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Relationship topics are fascinating and entertaining at the same time. 

This episode circles around the topic of interracial dating, where Lawin of Pop Your Cultural Cherry, speaks about his thoughts and experiences around this topic.

We'll hear about:

- How he met his partner

- Did he had pre-dispositions about dating someone from a different culture

- How did they manage to harmonize any cultural differences to make the relationship work

- and more!

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Transcript:

Lawin: Cause I know people in the Philippines also. Who also are like this. I don't think it's a matter of race or where you're from. It's just Filipino guys are just better in hiding it.

Glee: hey Zesties! Welcome to the Gleeful Talk Show where we share the stories to cultivate the happiness and hero with it. This episode is just a general chat about dating, particularly with someone from a different culture. There are several layers to this topic and it sits close to my heart because I'm married to someone from a different culture.

So I am curious about what others' experiences are, and I might be sharing some of my experience , in other upcoming episodes soon. My guest

for today is a fellow podcaster who is currently based in Germany and runs the podcast. Pop your cultural cherry, which aims to give its listeners a unique perspective of life in Europe with an Asian or Filipino twist, please welcome Lawin.

Hi, Lawin welcome to the show.

Lawin: Hello. Thank you for having me.

Glee: Thank you.

 I know that you're currently in Germany and you have found your love life there. So today we would dig in a little bit more on your love life and your insights to share for Zesties. And of course, feel free to ask some of the things that you'd like to know as well

Lawin: Okay.

Glee: so may I ask where and how did you meet.

Lawin: Yeah.

So 2017 I started to do my masters, my MBA in the Netherlands. It was in a small city near the German border called Maastricht.  It is one of the most popular students cities in, in Netherlands and Netherlands is not a big country and they have maybe like, I don't know, a dozen students cities, and I was in one of them, which was close to the German border.

 Probably four months, four or five months after I started, I met my current girlfriend Jenny she at the time was working in that city. So. What happened was I was a student, but she was working for a German company, but in the Netherlands. So the company that she was working for is a very big like automobile company, a German automobile company, which is nothing special because there are dozens of German, automobile companies.

But she was living there for. A couple of months already. And basically what happened was as I was studying. And she was working, there were, there are a couple of events that happened in the city. So these events are actually international organizations.  Have these sponsor, these events, and one of these organizations is called InterNations.

I don't know if you're familiar with that,

Glee: I am familiar with it. Yeah.

Lawin: Yeah.

there's a lot of InterNations chapters or branches all over the world in different cities. So I attended this Internations event and She also attended the same international has been, it was both of our first times to attend an InterNations event.

I went to the InterNations event because I was a student there, I didn't really get to interact with a lot of people who. Like in the workforce, in the labor force, people who are working. So I thought it would be a good way to network. At that time I was also single. So, you know, maybe meet some interesting people as well, meet some interesting girls.

And that's what kind of happened then there's so at that time she was also single, so it was a good probably like a good, a good match. So, in the beginning I was talking to different people and then I met her we spoken. Yeah. Eventually we kind of clicked and then I got her number and then one thing led to another and yeah, this is how our stories kind of started.

Glee: Mm. Interesting. So, did you kind of court her in the traditional Filipino way?

Lawin: Okay.

Actually, no, I never follow this traditional Filipino way of courting. Every, since I was young, I've not had that many, that many girlfriends, but I also grew up in a very liberal house So yeah, also, also the people around me never had this kind of way of courting girls like the traditional Filipino way of, you know what's the traditional Filipino way, like really being super romantic, going through a lot of phases of dating, meeting the parents before, you know, you actually get serious. that's not how I've stated in the past. And yeah, also because you're in the new country, I was, we're not in the Philippines. We were in we were both in, foreign countries to ours. And I thought that, you know, I would kind of see how, you know, people do it in Europe because it's obviously very different from how people would do it in the Philippines.

And I just decided to. Be very open and liberal about it. So to see kind of where it goes, how it goes without really setting for myself, like, oh, we must go through X number of dates before you know, we can get serious or whatever. Or I should get to know her parents before, we have our relationship or whatever, because we're both actually we're the same age.

So we were both what, 27 at that time or something 28. So. I think when you reach a certain age and also at the same time, you're both live in living in foreign countries. It kind of makes sense already not to be so traditional in that sense.

Glee: Yeah.

Yeah did she know some Filipinos before you or some friends

Lawin: Yeah. Actually. Yes. And no. So in general, like in this part of Europe, there's not a lot of Filipino people. There's not a big Filipino community. She had one neighbor who was from the Philippines. So actually I've met them already. So she knew one person, but they didn't really have any relationship. She didn't have any friends.

