Supporting your spouse’s entire extended family here in the Philippines? This is a question we all must wrestle with while living here, and there is no correct answer. The Philipino has their way of viewing it, and westerners have a completely different point of view. Since I am me and not anyone else (thank the Heavens), I’ll give my point of view, and allow others theirs. (I think that’s fair.) My wife’s family is quite large, as she is one of eight siblings. (They had no television is my only explanation for that.) After we were married, the requests for loans started (Substitute the word gift for loan.) and it became a habit each time I was home from sea. (For those who didn’t know, I was a Merchant Seaman at the time)
Ninety present of the time, on a ship, if a friend comes up and asked to borrow a couple of thousand dollars, without question you hand him the money, it was the same in the Navy, but for far lesser amounts. Within a week or two, or even a month, (If that’s what was agreed too) you’d receive the money back. I also grew up with four brothers and the same rules applied.
After forty plus years of living like that you can imagine my shock, when I found out that, that rule did not apply here in Paradise. I needed a way to enlist my brides help in controlling this “gift” situation, and I wanted to do it in a nice way as to not offend. My wife knew I had a good job, but just not how good a job, as I never told her my salary was over six figures plus a Navy pension. The next time my wife told me we needed this or that for the house, (renting at the time) I’d explain that we would get it in the future as I’d lent that money to whomever. I saw the light glow in her eyes as it dawned on her that she had to do without so they (members of her large family) could spend her money. All future requests were now approved or rejected by the finance committee (My Bride). And very few were approved.
Again this is me, and only my way of dealing with this ongoing situation. I will quickly and gladly help in any medical situation; I have a brother-in-law in Holland, and another in the U.S. of A. who during medical emergencies will reimburse me their fair share. Since I’m the one on site, I provide the up-front money as needed. (Kinda’ like filing a claim with your insurance company.) My brother-in-law In Holland and I take turns with putting the nieces and nephews through collage, and so far seven have their degrees. Notice I didn’t say jobs, just degrees. That’s another story altogether. The U.S. brother-in-law… well that’s also another story, but he’s good about the medical part.
I will not pay for their cell phones or loads, as that is what jobs are for.
I’ve tried to explain to the men in my wife’s family, in-laws and outlaws, my Mango Tree Theory.
There are three types of people, the first being the one who would lie under the mango tree and wait for the fruit to fall, and hope he didn’t fall asleep and miss it, or the second is the man who wants the fruit now and will climb to get it. The third, being the guy who will ask the man who’s climbing the tree, to get one for him. To date the only response I get back is head scratching. The point being if you want something you must work for it. Now that’s a strange concept!
Okay I pay for parties and outings, only because I can, and I receive as much out of it as the family does, and I also have a good time. They help in their own way, with cooking, setting up, toting and cleaning up the next day. This is the side of it that I understand and appreciate.
I did the same thing on the ship’s with friends and with my brothers, just because you don’t have the cash, doesn’t mean you miss the party. And there is no way you can decide who goes and who won’t. Its family after all, and they all go.
Now that’s how I handle living here, I’m open to new suggestions, so log in and give me yours. (This was the serious side of Paul; I’ll try not to let it happen again).