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Do we have any Romanian grans - etiquette question

(17 Posts)
HurdyGurdy Sat 31-Aug-19 09:45:08

My granddaughter is an only child. Her best friend is Romanian.

At the beginning of this year, my husband and I took the friend with us when we took our granddaughter to Cadbury World for a day out, as it was lovely for our granddaughter to have company. The friend's parents brought her to our house and gave me a bunch of flowers, which was lovely.

The girl said she had £20 with her but she didn't need it, and didn't spend it. We paid for everything, including a couple of bits from the gift shop and meals etc

Fast forward to the summer holidays, and again, I have taken them both out for days. We went to crazy golf one day, and to soft play another. On the last one, the girl again said she had £20 but there was nothing to spend it on.

Yesterday, my daughter took them to a pop up sunflower farm, then my granddaughter went to the friend's house for a sleepover. Again, the friend had money with her but didn't spend it.

The girl's mum texts me after each outing, thanking me for taking her daughter out, and each time I have told her that she's doing us the favour as it's lovely for our granddaughter to have company.

Anyway, the Romanian family had an appointment this morning, so had to return my granddaughter home early this morning, although they want her to go back and play at their house this afternoon.

So - to the etiquette dilemma. When they dropped my granddaughter home today, they have handed my daughter a gift bag containing a thank you card (saying thank you for everything), a box of chocolates, and £50 cash.

My daughter is horrified and says she wants to give the money back this afternoon when the girls are back at the friend's house.

Have we unwittingly offended this family by not letting the child spend her money. Is it Romanian etiquette to pay your way when taken out? Would it be insulting to return the money, saying it's really not necessary, and it's our pleasure to take the girl out with us? Should my daughter be giving them money for having my granddaughter? (She has only been to their house, not been out with them)

Any ideas?

I have a Romanian colleague at work but I don't have her phone number to ask her, and we don't really want to wait until Monday!

wildswan16 Sat 31-Aug-19 09:59:23

I can't tell you anything from the Romanian perspective. But as a mum, I think I would realise that you had (even though you wanted to) spent a lot of money on my daughter with no opportunity to "repay" in money or in kind.

I think I would suggest that your GD thanks them for the money and let the girls choose together to use it to go somewhere so that it is shared. The parents will then feel they are not just "taking" but also "giving". Even though you may not feel this is the case at all.

In future I would also make sure that her friend does buy something, even if it is only icecreams or burgers etc - then her parents won't feel awkward in her accompanying you in the future.

It sounds a lovely friendship.

Callistemon Sat 31-Aug-19 09:59:26

I don't know anything about Romanian etiquette but I do know a bit about Balkan culture. They are very generous; if invited for even just coffee, you never go empty-handed and take something preferably home-baked with you.

I wonder if the £20 the child took with her was meant to pay for her entry fee, lunch etc and they were rather embarrassed when she came home with the money? Perhaps they are not able to return the favour of taking your DGD out for some reason but don't want to feel indebted to you for your generosity, just wanting to pay their DGD's way? It could be a matter of pride.

Callistemon Sat 31-Aug-19 10:01:02

Good idea, wildswan, letting the girls spend it together on another treat.
Trios out can be so expensive these days.

Callistemon Sat 31-Aug-19 10:02:54

Trips not trios!

BlueBelle Sat 31-Aug-19 10:11:22

I agree with above posters Each time the unspent £20 was their thank you and they way of paying you for her trip out which you unwittingly gave back please don’t give the £50 back that would be a bit of an insult I think Do as wildswan says use it for another trip out before they go back to schools
What lovely parents lucky granddaughter to have such a nice friend

petra Sat 31-Aug-19 10:23:44

I know Romania very well and as Callistemon said: the Balkan people are very generous with their hospitality.
Please don't give the money back or mention it.
Some folk might view it as condescending as in the huge differences in our standard of living.

HurdyGurdy Sat 31-Aug-19 10:49:43

Thank you - it seems then as though we may have unwittingly offended the family, which is the last thing we'd ever want to do.

