A Guide to Preparing for Your Visiting Parents from Asia
By Ryan J. Smith
Now that you’ve properly hidden your ‘western’ significant-other and cleaned the apartment (being sure to remove all concert stubs and anything else that might resemble fun), what else is there to do? A lot…but worry not my friend because here at G1G, we will guide you to a painfree visit from your parents, no matter the duration of their stay.
What’s that? They’re staying for three months? Alright, this might take some serious thought.
First-things-first, let’s get the logistics out of the way: Your parents will obviously need to take care of things on their end by first visiting the U.S. consulate to retrieve the necessary paper work which should include a passport and visa permit, unless they are eligible for a visa waiver. In most cases, however, it’s just easier to retrieve the visa. Apart from the usual paperwork, they will most likely need to fill out an Electronic System for Travel Authorization 72 hours prior to their departure. Please visit the links provided for a detailed explanation of these procedures.
Apart from mandated paperwork that will ensure a seamless arrival in America, it’s also important to consider their well being while here. Your parents are getting older which unfortunately means more frequent health concerns may arise, especially when you factor in the stress of travel. While America has the best medical facilities in the world, it’s important to ensure that your parents are given access to these provisions. That’s why G1G offers a plethora of visitor insurance policies to pick from that will suit the specific needs of each parent.
Visitors Insurance protects your friends, relatives, and other visitors coming to the United States. Coverage is provided in the event of any medical emergency and offers financial protection against illness, injury, and death. While the United States healthcare system provides excellent treatment and care, receiving easy and affordable access to that treatment is often difficult without health insurance. Visitors insurance protects your relatives, friends, and other visitors coming to the United States in the event of a medical emergency by allowing them to visit any doctor or hospital without restriction(s).
Now that you’ve finished the logistical aspects of your parents visit, you can start by informing them about what to expect. This may include: reminding them to pack appropriately and warning them about cultural oddities that might catch them off guard. Imagine the look on your mothers face if some one like the Bush Man (RIP) jumped out at her while you two stroll through the streets of San Francisco. You’d never hear the end of that one. Regardless of these eccentricities, it’s also important to remember that your parents are people too and want to enjoy their vacation. Don’t be afraid to show them the unusual sights and inconsequential characteristics of your new home. While you may think your father wouldn’t enjoy drinking a beer in Dolores Park and playing frisbee with your friends, it’s important to remember that he was once a young man himself. The more confidently you present your life to him, the more willing he is to accept it and your friends.
That’s right, your friends! How are you going to tell them that you can’t hangout for three months? You’re not. As much as you want to keep your parents happy by convincing them that all you do is work and sleep, there comes a time when they need to accept who you are and what type of life you are living. Believe it or not, in many cases, your parents won’t be as shocked as you anticipate and this isn’t entirely your parents doing.
Your pal Rick may always be the life of the party when he gets smashed and proclaims to be the true ‘King of Denver, Colorado’ but when put to the test, Rick, and all your friends, will surprise you. The thing is, that everyone has or had parents. Whether it’s a mother and father; two moms; grandparents or a single parent; everyone understands what it’s like to have someone play that parental role. And believe it or not, their parents are just as unruly. While Rick may be the wacky guy you call to get wild, he’ll usually step up to the plate and interact with your parents in a way that won’t shock their senses but still push them slightly out of their comfort zone. It’s important to remember that your parents are people too and they want to experience the world just as much as you do. So introduce them to your friends and show them why you hangout with Rick. You might be pleasantly surprised to see a side of your friends you never knew existed.
It’s also important to remember that your parents will need rest, just as much as they need entertainment (if not, then more). Remember that your parents are 20+ years older than you so they need a lot of downtime. In this instance, it’s ok to leave them at the apartment after visiting a museum so you can run over to have coffee with a friend. This will not only give them time to rest but also give you time to unwind.
And lastly, breathe. They are your parents and they love you enough to sit coach on a 14 hour flight with a layover in Houston so appreciate that gesture and cherish it the best you can. View this not just as an opportunity to strengthen your bond with them but also to demonstrate how you have created a happy and fulfilling life because that’s all they are really worried about, they just have a funny way of showing it. So, sit back and enjoy the (familial) journey!