The Nyab Series: Marrying Into a Family Without Parents

  1. How old were you when you got married? 20
  2. How long have you been married? 18 years married
  3. How did you meet your husband? Were you in love? I met my husband through a girlfriend. He saw me and asked my friend for my number. I would consider our marriage a love match.
  4. Did you know your in-laws prior to meeting them? Did you get along with them? My husband's parents both passed away when he was younger. I did meet my husband's sibling and hung out with them while we were dating. His older brother, my husband and I used to go to dinner after we all got off work. I did feel that I got along well with my in-laws before marriage and currently.
  5. How long have you been a nyab for? I've been married for 18 years but we've lived in out of state without both our families. I would say I've been a nyab for 8 years when we moved back to Portland where his family lives.
  6. What are the expectations that you had prior to becoming a nyab? What did your parents teach you about being a nyab? I left my parent's home when I was 18 for school not expecting or planning to get married at 20. I already knew at 18 that I was not going to fit or play the role of a traditional nyab. I saw my mom be a traditional nyab and that was the extent of my parent's teaching about being a traditional nyab. As an adult looking back, I've realized that my parents don't play traditional roles either, my mom is Lao. 
  7. Was it what you expected? Why or why not? When I first started living in the same city as my in-laws, it was harder than I expected. My older brother in laws are very traditional and I had only witnessed on neeb previously. It seemed as thought they had neeb every other weekend or once a month, it was hard to juggle the neeb, free time, and work. 
  8. What are the pros & cons of being a nyab? Explain. The pro is having a large family. The con is feeling obligated to attend the neeb when I don't believe in it.
  9. Did you marry the youngest son or oldest son? What is that experience like? I married a middle child.
  10. What is the relationship with your fellow nyabs in the family? Do you wish you could be more open with your fellow nyabs? I have a great relationship with my younger nyab. The older nyabs and I are friendly but not friends. I only see them at family functions and we do not have much in common. I think it's due to the age gap.
  11. Describe what has been the biggest struggle for you? Since I lived away from the family and Hmong people for so long, I've lost my fluency in the Hmong language. It's harder for me to communicate with the elders during the family functions. I don't talk much and I am sure they see me as unfriendly.
  12. Do you live with your in-laws? Would you move out? How would this affect your relationship with your in-laws? I've never lived with my inlaws.
  13. What is your relationship like with your mother-in-law? My mother-in-law passed before my husband and I met.
  14. Does your husband stand up for you? Yes, my husband stands up for me. He's also agreed that he's not able to attend a neeb, I also do not have to attend.
  15. What is your husbands role in the family and how does that effect you? My husband is the second from the youngest, his role in the family is minimal. I like it that way, the expectations are low.
  16. How is your relationship with your brother and sister in laws? I get along well with my husband's siblings who are younger and near our age. His older brothers, it's platonic relationship, they are old enough to be our parents.
  17. How would you rate your relationship with your in-laws on a scale of 1-10? 10 being very good. Explain why. 7, I get along well with my husband's siblings who are near our age but I could definitely make more of an effort to communicate with his older siblings.
  18. What kind of advice would you give to a younger nyab? When you and your husband have a clear picture of how you want your relationship to be, it's easier to prioritize the expectations of his family.
  19. What do you love about being a nyab? I enjoy the family dinners and hangouts with his family and their kids. 
  20. If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would you tell yourself, as far as being a nyab? Not to worry about being a nyab so much. They are other people's expectations for you and you may never live up to their expectations. Focus on the relationship with your husband.
  21. Knowing what you know now, would you marry at the same age, or wait until you're a little older? Why? I would still marry at the same age. We don't have children and we've been able to do the things we both wanted because we have each other to rely on. 

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