She had like zero contact with other Filipino people. So I was more or less the first kind of

 

Really got to know.

 

Glee: before, did you have any like hesitations about dating outside Filipino nationalities?

Lawin: Okay. Actually, no, because I think my first girlfriend was not Filipino, so, so she was, she was an ex-pat living in Japan, so she was actually my first girlfriend and I think I was 22 maybe. And. So basically my history of dating has pretty much been very international to that sense. I haven't had, as I mentioned, I didn't have a lot of girlfriends, but I've gone on dates with a lot of people from different countries.

Personally, I find this more interesting also, because if you're from Manila, you did somebody from, and then obviously I've also had a good friend from Manila and dated other people from Manila. There's always like Manila is a very. Small place, always some connections is people kind of think the same way you have the same aspirations you have the same culture.

Probably because you're from Cebu, it might be a bit different, but I mean, probably if you dated somebody from Cebu, you'd have the same kind of idea that, you know, the circles are always like integrated somehow.

And I don't know if, for me to some extent. It's nice. Cause it's, it's comfortable for you, but at the same time, it's not that exciting.

So I've always, also kind of liked to date outside of, of the Filipino race.

Glee: interesting because me, so I've only dated. a non- Filipino, which is my husband now because I had some hesitations before, so, and I grew up in a conservative household and although I have aunts. who have married non Filipino men. So they're now living in one is in Vienna and one is in the us as well.

but I didn't really thought about dating a non Filipino guy for some reason.

Lawin: Why? Why is there any, what's the hesitation about? Is it something to do? Is it just because they're different or?

Glee: I, I think I had this stereotype and twisted thinking before, you know, like in the movies, you know, the white men are, not that faithful in the Hollywood movies.

Lawin: Okay.

Glee: So I feel like you shouldn't watch too much Hollywood movies because you will have a different or twisted thinking.

So. So that's what I felt before in some people who dated. ex-pats who are in the Philippines and then they, they different Filipinos, right. The men and, they, date different women. So I heard some not so good stories. So that was, that formed my initial Yeah.

Lawin: but I think to some extent, yes, because that's what you see in the movies. But I think Filipino guys are just better in hiding it. Cause I know people in the Philippines also. Who also are like this. I don't think it's a matter of race or where you're from. It's just, I think Filipino guys are better at hiding it.

Then you see it nowadays, like in, you know, in Filipino drama on TV. Like also like guys also, obviously, also not just guys, but also girls. So it's, I think it's the same anywhere.

Glee: Yeah, I totally agree with that. That it really doesn't depend on the nationality or culture, but it depends on the person. It's just that at that time, I wasn't really exposed. I was just in Cebu for the whole.

years of my life.

And then I moved to Dubai afterwards. then the whole thinking just, you know, changed.

But yeah, that was like weird. 

Lawin: Yeah, can understand.

Glee: So you didn't have any like pre predispositions of foreign nationalities and no changes on your perceptions before, because you know, you've dated different nationalities already, even when you were like in your early twenties.

Lawin: Yeah.

So while I was in the Philippines. I've gone on dates with people from other nationalities, but they were mostly also Asian. And I think like Asian to Asian, the differences is not so big, but obviously Asian to European, the difference is it's quite big and it's still, I can still see it, but honestly, I'm the type of person who likes experiencing different things more than comfortable things.

So I like, I like it. That me and my girlfriend, they're very different from each other. But in terms of predisposition towards, I don't know, German people or European women, like I actually did not have any. Predisposition. So I came into, you know, Europe without really having any bias or prejudice.

So I always have an, had a, like an open mind about things. Obviously you hear from media, from watching movies that, you know, It might be possible that they're not as hygienic as Filipino people, but obviously that would also depend from person to person. I think there's some truth to it.

But obviously it's not everybody is like that. I don't know. I dunno if I couldn't see like the average Filipino person or the average Filipino girl is more hygienic. Like, I dunno, they take more care of themselves in terms of hygiene or appearance or whatever. I don't know if, if that's correct thing to say, but from my observation, it, it could be very Possible, but obviously again, case to case basis.

But besides that also I had this idea that they're very open-minded, which I like, because I'm obviously, I'm also very open-minded as I come from a like liberal background. And so I was always open to whoever, I had no idea that, oh, I should date a certain person from a certain race because this race has X features that I like, or because most people from this area are like this.

No, I just, well, whoever I meet and if they're a nice person, if we can get along, it doesn't really matter. So people should be able to love whoever they want and be with every, with whoever they want. And obviously there will be predispositions built because of watching too many movies, listening to too many people.

