I recently had the opportunity to bring my boyfriend home to Buffalo with me for an entire month! He had never left Spain before and the majority of my family and friends hadn’t met him, so we were both really excited and a little bit nervous. Since our trip was so long it would be impossible for me to recap everything we did while there, but I think a nice list of the Pros and Cons of bringing your foreign boyfriend home will nicely highlight the four weeks we spent in the US.
Pro: You finally get to be “in-the-know”
Let’s face it: spending months, or even years, being the foreigner and never quite knowing the exact customs or expectations of a given situation can get tiring. You walk into a room full of 25 people you know… do you really have to give each and every one two kisses to say hello?? If you’re offered bread four times during a meal is it rude to say no? Is there ANYTHING open between the hours of 2 and 5:30? No? Seriously? And can you explain to me again what exactly is in this stew? If these questions sound familiar then you will undoubtedly agree that the turning of the tables is a welcome and enjoyable change of pace. So casually stroll into a Rite-Aid at 1:30am, order the most obscure beer possible from the 50+ choices on the menu to impress your beau, and don’t hesitate when a new acquaintance greets you with a hug… I promise they’re not going to try to turn it into a two kisses situation leading you to accidentally awkwardly brush lips with a near stranger.
Con: Your boyfriend is now the novelty and you’re old news
Okay, so it might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you can see where I’m coming from. Of course everyone is going to be automatically drawn to the mysterious foreign creature, especially if he happens to be charming and friendly despite not knowing the language. Soon all of your conversations will be about how you guys met and how he’s liking The States; forget about chatting about your trip to eastern Europe or your panic about what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.
Pro: You have a great excuse to eat-out…a lot.
You haven’t been home in nine months, and on top of that, your boyfriend has never been to (or even heard of) Chipotle! Clearly you have to go. Of course each individual city will have it’s own gastronomic specialties and you just can’t pass up showing them off. Mighty Taco, Ted’s Hot Dogs, Anderson’s Frozen Custard, Buffalo-style pizza and wings, sickly-sweet loganberry, and everything about Wegman’s are just a few of the things that we consumed bordering on excess, and we loved every minute of it.
Con: You’ll both get sucked into “giving your dad a hand” in a ridiculous home-improvement project
So maybe not everyone will fall into this category, but if your dad is like mine, he constantly has plans to fix something, from a leaky faucet to the roof of the house. In the past twelve months my dad has painted the wood elements of our front porch, stained the back deck, ripped the carpet out of our entire house, sanded and polyurethaned the hardwood floor that was under the carpet, and renovated the bathroom, including new floor tiles, paint, sink and a toilet. Since there’s no one around to stop him/help him he’s been doing everything completely on his own. However, his most recent project idea was to re-roof our house which hasn’t been done in 20 years. Alas, my dad isn’t the spry young man he used to be, and that combined with the fact that he is a recent amputee (RIP right foot big toe) made it necessary for him to recruit some help. That’s where Paco and I came in. We spent about eight days total on the roof stripping old shingles, laying weather-proofing paper, and laying about 4,500 lbs of new shingles. It was pretty brutal work and I have a total new-found respect for roofers. That being said, if you bring your boyfriend home, don’t assume that your family won’t take advantage of his strength and willingness to earn some brownie points.
Pro: You gain a new appreciation for old sights and can experience new sights together
Whether it be Manhattan or Niagara Falls, visiting the same place many times will leave you jaded. Tourists and lines are best avoided at all costs: its not worth going if you have to wade through hundreds of sweaty strangers to get there. But when you have an out of town visitor, and its his first time in the USA, you HAVE to show him all there is to see (or as much as possible in the short time you have)! It had probably been 10 years since I’d been to Niagara Falls and I only live 20 minutes away. And I hadn’t set foot in Times Square in 4 or 5 years though I’ve been to the city at least once a year since freshman year of college. It was really great to see everything with a new set of eyes. Niagara Falls is beautiful! Times Square is buzzing with life (and weirdos)! Paco was fascinated with it all and now I can remember why. We even saw some stuff that was new for both of us; we went to the World Trade Center Memorial and explored the adorable Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens and both really enjoyed ourselves in general. And though I may never have the same obsession that my boyfriend developed with squirrels, I can definitely appreciate and be grateful for how many green spaces I am surrounded by at home.
Con: There will never be enough time for everything
The worst part about bringing Paco home was that now I am longing for more time. We were both so sad to leave; one month was not enough! We didn’t mark off half of the things that were on my list of things to do while at home, and I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with the people I love. We left already talking about what we’ll have to do next year when we go back. So take this as a warning: If you dare to bring home your foreign man, be careful! With your friends, family and significant other all within reach, you might just want to stay there for a lot longer than planned!