Monday, October 8, 2007

What Would You Do?

I have a bit of a conundrum...and I am curious what others would do...

My husband's brother lives in the center of Paris. He has lived there for years and has been quite successful. He is 12 years older than my husband and has a 17-year old son named Ben who visits us in the States for two weeks each summer.

His brother is very nice and we get along great. He is married to a French woman who I don't really know and am not very impressed with. I don't want to judge because I've only been around her once during a week-long vacation they took here with us years ago. She is very quiet and aloof and has an arrogant air. She never looked happy and wasn't very social. I thought that it may be she was shy; however, I also noticed that she didn't even talk to Ben. In fact, every time she looked at Ben, which was rare, she would look at him with disdain. I didn't like that. Ben is not one of those teenagers that drive you crazy. He is highly intelligent and mature and anyone would be blessed to have him as a son. I have begged him to live here with us as an exchange student for a year because he is just that good!

My husband's brother has been over to visit us several times. The last time it was without his wife and he looked more peaceful and at ease. He has been urging us to visit him in Paris and we would tell him that of course we will as soon as we can. That is the truth...I would love to visit him in Paris! Another truth is that it's quite expensive to get three tickets to fly there and you need more money than what is needed for airfare.

Ben recently stayed with us and when he got back home my husband's brother called again asking us to visit them. My husband said what he normally says to him, "Yes, of course. We will visit as soon as we can!" and this time his brother wouldn't let it go. The following is a bit from their conversation:

Brother: You always say that, but never visit. Why not?
Husband: Well....
Brother: If you want to visit you would have by now. I've asked for six years for all of you to stay with me and you don't. Do you not want to stay with me?
Husband: Of course not!! We would love to stay with you!
Brother: Then what's the problem?
Husband: Well.................
Brother: Do you have a problem with me?
Husband: Not at's just....well....we really can't afford it. As soon as we can afford it we will be there, but we haven't been able to yet.
Brother: Oh! If that's the case, when do you want to go?
Husband: What?
Brother: Yes, what dates do you want to go? I am going to purchase the tickets. When can your wife get off work?
Husband: Thank you so much, but you don't need to do this.
Brother: Of course I'm doing it! I want you all to stay with me and I'm getting the tickets. Let your wife know and call me back with the dates so I can go ahead and get them.
Husband: Thank you so much...
Brother: You don't need to thank me. I have the money and it's not a bother at all.
Husband: We will need to pay you back, though!
Brother: You don't need to, but you can if you like. (My husband told me that his brother said this because he wanted him to feel better about it.)

The conversation continued a bit.....then they hang up andmy husband tells me the news (they were speaking in French and Arabic and I couldn't understand what they were talking about. He told me the entire conversation and I was shocked, needless to say).

My husband said that we really needed to take him up on his offer because if we don't go his brother will become angry and feel insulted. My husband says that we have no excuse not to go now and we must.

OK, let's be reminded about something: I went to a bankruptcy attorney! I am going to start with proceedings once I have money from our yearly tax refund and can pay the attorney. It just doesn't seem right to jet off to France when I'm going to be bankrupt!

What would you do? My husband insists that we must go and constantly asks me for dates. His brother has now called our house three times asking for dates because he is a planner and wants to get the tickets.

I feel BAD even if I wasn't going bankrupt! I feel bad that his brother is going to buy them and they will be expensive! Flying to France in the summer is not cheap.

Though his brother never talked about it, we knew that he was financially well off. Just because he is well off doesn't mean that he should buy these tickets!

Not only that, he wants us to stay with him for two weeks!

And all I can think about is if we do go, of course we will need to pay him back and I can't even imagine owing more than I do already and having one more thing to worry about that is needing to be paid.

The irony is that if I were him, I would do the same thing and not think twice about it. If I had the money and wanted family to visit and found out they couldn't because it was too expensive for them, I would have thought the same thing. The difference is that it's NOT me buying the tickets. It's his brother...and I just really feel bad about that.

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