 'Vegetarian Meal' just to increase the odds of getting something substantial and edible to eat.)

Good idea. :)

LyanneB1

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2007, 03:07:37 AM »
Freakyfemme, I know you want to set the boundaries for a lot of issues, absolutely reasonable issues too.  But if you can bring yourself to reduce it to 1 or 2 issues this time you might have more success. 

I'd tackle needing food you can eat if you're eating with them.  This is something all people NEED to have.  It's not something any reasonable person should deliberately deny anyone.  I appreciate that you have chosen to eat vegetarian food, as opposed to a food intolerance or (as far as I know) a religious requirement, but you need to be firm in your mind that people who expect that you eat food that doesn't meet your needs are the unreasonable ones. 

Are there any Canadian vegetarian sites/books that might be able to recommend a vegetarian Chinese restaurant in Toronto?  Then you could say in front of everyone, in advance, 'as you all know, last-year's-restaurant wasn't able to provide vegetarian food but chinese restaurants A B or C can*, could we go to one of them instead of last-year's-restaurant?'

You say it in front of everyone, Mom, Dad, Bigfoot, Uncle & Boyfriend so they all hear you say it; cannot reply in an offensive manner without all hearing it, all hear that you acknowledge the preference for chinese food but state your expectation for food that you can eat.  I get the impression that your Mom is less likely to say anything unpleasant in front of Uncle & Boyfriend.

If anyone says it's not possible to go to a restaurant where you can eat, smile and say 'Ok, I hope you all have a good time.  Uncle & Boyfriend, I look forward to seeing you next time.'

If they say ok, keep setting the boundaries and state 'Great, I'm looking forward to it.  What time shall I book the table for?  2pm or 5pm?**  2pm, great, I'll meet you there.  Must go & book the table now.'  And walk away from your Mom.

If you meet them there, you control what you're doing beforehand & leave it open that you can leave when you need to.  These are again reasonable needs.  (Though I know nothing of how you can get around Toronto, so realise they may not be practical needs for this situation.)  Work out in advance how you would get to the restaurants, taxi, bus, walk.  If the buses don't run at convenient times for the restaurant, how early would you be & what in your comfort zone could you do before meeting them?  Zoo, coffee shop, swimming pool...?

And if they can't commit to a certain time, again, smile & say 'Oh that's a shame.  I'm afraid it won't be possible for me to meet you then.  I hope you have a good time.  Uncle & Boyfriend, I look forward to seeing you next time.'

I'm going to be honest with you and tell you that I don't think (based on you other posts about your mom) it will stop your mom telling you later that you were rude.  But she will be wrong.

*I'd phone or email the restaurants in advance to ask what they mean by vegetarian food, asking what they can recommend that meets your stated needs.

** Insert suitable times for the group!

freakyfemme

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2007, 12:13:00 PM »
Lyanne, those are all good ideas, except for the following:

1.  Boyfriend ALWAYS PICKS the restaurant, and he'll only eat AUTHENTIC Chinese, which is often not vegetarian.  They usually arrange the whole thing in advance, and order everything for all of us.  So, I have no say, and I'd be called "rude" if I in any way implied that I should have some say.  Oh, and my parents (and sometimes even Bigfoot) have NO problem being rude to me in front of Uncle and Boyfriend.  In fact, having them there will make the standards for MY behaviour even higher.  So, if I tried to say something, I'd get shushed PDQ, and more yelling/lectures/silent treatment would ensue later at home.

2.  I don't live in Toronto, I'm not familiar with Toronto.  I've visited several times, and been through there on my way to and from school, but I don't know enough to plan a whole afternoon by myself there.  Besides, my parents would never allow me to drive myself there, because A) I'd have to take my mom's car while the rest of the family took my dad's car, and B) I just got my license this past summer......it's a G2 license, which is the middle stage of graduated licensing in Ontario.  So, I can drive by myself, wherever I want, but I can't have any alcohol in my blood, I have to wear a seat belt (both fine), and I can't take non-family passengers between midnight and five a.m. (also fine).