But I think part of the enjoyment of the whole process is just getting to know, you know, different people.

Glee: Yes. I totally agree with that. And let's say for example, Person who was just like in the city, like I was before. So they don't form that wide horizon in themselves. And then, and then if you watch these movies, then you have like this type of thinking. So it's, which is like also not too wide.

Right. So, and with the hygiene as well, I also heard about that that maybe because of the weather as.

Lawin: Yeah.

Glee: It's very cold, but yeah. Good thing as well, that it is person to person. So I'm glad that my husband is hygienic. So,

Lawin: Yeah.

 Glee: so and then also me, I have some predispositions before, like what I've mentioned earlier and also I'm so lazy in trying Like, I feel that if I speak in English in a relationship, like I couldn't express myself that much. That was my thinking before, but I didn't try that.  Yeah, that was my initial concern that, oh, if I will be in a relationship, I have to speak English all the time,

Lawin: Yeah.

Glee: but we're thinking, right. But I think some of the Filipinos also have that same thinking. So, but like when you are in the relationship or when you love that person, you, you tend to be more open, as you said, said, and you tend to of course do that much effort in order to communicate with them.

Yeah. Well for you, obviously, if you love that person, obviously you have already, the certain understanding and words is just one way of communicating, but there's so many other ways to communicate with your partner, but at the same time, you could also learn Hungarian or you can teach your husband Bisaya.

So

Yeah. He, he, he has learned some words as well, but Hungarian language is quite hard to.

Lawin: I heard it's one of the hardest languages in the world, I think, or in Europe at least

Glee: Yeah, it's quite hard. So, and he said that, oh, just don't learn Hungarian. Like nobody speaks Hungarian in Australia,

Lawin: Yeah.

Glee: That's a difficulty because when you know, meeting the parents, so when I met his mother, it was hard. Cause I need a translator.

Lawin: Yeah. You need him all the

Glee: Yeah. Yeah. And how about you? So how did your family felt when they met

Jenny

Lawin: Yeah. So 2009 December, when you went back after the Philippines for Christmas she was with me and she obviously she met.

my family. The thing is the good thing is that my girlfriend actually speaks very fluent English, so they didn't have any problems communicating. And at the same time, my family, everyone can speak English to a very high level.

So. Well, there wasn't any problems in terms of communication. And I think also my mom really like my family liked her. She's a nice person and knows how to adapt to different situations. So honestly there was no issues there and she also, she also liked her stay. And actually most of the time that we were in the Philippines, we were just in my mom's place.

We didn't actually do a lot of sightseeing. Like I kind of feel bad for her because I brought it to a few places, but not enough because I also wanted to catch up with a lot of my friends and family. But yeah. Yeah, she, she enjoyed it and people liked her. I didn't get any, you know, racist comments or whatever that, oh, why are you dating somebody? Who's not Filipino and. Could be possible that, that that happens in some very conservative, traditional families. But for us it was it's good. And at the same time I had the same experience when I was with her family.

So although only one person in her whole family can speak English. Besides her that I'm slowly learning German. My German is not so bad, so It's getting better and better communication. But I think so far, her family likes me. They give me, they've been giving me a lot of presents. So I think that's a positive sign if they give you some presence every now and then.

So yeah,

 Glee: Nice. And so do you speak German in your household with

Lawin: her, no, no, because. When we met, we only spoke English because we were both not living in Germany. And it was just like, it was just fate. That kind of led me to work in Germany. So actually I moved back to Germany before she moved back to Germany. So for some time we were living in separate countries but just across the border.

So it's, it's a bit strange to, to imagine, but it's not so far from each other, but in different countries.  learned German because I got the job here. But because we met in the Netherlands and we started our relationship in English, we kind of just continued in that, that direction.

Glee: Hmm.

Lawin: yeah, I mean, my also her English is way better than my German and I don't think I'll ever catch up to her level of English with my level of German.

So until I catch up, probably we would, would not switch to German, but when, when we're with her family or some friends, even just outside the apartment, because in public, you have to speak kind of German with the people outside. So then, then we do speak German.

Glee: So speaking of communication, so what were for you, the differences in communicating or the communication style?

Lawin: Yeah. So you know, these like languages of love.

Glee: Yes.

Lawin: Have you ever, have you ever taken this test?

Glee: Yeah.

Lawin: I think she's a very gifts person and I'm a very time, time

Glee: Mm.

