The Nyab Series: Over Two Decades
How old were you when you got married? 14
How long have you been married? 24 years
How did you meet your husband? Through our neighbor.
Were you in love? Yes.
Did you know your in-laws prior to meeting them? No.
Did you get along with them? Yes.
How long have you been a nyab for? 24+ years
What are the expectations that you had prior to becoming a nyab? I had no clue I'd marry the whole family.
What did your parents teach you about being a nyab? You obey and respect your husband.
Was it what you expected? I didn't know what I was getting myself into.
Why or why not? I knew there were cooking and cleaning involved but did not expect that EVERYTHING in the house was my responsibility to know.
What are the pros & cons of being a nyab? Pro: Matured me. Cons: I became an adult overnight-full of responsibilities. I grew up with strict parents. My mom taught me how to cook, clean, take care of my younger siblings at a very young age. But I had guidance, right or wrong I would get lectured and then was explained why. And most important I can ask questions. But becoming a Nyab, I was expected to be an adult. The expectation was that if you're married, then obviously you must know everything. And that was tough. I had no guidance, I had to figure it out myself.
Did you marry the youngest son or oldest son? What is that experience like? Oldest son. Tough, full of responsibility.
What is the relationship with your fellow nyabs in the family? Okay. They didn't live with us.
Do you wish you could be more open with your fellow nyabs? Not sure.
Describe what has been the biggest struggle for you? Going to school at the same time pregnant, taking care of my husband's siblings, and housewife chores.
Do you live with your in-laws? Then, yes. Now, no. Would you move out? How would this affect your relationship with your in-laws? I think if we were the ones to open our mouth first about moving it would have gone bad, but it was my in-laws' idea moving us here to Oregon. Our relationship and our in-laws were better once we were on our own.
What is your relationship like with your mother-in-law? It was tough when I was living with her. After we moved here to Oregon, it was much better. You can say, I was able to smile, talk, and joke with her.
Does your husband stand up for you? Not when we were living with them. It took a while- after 2 kids before he mentioned to his mom what hurts his wife's (my) feelings.
What is your husbands' role in the family and how does that affect you? When we were living with my in-laws, nothing. He was a good husband. He didn't go out, he helped take care of his siblings and his baby. But he didn't cook, if I tried to teach him, his mom would get in the way and say, "it's a woman thing."
How is your relationship with your brother and sister in laws? Good.
How would you rate your relationship with your in-laws on a scale of 1-10? 10 being very good. Explain why. 8 because they're not bad, everyone just has their own differences, their own reasons and ways of doing things.
What kind of advice would you give to a younger nyab? Always ask your in-laws, what would they like to eat, how they want it cooked, what do they like and don't like, & what is there to do? Be open for criticism, take in the good and leave the bad. Don't get mad, if you are, don't show it. Have a big heart, be patient, and don't let them hear you raise your voice. Open communication.
What do you love about being a nyab? Then, nothing. Now, no one has their eyes on me anymore and telling what I should too.
If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would you tell yourself, as far as being a nyab? I don't know what I would tell myself because I was super quiet, I took care of the siblings, cooked for them, did everything a parent needed to do for those kids, my in-laws were hardly ever home. I did what I could and what I was taught.
Knowing what you know now, would you marry at the same age, or wait until you're a little older? No, I would wait until after I graduated from H.S. or older. Why? Because I didn't feel respected because I was very young.
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I assume your husband is Hmong. Do feel it would be more difficult if your husband was not Hmong?