3.  I'm not sure it's really reasonable for me to take the bus for two hours EACH WAY (and pay for the privilege) just to attend a dinner where I know I'm going to be made uncomfortable.  Besides, the bus isn't really a viable solution for "need a way out, NOW!!!"; because there's a wait involved, and the restaurant might not even be near the bus station.  Also, if I left in the middle of dinner, that would definitely qualify as "making a scene," and it'd spoil the whole outing for everyone else.........I don't even want to think about how long and how badly I'd be shunned if I did that.  So, once I've committed been strong-armed into going, I'll be committed to staying through the entire meal, NO MATTER WHAT. 

audrey1962

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2007, 12:21:26 PM »
"Mom, this trip didn't work last year. I can promise you that if you make me go, this year will be a repeat."

That'll just be misread as "What, you mean you're NOT PREPARED TO BE POLITE?!?!?!"  Then she'd give me the silent treatment and be embarrassed to be seen with me whether I go or not......good try, though. :)  I think I might be able to get out of it if I say I'm teaching a clarinet lesson that day, though......and if I really am, even better, I get to check in with Stella too. :)

I echo carafin's advice. Yes, your mother will probably protest, but it sounds like she'll protest no matter what you say.

However, if you feel you must attend this dinner and you can not control which restaurant you will go to, I recommend you pack a few energy bars in your purse.

Hanna

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2007, 01:19:37 PM »
Honestly dear, you both sounded a little high-maintenence on that trip.  I am sure your parents aren't thrilled about UBF and his dining demands, but they can't really control that. 

As it is, I think your solution of asking your parents to host and volunteering to help out is a great one.  I don't think it is necessary to make Chinese food unless you really wish to do that. 

If they are not keen on the idea, I would explain "Last year was not even remotely enjoyable, I don't like the food and I find crowds annoying.  If we can't do something different this year, I would like to gracefully bow out."

I think you explain "I don't like the food" without bringing the vegetarianism into it, since they are insensitive about it.   
I think you also explain "Crowds are extremely unpleasant."  without making it about panic attacks.
It is hard for people to argue with either of these things.  Your mother may see your mentions of vegetarianism and panic attacks to be attention seeking.
Many people do not like to eat chinese food, and even more hate dealing with crowds. 
(I don't see it that way, but she just might)

Two questions:
Why do you not like UBF to hug you and does he know the reason?  (I can see alot of possible reasons, and whatever your reason I think it should be honored.)
How does your mother know what you are eating/not eating?  Is she policing it at the table or are you making it obvious you hate the food?

LyanneB1

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2007, 04:54:08 PM »
((Freakyfemme))  Your family are going to say you are rude, no matter what you do.  (Based on what you have posted about them in the past.)

I hadn't realised the food is all ordered in advance - my experience of chinese restaurants in the UK is that they are pretty good about catering for vegetarians, I think because they are aware of the religious dietary needs of Buddhists.  Staff are always quick to suggest something for me or my vegan mum, even something not on the menu.  So, I don't think the problem is because of the type of food, it's because of the people ordering it & their lack or awareness/interest in what you can eat.

If you think Uncle & Boyfriend might be willing to listen to you, I found this http://www.happycow.net/north_america/canada/ontario/toronto/index.html  From the reviews & in your position, I'd try the Lotus Pond - the review suggests the staff need to be spoken to in Chinese, giving Boyfriend a chance to show his expertise  ;)

But, from the extra information you've given us, to be honest, I think you're right & you need an excuse not to be there.  I would tell my mum I couldn't go as the doctor thought I could have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (true for me) and it's suggested one avoids spicy &/or greasy food.

I looked at the NHS Direst website about it http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/articles/article.aspx?articleId=217&sectionId=1 and I have selected a couple of highlights
Quote
Up to 60% of people with the syndrome have psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. The disorder sometimes develops after a gastrointestinal infection. An increased sensitivity or intolerance to certain foods may also contribute.
Quote
It can be helpful to cut out spicy and fatty foods from the diet, as well as gas producing vegetables such as beans.