Lawin: So we have very different love languages, but I don't think. For me that matters. Like I said, like, I really like differences. So the more different you are, I think the more interesting our relationship. But Yeah.

in terms of communication. Yeah, we're very open to each other.

And I think as long as you can keep, you can be open to each other and you'll have less and less problems.

Glee: And how did you harmonize the differences? As you mentioned, you liked the differences. So how did you , because sometimes, you know, it might be a miscommunication. So how were you able to harmonize.

Lawin: right. I think the first step is always to have like an open mind. So whenever you're with anybody, regardless, if they share the same beliefs of you or not, Obviously the people who don't share the same beliefs with you, you'd always have some kind of conflict, but you should always like have an open mind.

So I try never to really impose some things on her, even though, you know, in the Philippines, this is the way it should be. But. I never tried to impose that. And I just tried to learn why know, your partner or other people do things that, that a specific way, that's not the same as, you know, you were taught or that, you know and it's just.

Being, and having an open mind and trying not to impose anything on other people try to learn also like why people do things in certain ways. And, and honestly, you might be shocked that there might, they might have actually a point and the way that they, they do things.

Glee: Mm.  So it's really just understanding where you differ and you, work from there because if we don't understand that difference, then it's like, we are perplexed right. Like why? Like we cannot accept it because we don't understand.

Lawin: Yeah, exactly. I think first step is always, admitting that we are different and then trying to understand why we are different and then maybe looking at, these differences. Does it really make sense to do things one specific way or does it make sense to do things separate ways?

And I think there could be a merit also in doing things differently, just because, your family or your parents or your society told you it's a specific way. I mean, there's so many different ways of doing it that, you know, maybe it just wasn't considered before and you might actually learn something new or you might even adapt that other person's beliefs or that person's way of doing things.

 

So one thing that really upsets me in Europe is actually when you go out on to restaurants or, at home, when you have food.

People actually throw a lot of food away. Like,

Glee: Yeah.

Lawin: They don't maximise, like, for example, there's some left over the, throw it away and you go to a restaurant normally in the Philippines, if there's something left over, you take it home. Right. You ask if you can take it to them here, it's quite normal to just have them throw it away.

And this is something that I really fight for it like no. We ordered, we should finish it. Or if we have the scan of food, we should make sure that we cook it before it expires or not, never waste, never waste food. And obviously, in the beginning they don't understand this concept so much. Until, you know, you, you take them to the Philippines and they realize.

Oh yeah. It's because there's a lot of people who don't actually have food and, by making sure. We don't have so much waste then maybe our society can like produce just enough, you know, and, and enough for us and, you know, and offer for everybody. And not because there's waste, just having the idea of having waste.

There's such a, you know, in Filipino families, your mom will always get mad at you dad. Like, no, you should finish all your food before you leave the table. So these kinds of things. Yeah. Obviously this is one idea. That's really, I think there's only one right. Answer to that. It's not having waste, but at the same time, you know, when I came here, you, you notice that there's a very different way of viewing this. It's not like she fought me or people from here fought me over my belief, but it's just that we had very different beliefs. And that's one thing that I tried to impose on her is try to be more careful with, you know, with food.

Glee: I could relate to that as well, because I have the same thinking, you know, because Philippines.

Lawin: Yeah.

Glee: Right. So my husband always says, don't make yourself too fat if you cannot really eat it. cause you know, women, we always like, oh, I'm getting too fat. I'm getting I'm gaining weight.

And then, and then he always says that then why you eat The food that you can't even take anymore. And then that you, brings the on more weight. So that's his thinking about the food. If you cannot eat it all, then don't eat it because otherwise it will be bad for you.

so what are your top tips for interracial couples?

Lawin: Oh, wow. Okay.

Top tip, obviously open mind, just having an open mind, as I already mentioned try not to think a certain way is correct and just, you know, be open to learning something new always, and that would make your relationship more exciting.

I think this is true for any relationship, not just for interracial couples, but don't, don't try to adapt yourself too much to that. Person's like, so you might, for example I might be in Germany. I might try to be as German as I can. Just because I know that's, that would make my, my girlfriend more comfortable.

But honestly, like you should just be yourself. Don't forget to be yourself. And I think that's, you know, that's the reason they're with you because you're different. It's probably not because I look Filipino, but they act like a German person, but they're with you because you're a very different person and probably that's, that's what they like about you.

So I see a lot of people, you know, who come here and they. No, of course, it's nice to get the culture, but always try to maintain, you know, your identity and your true personality. And I think that, you shouldn't forget about that. So that's something I do. although I am trying to learn the language I'm getting. To know the culture better, but at the same time, I'll never kind of change myself and I have to be more like more German. That's not, that's not going to happen. So I think for  relationships, those are important points. I'd say another important point also is to maintain kind of, well, for me, this is important.

