Especially in the current Corona crisis, love for others is what we miss the most, so we thought of something special. With the l’amour est bleu “Love Stories” we tell you different love stories through interviews. These stories are meant to inspire, make you think or simply entertain you. Our wish is to bring the topic of relationship to the forefront and show you how many different kind of relationships exist.
You can find the first interview with Nici & Florian here. In the second love story we tell you about Mai and Oli – how they found each other and if their different origin has an influence on their relationship. Mai is my younger sister and PR manager of l’amour est bleu. I know her with all her good and bad sides and have to say: Hats off Oli, only a strong man can stand it at Mai’s side! With her dynamic nature, she is like a whirlwind that either carries people away or drives them crazy. I think Mai has found her calming pole in Oli, who balances her out. But what interested me much more was whether their different backgrounds had an influence on their relationship.
How did you meet each other?
Oli: After 1 ½ years of being single, I felt like partying again and wanted to go with a friend to a cultural event with cool music and art. But my friend couldn’t make it so I went there alone.
Mai: I happened to be nearby to check out a location for Maystudio. That’s when my friend called me and we realised she was at an event nearby. She said she really wanted to see me and so I did her a favour.
Oli: When Mai walked into the room, she immediately caught my eye. She had such a presence that I had to look at her.
Mai: My friend then said to me, “That guy in the corner looking at you looks like your ex-boyfriend but more handsome!” Since I could see so badly, I totally gawked at Oli!
Oli: It looked to me like she was trying to make eye contact. Then we kept making eye contact until she made some gesture, to which I responded by shrugging my shoulders because I didn’t understand her. Then she just came up to me.
Mai: I was in desperate need of a massage and figured Oli was just in time! He spoke to me in English, by the way!
Oli: Yes, Mai looked so international! The way she was dressed and her appearance, she could not be someone from Hamburg in my opinion. After we had talked for 15 minutes, she took me home.
Did your relationship quickly develop into a committed relationship?
Mai: In the beginning, I wasn’t looking for a permanent relationship. I just wanted to see how it would develop. But Oli then said pretty quickly that he doesn’t like half measures, which I thought was really good.
What was it like when you met each other’s parents?
Mai: Oli wanted to introduce me to his parents after just one week! Totally German!
Oli: I didn’t think about it. I was celebrating my birthday and just wanted to take her with me. Afterwards, I realised that in Asian culture, it’s an important thing to be introduced to your parents – almost like an engagement. I then introduced Mai a little later and my mother was thrilled right away. You know Mai, everyone likes her.
Did your family have any objections or concerns about the different cultures?
Oli: No, not at all. There never was in my family. I traveled to foreign countries with my parents when I was a very small child, so there was never any fear of getting to know other cultures.
“I had completely different experiences with the parents of my first friend. I have often heard jokes from them such as “rice eater” or “do your slanting eyes come from pushing the toilet?” Once they even made jokes about Vietnaam War.”
Mai: It was different with our parents, you know Mom. Of course she wanted to know where Oli came from and when I told her he had Polish and Dutch roots, she immediately unpacked all her prejudices. When she met Oli, he quickly convinced her of the opposite. Oli’s parents are really very open people and have never said anything negative about my Vietnamese roots. I had completely different experiences with the parents of my first boyfriend. From them I have often heard jokes like “rice eater” or “Do your slit eyes come from pressing on the toilet?”. Once they even made jokes about the Vietnam War.
How did you react to that?
Mai: I was very young and didn’t really know how to react. In our culture, parents and elders are respected, so I didn’t dare to fight back. On top of that, I grew up hearing jokes and insults like that. When you hear such insults from a young age, at some point it becomes the norm and you just accept it.
Oli: That’s absolutely not ok. Insults like that are low-level and can’t just be accepted.
Mai: You would never throw such insults at Oli because he doesn’t put up with such things. I admire that it’s easy for him to show others where the line is.
Oli: I noticed that Mai always remains polite, even when her counterpart behaves insultingly or inappropriately.
Mai: I get that from my Asian culture. It’s hard for me to show my counterpart that I don’t like something and I have the habit of always staying polite. I wasn’t aware of that before, only when Oli pointed it out to me.
Do you react differently now when someone is rude or insulting to you?
Mai: I don’t put up with so much anymore, but I still have to work on showing that and more clearly.
Have you already had negative experiences in society?
Oli: No, not at all.
May: Unfortunately, I do. I’ve actually been told a couple of times in relation to my relationship with Oli, “First you take away our jobs and now you take away our men!” In general, I would also say that I often have to deal with prejudices about my origin in everyday life. These are not all negative, they also include positive prejudices such as that Asians are so hardworking and sociable. I’ve had a few jobs where I’ve been told, “We like working with Asians because you do a good job and you’re easy to get along with.”
And how do you feel about such a statement?
Mai: On the one hand it’s positive, but at the same time I’m just limited to my origin. At that moment, it’s not about me as a person or what I can do, but what we Asians can do in general. In addition, I also hear that people of other nationalities didn’t get the job because of their origin. I feel like a “foreigner” in this country or like I don’t belong because of such experiences.
“ I would also like to see advertising or magazines, etc. no longer showing only the classic German advertising face, but a wide variety of women, so that every woman in this society feels addressed and that they belong. “
What would you wish for when dealing with people of other origins?
Oli: Definitely more respect, tolerance and less radicalism. I would wish that openness towards other cultures would not only take place in small circles, but would become normality in society.
Mai: I would also like to see advertising or magazines, etc., no longer showing only the classic German advertising face, but a wide variety of women, so that every woman in this society feels addressed and that they belong. I don’t want anyone to tell me anymore that I will never get a position because I have a face that doesn’t fit into society.