The thing about IBS is that stress makes it worse.  I know I only have symptoms when I am under emotional stress.  So you will be likely feeling the adominal discomfort because you are stressed about this, whether you have IBS or not.  I'm not telling you to say you have it (unless a Doctor has said you do), but I'd say you were exhibiting the symptoms & show your mom the symptoms.  She should then be relieved that you will not be going.

I disagree with Hanna's suggestion that you leave it that you don't like Chinese food as it doesn't sound like your family do either, so aren't likely to accept that.

freakyfemme

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2007, 01:44:29 AM »
"Mom, this trip didn't work last year. I can promise you that if you make me go, this year will be a repeat."

That'll just be misread as "What, you mean you're NOT PREPARED TO BE POLITE?!?!?!"  Then she'd give me the silent treatment and be embarrassed to be seen with me whether I go or not......good try, though. :)  I think I might be able to get out of it if I say I'm teaching a clarinet lesson that day, though......and if I really am, even better, I get to check in with Stella too. :)

I echo carafin's advice. Yes, your mother will probably protest, but it sounds like she'll protest no matter what you say.

However, if you feel you must attend this dinner and you can not control which restaurant you will go to, I recommend you pack a few energy bars in your purse.

The food issue isn't the only issue, Audrey.......what about the issues of all the hypocrisy towards my uncle and his boyfriend, and all the scapegoating towards me?  I think it's wrong to make all those racist and homophobic jokes behind their backs, but then be all sugary-sweet and fake to their faces (even to the point of getting MAD at me for refusing a hug from Boyfriend, when I barely know him).  Also, I don't regret the choices I made in life, and I don't appreciate being told that I "don't know what I'm talking about" when I say that I don't want to go to the University of Toronto like my parents and my brother, because I don't want to live in Toronto, among other reasons.  Even if there was NO food involved, I don't think I should be subjected to another outing of that nature.


Edited to add:  Lyanne, as for the food ordering issue, it's not mandatory to order it in advance, but Uncle and Boyfriend just find it easier to do the ordering, because Boyfriend is the only one of us who speaks Chinese, or even knows what goes into certain dishes, even when they're translated into English.......for example, I couldn't tell you what "Moo Goo Gai Pan" is, or what goes into it, or anything.  None of us could, except Boyfriend, who doesn't really understand vegetarianism all that well.  He has to have it explained to him Every.  Single.  Time., which of course makes me feel uncomfortable, and loses me Brownie points with my mom right off the bat (after all, that counts as me being "high maintenance").  Also, at traditional Chinese restaurants, the food is served "family style."  Last year, our meal consisted of four or five meat dishes, some rice, one big bowl of green beans, and some tofu that I strongly suspected had been fried in chicken fat.  Oh, and we had sweet-tasting red bean soup for dinner.  Later, I got reprimanded for taking "more than my share" of green beans (I'd asked if anyone else wanted any, and bear in mind that there was almost NOTHING else that I could eat), for not eating more than a few bites of tofu, and for not finishing my soup either.  Apparently, Chinese culture frowns upon wasting food, even if it's just a few grains of rice.  How was I to know that, though?  Ever since I was eight years old, my mom's been saying I'm too fat and I need to eat less, so I thought she'd be more upset with me for continuing to stuff my face with food after I was full.

Edited AGAIN to add:  I don't have IBS.  I love spicy food, and I eat a lot of beans and chick peas as well, because they're a relatively cheap and healthy source of protein, and they don't go bad as fast as tofu does.  So, fortunately, no gastrointestinal problems here, just panic attacks.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2007, 01:53:17 AM by freakyfemme »

freakyfemme

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2007, 02:03:49 AM »
Honestly dear, you both sounded a little high-maintenence on that trip.  I am sure your parents aren't thrilled about UBF and his dining demands, but they can't really control that. 

