Category Archives: Family

Effects of Physical Confinement on relationships

By Richard Petrosyan

[5 minute read]

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

Author’s note: This article is the fruit of my analysis and my analysis only. By no means do I wish to come off as an authority on these matters, but rather as a blog writer attempting to spark debate on commonly relevant life questions.

Since governments around the entire world issued stay-at-home orders, you and I can well relate to being stuck inside with your family or your loved ones (I am with my family, which is nice because I get to spend more time with them). Everyone is experiencing different situations at the moment, but I’ve heard many of my friends ask themselves how spending more time with relatives will impact their relationships with them, especially because the connection is being forced by circumstances beyond our control. Here I will put forth my analysis of how I believe different relationships will be impacted during the coronavirus pandemic.

Let us begin with how quarantine impacts relationships within couples. In my opinion, the way the relationship is affected depends on if the couple decides to spend the time apart or to temporarily move in together. If you’re away, even if you talk and see each other online every day, I have observed from acquaintances of mine that the physical distance can create a mental distance. After all, even if you’re in love, not seeing the other person in the relationship every day can make their virtual presence feel less real. You may not see what they look like every day, what they eat, what they are doing. Sharing all of these details on a daily basis makes you become comfortable around the other person, and therefore to a certain extent, dependent on their presence. Why? Because, according to Psychology Today, we are creatures of habit. This is how emotional attachment strengthens.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Nonetheless, if a couple lives together, it’s an entirely different story. When a couple lives together, they will discover very personal details about each other that define their personalities, such as hygiene and eating habits, circadian rhythm, house set-up and possessions, and the things that are really dear to them. These discoveries can help you discern deeper aspects of your partner’s personality in order to determine whether you wish to pursue the relationship. In other words, you get to know the person in a deeper way. If nothing about the relationship seems deterring at a glance, then you may feel compelled to continue pursuing the relationship on a deeper level.

However, a problem that has been mentioned in the news is skyrocketing violence within married couples as a result of excessive, forced contact with each other, according to French media outlets. This typically happens when the couple has been established in their lives together for a long time already. They stay married for purposes other than love, and see going to work as an escape from each other. Quarantine in this case may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. In these cases, the two members of the couple, if reasonable, should understand that it’s time to part ways for the good of both parties involved. 

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

For children spending time with their family during quarantine, the reaction of the child usually aligns with how the child was raised. For example, if you are a child who is very invested emotionally in your family and your parents took care of you in the most devoted manner possible, it will likely be an immense pleasure to spend more time with your parents, whom you will probably have missed very much over the course of your busy schedule. On the other hand, if you were primarily taught to be autonomous, independent, and outgoing without much contact with your parents, you will likely perceive an increased quality time in proximity to your parents as restrictive, almost punitive in some cases. You may also feel restricted by the impossibility of intimacy with your close friends, listening to music, or engaging other social activities.

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Southern Cornbread Recipe

By Veronica Sundin

[4 minute read]

The Southern region of the United States is known for its comfort food, also known as “soul” food (because it comforts your soul!). And in the state of Texas, at Thanksgiving, or really for any other big, home cooked meal, cornbread is essential.

Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

According to the magazine Southern Living, cornbread is a side dish that originated in Native American cuisine. Corn was a staple crop for the Native Americans, and would grind it up and mix it with water to make a type of corn-based bread. This dish stayed in the region after the settlers came, where they adapted it and started incorporating more ingredients to enrich its taste and texture—thus, cornbread was born. Today, my family makes cornbread to go along with chili, beans, and especially at Thanksgiving (just in a larger batch so that there’s enough to go around for the whole family!)

Cornbread is a very simple-tasting dish. It is a little bit dry and has a very prominent corn taste that is slightly sweet, thanks to the addition of sugar to balance out the saltiness of the other ingredients. It is typically made in a cast-iron skillet and is best served warm (not hot) and with a smear of butter on top. To “spice up” your cornbread, you can even add different herbs, candied bacon, or jalapeños (for some literal spice!)

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Rediscovering My Mother Tongue

By Natalie Wong

I spend a lot of time with my grandmother, or rather, my mah mah as I like to call her in Cantonese. There’s an unspoken love between me and grandmother —very unspoken, because I literally have trouble communicating with her. In Hong Kong, where I grew up, the two main languages widely spoken are Cantonese and English. My grandmother doesn’t speak English and my spoken Cantonese is mediocre at best. While our relationship endures a generational and cultural gap, a wider gap is left by our inability to truly communicate, leaving me wondering about my own identity and what I’m missing out on. 

Photo from Wikipedia

Language attrition is the process of losing a first or once spoken language. I found myself experiencing varying degrees of language attrition while attending an English-only international school, despite living in Hong Kong. The importance of learning English has always been emphasized to me and threatened my Cantonese ability in my childhood. I see some of my Asian-American friends understandably losing a lot of their ability to speak and write in their mother tongues after being born and raised in predominantly English-speaking America. My case is strangely not as excusable, as Hong Kong speaks Cantonese and I’ve chosen to exist in an English-speaking bubble inside it. While I understand the majority of conversational Cantonese when it’s spoken to me, it is a shame that I have somehow lost a lot of my language speaking skills. There’s a Cantonese saying in international student communities—“sik tang, ng sik gong”, which translates to “can listen, but can’t speak”, and it is the clockwork response non-natives, or in my case, kids who are bad at Cantonese, say to fluent speakers. I find myself in a position where I am unable to freely express myself in my mother tongue despite identifying with my Hong Kong culture. 

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