Making a sweeping assumption here, because of course, we don't know their personal circumstances, but the family appears to be comfortably off. The mother works as a bookkeeper and the father is a bus driver (and according to my granddaughter's friend, "earns lots of money", bless her). They live in a gorgeous new-build three storey town house, and the maternal grandmother lives with them too.

So I don't think that they can't take my granddaughter out for financial reasons, but more likely to be logistics of fitting another person into their car (there are two children in that family)

We will, therefore, let the friend spend her money in future, and my daughter won't return the cash they have given today.

Thank you all smile

Tedber Sat 31-Aug-19 19:46:01

Is this really a nationality problem? I would think it is normal for any parent/grandparent to send their child off with spending money on a day out? All children absolutely love spending their 'own money' Doesn't mean you can't treat them in other ways - meals, ice cream etc but by refusing to let the child spend any of her own money I think you have probably unwittingly upset her.

I know if my grandchildren have money, it burns a hole in their pockets. IF, I sent them back with all of it they would be deeply upset no matter how good the day was. IF anybody took my g/children out, I would like to think I wasn't taking advantage and would give something towards it. Nothing to do with being Romanian, just the way most people are imo.

Gonegirl Sat 31-Aug-19 19:56:03

How strange. I think they may just be people who don't like to feel indebted to others.

I would try to give the money back. Tell them again what a pleasure it is having the child and how much your grandaughter enjoys her company. Something along the lines of "the pleasure is all ours". (Definitely keep the choccies though)

Don't make a big thing of it though.

Gonegirl Sat 31-Aug-19 19:57:35

Oh, I am far too late answering this post! hmm

Tedber Sat 31-Aug-19 20:02:53

Really Gonegirl? I think it would be more insulting to give it back but that is just my opinion. I would say thank you and it is a pleasure to take their daughter out but not give the money back. Sounds, to me, like you feel superior in some ways like " Look we have money, possibly you don't". As I said I seriously don't think it is anything to do with Romanian culture. Just what normal people do! Or is it just in MY culture ha ha

Gonegirl Sat 31-Aug-19 20:06:03

Is this really worth arguing about? confused hmm

I just answered the OP.

Tedber Sat 31-Aug-19 20:12:51

I am not arguing Gonegirl lol. Just my opinion. The OP asked if it was a Romanian custom? I said imo it isn't a Romanian custom but a universal custom. If anybody took my kids out or now my grandkids I always contribute and don't expect to see any of it back.

BradfordLass72 Sun 01-Sep-19 00:57:49

I know you've had your answer but it's one which applies wherever you are.

As I've pontificated said before, 'accept gifts graciously'.

When you refuse things or give them back, you are bound to make the giver feel at the very least embarrassed, if not downright upset to have their goodness thrown back in their faces.

If you gave someone a box of chocolates or a bunch of flower as a 'thank you', how would you feel if they shoved them back at you? Accept graciously for goodness sake -literally.

Daisymae Sun 01-Sep-19 08:45:03

I would just say thank you and leave it at that. It would surely be rude in any culture to return a well meant gift. Took the family out for lunch the other week and a teenage friend of gd came too. It was only later I was told that friend had been given money to pay. They were obviously too embarrassed to offer and I would not have dreamt of taking it. So I would just carry on as normal, they are sending the child with money so that you know that they don't expect you to pay for everything.

HurdyGurdy Tue 03-Sep-19 21:13:47

I spoke with my Romanian colleague at work and she said that it is quite a normal thing for Romanian families to give money to those who have taken their child out. It is a way of acknowledging what you have done for the family. And on no account to return the money. In fact, she said not to even mention it.

She also said that when you at at the home of a Romanian person/family and you are offered a drink, you are expected to refuse. Then the host will offer again and you are expected to accept. She said she was horrified when she was visiting The Netherlands and was offered a drink, and in the tradition of her culture, she refused - and they didn't offer again. And she felt she couldn't ask, so ended up desperate of a cup of coffee!!

I love learning about these little cultural differences. Aren't we lucky to live in such an ethnically diverse country where we can lean all these nuances.