As it is, I think your solution of asking your parents to host and volunteering to help out is a great one.  I don't think it is necessary to make Chinese food unless you really wish to do that. 

If they are not keen on the idea, I would explain "Last year was not even remotely enjoyable, I don't like the food and I find crowds annoying.  If we can't do something different this year, I would like to gracefully bow out."

I think you explain "I don't like the food" without bringing the vegetarianism into it, since they are insensitive about it.   
I think you also explain "Crowds are extremely unpleasant."  without making it about panic attacks.
It is hard for people to argue with either of these things.  Your mother may see your mentions of vegetarianism and panic attacks to be attention seeking.
Many people do not like to eat chinese food, and even more hate dealing with crowds. 
(I don't see it that way, but she just might)

Two questions:
Why do you not like UBF to hug you and does he know the reason?  (I can see alot of possible reasons, and whatever your reason I think it should be honored.)
How does your mother know what you are eating/not eating?  Is she policing it at the table or are you making it obvious you hate the food?

Oh, Boyfriend hugs all females in social situations, for some reason......he doesn't care that we barely know each other (I've seen him a few times a year since he started dating Uncle in 2000).  I'm reasonably affectionate with my friends, and people I'm actually close with, but I don't hug family members, because, well, without getting into too much detail, we don't have that kind of relationship.  Also, I was sexually assaulted a few years ago, just days before I left for Bishop's for the first time.  I got away before anything *too* bad could happen to me, and I got help after the fact, but even though I wasn't harmed physically, the emotional scars never completely heal, so I figure that all I can do is take what I learned from that experience, and use it to protect myself and others from similar experiences in the future.  But, in the meantime, I'm not a touchy-feely kind of person.  As for vegetarianism, my mom's fine with that, because she herself was a vegetarian for several years, but she stopped because "nobody else" was vegetarian at the time, and she "didn't want to be defined by what she didn't do."  The panic attacks are a completely different beast, though....my mom doesn't believe I have them, and she never will.  I've recently started taking L-Theanine every morning in order to keep them in control, but that still doesn't give me carte-blanche to spend extended periods of time in extremely triggering situations.  The pills help, but they aren't magic.

Lady Vavasour

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2007, 04:13:59 AM »
Honestly dear, you both sounded a little high-maintenence on that trip.  I am sure your parents aren't thrilled about UBF and his dining demands, but they can't really control that. 

As it is, I think your solution of asking your parents to host and volunteering to help out is a great one.  I don't think it is necessary to make Chinese food unless you really wish to do that. 

If they are not keen on the idea, I would explain "Last year was not even remotely enjoyable, I don't like the food and I find crowds annoying.  If we can't do something different this year, I would like to gracefully bow out."

I think you explain "I don't like the food" without bringing the vegetarianism into it, since they are insensitive about it.   
I think you also explain "Crowds are extremely unpleasant."  without making it about panic attacks.
It is hard for people to argue with either of these things.  Your mother may see your mentions of vegetarianism and panic attacks to be attention seeking.
Many people do not like to eat chinese food, and even more hate dealing with crowds. 
(I don't see it that way, but she just might)

Two questions:
Why do you not like UBF to hug you and does he know the reason?  (I can see alot of possible reasons, and whatever your reason I think it should be honored.)
How does your mother know what you are eating/not eating?  Is she policing it at the table or are you making it obvious you hate the food?

Oh, Boyfriend hugs all females in social situations, for some reason......he doesn't care that we barely know each other (I've seen him a few times a year since he started dating Uncle in 2000).  I'm reasonably affectionate with my friends, and people I'm actually close with, but I don't hug family members, because, well, without getting into too much detail, we don't have that kind of relationship.  Also, I was sexually assaulted a few years ago, just days before I left for Bishop's for the first time.  I got away before anything *too* bad could happen to me, and I got help after the fact, but even though I wasn't harmed physically, the emotional scars never completely heal, so I figure that all I can do is take what I learned from that experience, and use it to protect myself and others from similar experiences in the future.  But, in the meantime, I'm not a touchy-feely kind of person.  As for vegetarianism, my mom's fine with that, because she herself was a vegetarian for several years, but she stopped because "nobody else" was vegetarian at the time, and she "didn't want to be defined by what she didn't do."  The panic attacks are a completely different beast, though....my mom doesn't believe I have them, and she never will.  I've recently started taking L-Theanine every morning in order to keep them in control, but that still doesn't give me carte-blanche to spend extended periods of time in extremely triggering situations.  The pills help, but they aren't magic.

