An Outsider

Mus ua Nyab or “the life of a daughter in law” is never easy in the Hmong culture; especially if you are married into a traditional family. There are high expectation from your in-law as well as relatives and the requirement that a woman needs to fulfill within the culture. Hmong along with other Asian race are very close net and family orientated.

This June during Father’s Day, I did not spend the weekend with my own family. I decided to spend the holiday with his family. This is the second time I have met and spend time with his family. (He and I broke up since October of last year. Since then we have reconnected off and on… and taking our time to work things out with one another. Everything between him and I seem like it’s been going well so I agreed to spend the weekend with his family.) I can said that being a outside person to a family is a challenge for me and I think that it always will. I do not know how other “Nyabs” or daughter-in-laws do it but I have awkward moments like: don’t know where to sit, how do I help them out with cooking, and every where I stand, I feel like I was getting in the way. Aside from my awkward thoughts, I did have a great time with his family. They were welcoming and kind. In addition, he was very attended to me; making sure I don’t feel alone or left out. It’s possible that since I have not spend much time with them, I still feel uncomfortable around his family.

While at their house, I send texts to my two married sisters (my older sister just got married this past May, 2014) and mentioned to them how they were able to be married and live with just that one man for the rest of their lives like this. Because I have awkward moments and I am struggling to get custom to the family. As sweet as they are, they text me back with advise. They said that you just get used to the bf/husband’s family and relatives once you start to mingle and see them often. I was still not convince by their words because seem like a strange world and I do not know anyone beside him. My replied to them was that I am not sure if I will want to take the marriage path because I don’t want to leave my family and be among others who I do not know at all. Also told them that I am willing to pay the “bride price” for the guy to be a “nyab” to me ( jokingly…lolz) and move away from his family. My two sister laugh and text back that it is impossible and not part of our Hmong custom. Hmong son will not leave their parents and roots to be a “nyab”.

It is sad but it’s true. Most sons in the Hmong culture will not do that; leave their family and relativse to lived with the girl’s family. This is because the family believe sons are the one who will carry the family name. This go back to the taboo that most Asian races/groups practice, wanting to birth sons only. However, will leave that to another blog topic discussion on it’s own.


How is it like for you during your first visit with your significant other’s family? Any awkwardness or uncomfortable moment? How do you overcome it? Any inputs definitely will allow some insight into the journey of a daughter-in-law.


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