I don't know how you find it, but It's also important for you to make sure that your partner also gets included in your culture. So even though for example, you're you're in Australia. But your husband has his own thing with his friends on WhatsApp or his own thing with his family, you know, little and little by little try to involve the person with the, with what's happening.

So actually, Same thing with my, girlfriend when we have, when I have some zoom events even though it's sometimes in Tagalog or in Filipino, I still invite her so that she, she can feel that like she's part of that thing

of that thing. So I think that small things that, that could help Yeah. strengthened the relationship.

Also try to teach her a little bit of Tagalog, but it's hard.

Glee: yes, like retaining your individuality. So it's really, I mean, not only interracial couples, as you've said, I certainly with that because some people might lose themselves in the relationship. Right. And then that becomes toxic and all.

And also if I may add, it's Springs on the same way as like the communication. So emphasize that there is a difference, but do not assume that they know the difference and then like, do not suffer in silence. Like, we're different than I'm not telling that person that there is a difference so do not suffer in silence.

And for me, I think the person on equal grounds. This, this is for me because, you know, I didn't date any other non Filipinos. at first I was very like shy, I would think that because of the, maybe the colonial mentality so that's why I succumbed to the ways of that mentality. but if we remain as we are, like, we will be the same person as they would have liked us in the first one.

Yeah, exactly. so before we wrap up this episode, so I have some few questions unrelated to the topic. are you ready?

Lawin: Go ahead.

Glee: So if you could be in a movie, what would it be?

Lawin: If I could be in the movie, what would it be? That's hard.

Glee: Really

Lawin: if I could be in the movie,I'd pick

all right. Series or a TV series, let's say.

No, let me pick a movie. I know a movie, I know a movie. I just thought about it right now. Slumdog millionaire, Slumdog millionaire, because I have a lot of life experiences that I think are very exciting and very life changing. that, if I had to join like a game show, hopefully those questions are some of the things that I've experienced in my life.

And I could answer. would be cool movie with and that I'd be rich in the end.

Glee: Yeah. Nice.

Lawin: that's the most important part.

Glee: Yeah. Yes, exactly. So next what was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

Lawin: What, okay. Favorite TV show. I I'd say I have two favorite TV shows growing up. One is anime slam dunk slam dunk, because I used to play basketball when I was, in grade school, in high school. because the main kind of the Sakuragi is not very Talented, but through hard work, he became like a good player.

So I always thought that I'm not that good. I'm just maybe if I work hard enough, I'll be very good. But I ended up being that very good, just like enough to be in the school team, but not more than that. And then another show that I really loved growing up?

Has has something to do as well with with, with basketball is one tree hill.

You watched One

Tree Hill?

Glee:  Uh, Yeah, I noticed didn't watch

Lawin: it series, but yeah, I'd say more Slam Dunk growing up.

Glee: Ah, nice. So next Would you rather walk around with a salad for a head or a broccoli for arms?

 Lawin: Wow. Salad for a head probably. If I had broccoli as arms, there are a lot of things in life I won't be able to do, but if I have salad as a head, I can still do some sports. And, and because, because in general, I think a lot of girls like being healthy, they like salad, therefore with a face as a salad, like I'd still be attractive to some girls.

Glee: Nice.

Lawin: Okay.

Glee: Nice one nice one. So, all right. So where can our Zesties is fin

Lawin: Yeah. So I have a podcast glee mentioned in the beginning called Pop Your Cultural Cherry. So I'm on Spotify, apple podcasts, Google podcasts, and all the other like main podcasts streaming platforms. I also have an Instagram and a Facebook page. You can just search me, Pop Your Cultural Cherry

the name's quite unique. And if you'd search it, I'm the only one. My show is the only one gonna show up. So, yeah.

Glee: Okay. Great. Thank you so much for coming in on the show, Lawin and more power to podcasts.

Lawin: thank you, Glee. You too.

Glee: Thank

you.

Hey Zestie Hope you enjoyed this chill conversation with Lawin. So how about you? How did you meet your partner? Let me know. In the comments are sent an email to gleefultalkshow@gmail.com. If you'd like to share a story of how you met your partner, I might be putting a segment like this here and there all throughout the season.

So it'll be great to hear your story. Please don't forget to rate and subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcasting platform or a follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Or visit  www.gleefultalkshow.com. If you'd like to support the show, please head down to the episode notes to find out how . Stay tuned for next week's episode.

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