Good grief. Your mother's insensitivity is mind-boggling.

I agree with what others have said. There probably isn't much you can do to make your mother think and behave in a reasonable way, so what you have to do is learn to be confident in yourself and your right to have your reasonable needs met. You know the problem is hers--not yours. If you can be confident about yourself and your (reasonable) demands, that is probably the best chance you have of making her respect you anyway.


audrey1962

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2007, 12:24:52 PM »
The food issue isn't the only issue, Audrey.......what about the issues of all the hypocrisy towards my uncle and his boyfriend, and all the scapegoating towards me?  I think it's wrong to make all those racist and homophobic jokes behind their backs, but then be all sugary-sweet and fake to their faces (even to the point of getting MAD at me for refusing a hug from Boyfriend, when I barely know him).  Also, I don't regret the choices I made in life, and I don't appreciate being told that I "don't know what I'm talking about" when I say that I don't want to go to the University of Toronto like my parents and my brother, because I don't want to live in Toronto, among other reasons.  Even if there was NO food involved, I don't think I should be subjected to another outing of that nature.

No, you shouldn't be subjected to that. But these people will not change. There's no magic word or phrase you can utter to make them realize they are rude boors. All you can do is limit your time with them and know that you are a polite, respectful person.

I strongly recommend that you not go to this meal, but you seem under the impression that opting out is not a possibility. Therefore, all you can do is pack some nutrition bars and grit your teeth.

I hope that in a few years you can strike out on your own far, far away, playing clarinet in a world-renowned symphony and declining invitations because it interferes with your extensive touring scheudle. :)

freakyfemme

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2007, 09:20:27 PM »
The food issue isn't the only issue, Audrey.......what about the issues of all the hypocrisy towards my uncle and his boyfriend, and all the scapegoating towards me?  I think it's wrong to make all those racist and homophobic jokes behind their backs, but then be all sugary-sweet and fake to their faces (even to the point of getting MAD at me for refusing a hug from Boyfriend, when I barely know him).  Also, I don't regret the choices I made in life, and I don't appreciate being told that I "don't know what I'm talking about" when I say that I don't want to go to the University of Toronto like my parents and my brother, because I don't want to live in Toronto, among other reasons.  Even if there was NO food involved, I don't think I should be subjected to another outing of that nature.

No, you shouldn't be subjected to that. But these people will not change. There's no magic word or phrase you can utter to make them realize they are rude boors. All you can do is limit your time with them and know that you are a polite, respectful person.

I strongly recommend that you not go to this meal, but you seem under the impression that opting out is not a possibility. Therefore, all you can do is pack some nutrition bars and grit your teeth.

I hope that in a few years you can strike out on your own far, far away, playing clarinet in a world-renowned symphony and declining invitations because it interferes with your extensive touring scheudle. :)

Well, there's a good chance that the gathering will take place after Christmas, and I already talked to Stella a little while ago, and she said that she wants to meet up for a lesson, but will be on vacation with her family until December 31st, so that leaves the first week of January.  Since she let me know her availability first, she'll have scheduling priority during that time.  So, I'm not going to re-schedule Stella's lesson because of a family dinner at a restaurant where I'll undoubtedly be made to feel uncomfortable........so, I guess what I'm saying is, maybe I'll get to decline THIS invitation because it'll interfere with my TEACHING schedule, lol.

LyanneB1

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2007, 05:20:56 AM »
The food issue isn't the only issue, Audrey.......what about the issues of all the hypocrisy towards my uncle and his boyfriend, and all the scapegoating towards me?  I think it's wrong to make all those racist and homophobic jokes behind their backs, but then be all sugary-sweet and fake to their faces (even to the point of getting MAD at me for refusing a hug from Boyfriend, when I barely know him).  Also, I don't regret the choices I made in life, and I don't appreciate being told that I "don't know what I'm talking about" when I say that I don't want to go to the University of Toronto like my parents and my brother, because I don't want to live in Toronto, among other reasons.  Even if there was NO food involved, I don't think I should be subjected to another outing of that nature.

No, you shouldn't be subjected to that. But these people will not change. There's no magic word or phrase you can utter to make them realize they are rude boors. All you can do is limit your time with them and know that you are a polite, respectful person.

I strongly recommend that you not go to this meal, but you seem under the impression that opting out is not a possibility. Therefore, all you can do is pack some nutrition bars and grit your teeth.

I hope that in a few years you can strike out on your own far, far away, playing clarinet in a world-renowned symphony and declining invitations because it interferes with your extensive touring scheudle. :)

Well, there's a good chance that the gathering will take place after Christmas, and I already talked to Stella a little while ago, and she said that she wants to meet up for a lesson, but will be on vacation with her family until December 31st, so that leaves the first week of January.  Since she let me know her availability first, she'll have scheduling priority during that time.  So, I'm not going to re-schedule Stella's lesson because of a family dinner at a restaurant where I'll undoubtedly be made to feel uncomfortable........so, I guess what I'm saying is, maybe I'll get to decline THIS invitation because it'll interfere with my TEACHING schedule, lol.

I hope that works out well then.  I guess that's probably the best way to handle future possible conflicts - to book up things you want/need to do so that you have very little time available for the things your parents think you should do.  If you do that though, try to book in your family for specific times or you could find you don't see them at all.

freakyfemme

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Re: Need a script for Christmas holidays (it pays to be prepared)
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2007, 11:30:58 AM »
The food issue isn't the only issue, Audrey.......what about the issues of all the hypocrisy towards my uncle and his boyfriend, and all the scapegoating towards me?  I think it's wrong to make all those racist and homophobic jokes behind their backs, but then be all sugary-sweet and fake to their faces (even to the point of getting MAD at me for refusing a hug from Boyfriend, when I barely know him).  Also, I don't regret the choices I made in life, and I don't appreciate being told that I "don't know what I'm talking about" when I say that I don't want to go to the University of Toronto like my parents and my brother, because I don't want to live in Toronto, among other reasons.  Even if there was NO food involved, I don't think I should be subjected to another outing of that nature.

No, you shouldn't be subjected to that. But these people will not change. There's no magic word or phrase you can utter to make them realize they are rude boors. All you can do is limit your time with them and know that you are a polite, respectful person.

I strongly recommend that you not go to this meal, but you seem under the impression that opting out is not a possibility. Therefore, all you can do is pack some nutrition bars and grit your teeth.

I hope that in a few years you can strike out on your own far, far away, playing clarinet in a world-renowned symphony and declining invitations because it interferes with your extensive touring scheudle. :)

Well, there's a good chance that the gathering will take place after Christmas, and I already talked to Stella a little while ago, and she said that she wants to meet up for a lesson, but will be on vacation with her family until December 31st, so that leaves the first week of January.  Since she let me know her availability first, she'll have scheduling priority during that time.  So, I'm not going to re-schedule Stella's lesson because of a family dinner at a restaurant where I'll undoubtedly be made to feel uncomfortable........so, I guess what I'm saying is, maybe I'll get to decline THIS invitation because it'll interfere with my TEACHING schedule, lol.

I hope that works out well then.  I guess that's probably the best way to handle future possible conflicts - to book up things you want/need to do so that you have very little time available for the things your parents think you should do.  If you do that though, try to book in your family for specific times or you could find you don't see them at all.

Actually, I'd be fine with that.  My family is better in small doses.