A friend of mine recently wrote a blog on Cross Cultural Attractions and Challenges. In it, Sharell asked people to respond with the answers to two questions that she and her husband both asked each other and the answer’s which she posted as a “response” to her own blog topic.
After reading this blog, I realized that there have been some challenges that I’ve faced recently that would probably been an excellent topic for my OWN blog.
If you read her blog, you can also view my comment and answer to her questions so I won’t reiterate what I said on her blog here. But I will go further into detail on some of the issues I mentioned.
Most of you who have been reading my posts know most of what Bear and I have had to face in our own Intercultural Relationship and Marriage. But one thing that I have not spent a great deal of time on is some of the issues we have been facing since being married AND living in India.
AND is the essential and key word here. Married AND living in India.
I didn’t want to write on this before because to be honest I felt that I was too emotional on the topic and wouldn’t be as clear headed or open minded when I wrote the blog. I thought it would look something like this…
I HATE IT HERE AND I AM READY TO GO HOME NOW!!! IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO LEARN THE LANGUAGE, I CAN’T DRIVE ANYWHERE, I SIT AT HOME ALL DAY, EVERYONE EXPECTS ME TO ‘BECOME’ INDIAN AND I CAN’T BECAUSE I’M NOT!!! AND I WANTED CHOCOLATE TODAY AND I COULDN’T EVEN GET IT FOR MYSELF AND IN AMERICA I COULD JUST HOP IN MY CAR AND GO TO FREAKING 7-ELEVEN AND GET CHOCOLATE WITH THE CHANGE IN MY CAR AND NOW PAPA JOHN’S DOESN’T DELIVER IN OUR AREA ANYMORE BECAUSE OF THE STUPID BOMBING!!! AAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!
Yes, I actually did rant that to Bear about a week ago. And then cried…HARD…for nearly 20 minutes. He started getting scared that I was going to dehydrate myself with all the crying I was doing.
And what started that rant? Earlier in the day I had had a craving for chocolate and because I still can’t drive here and because we live on the outskirts of our city and it’s too far (and not safe) for me to walk to the nearest “shop” I couldn’t get it for myself. Also, my maid had been sick for over four days and I had been doing all the cleaning/washing on my own during that time and was exhausted. That day I just wanted to order pizza…Papa John’s pizza because it’s the best. But when I called they said they didn’t deliver to our area anymore because it was outside their ‘legal’ delivery area and corporate found out and wouldn’t allow them to deliver here anymore.
I found that out as my husband walked through the door sans the chocolate that I had texted him to pick up on his way home.
Needless to say, I exploded. I was tired. I was hungry. I was hurting. It was late. And I didn’t want home prepared food even IF my sweet husband offered to make it for me. I wanted AMERICAN food. I had a craving for it, I wanted it, I was being denied it, so I was pouting by GAWD and nobody but NOBODY was going to stop my pout fest OKKKK?
Poor Husband. 🙂
So yes, most of the issues we have been facing since becoming married have been since and because we moved to India.
And it hasn’t been all on my side either.
Bear picked up on some “Americanisms’” in his two years there. Or rather, he already had some of these tendency’s and they became more pronounced because of his experiences in the US was reinforcing those tendency’s.
So, here are some of the issues we’ve been facing since moving to India as a married couple.
1) Bear and I prefer our “quiet time”. We both have moments when we don’t like being disturbed. This includes phone calls, door bells or internet chats pinging. Here in India, it’s quite common for someone to just drop by at any time of day or night with no prior warning. It’s also quite common for someone in his family to call on his cell or the landline with numerous questions or tons of information and then “requests” for him to call so and so back to congratulate/question/ inform someone else in the family about this or that. We love his family and friends, but we prefer the way things were for our ‘life’ in America. Nobody just dropped in without calling or asking first. You spoke to your family about once or twice a week with no other obligations tied to it.
2) Bear and I believe that if we have a life, you do to. That way, if we want to see you we say so and then ask when you have free time. We do not, at any time state “You must not care about us anymore as you do not come/call” in order to get friends or family into the guilt travel/call mode. However that is used EXCESSIVELY here. Oh don’t get me wrong, we got it in the US too, but rarely and even then the guilt tool usually was from our Indian friends. The guilt trip seems to be a much heavier used tool here in India than it was there.
3) Obligations galore. Family obligations. Friend obligations. Demands for our appearance for this function and that function. Demands that we take part in this or that. Demands that we contribute for people we don’t really know.
4) Excessive Drama. No, not on the Hindu TV Serials. Yes, there is an abundance of them and yes they are syrupy with Drama. But neither of us watches those so that isn’t it. No, I’m talking about the Drama we’ve faced when dealing with external or extended family members. Our own close knit family is not dramatic. But extended family dynamics can sometimes be a huge draw on our emotional resources and have been the cause of some tensions even between him and me. This is one topic that he and I are both trying to find a respectful way of handling. Neither one of us likes drama or dramatic people; however you can choose your friends but not your family. So this particular issue is a difficult one for us and one that we are both still working on to find a happy resolution for all involved when the situation arises.
5) Family getting used to some differences between western etiquette and eastern ones. Some of which I refuse to change because of my beliefs for what is right/wrong or rude. (Not saying that theirs are…just that I refuse to change who I am as a person and the morals I was raised with, if I feel that my morals are not harmful to anyone else.)
6) Lack of time in doing the things we both need to do. For me it would be learning the language. For him, it would be more time to study the changes in his field of work. However, obligations and constantly changing work time lines are making these even tougher obstacles that we once thought they would be. In the US, he was home by 6:30pm every evening. He didn’t leave for work until 9:20 am as it only took ten minutes to get to the office. Here he leaves early and sometimes comes home VERY late. Here, I spend most of the day dodging the door bell, cleaning/organizing/fighting off mosquito’s, working around power outages and coming up with that days recipes that will work around what we have available because going grocery shopping is a chore.
7) Accessibility. Yes, I know this seems odd but for me this is a HUGE issue. There is a certain way things ‘should’ be done or certain things that ‘should’ be available 24/7. Like there should be a shop nearby where I can get chocolate or a jug of 2% milk at 11pm if I need to. There should be a grocery store with everything that we need available in one location instead of selling SOME food on the first floor (and even that food is sometimes dodgy if it’s “fresh”) and clothes on the second floor and electronics on the third. Don’t the vegetable vendor’s realize that we need fresh fruits and veggies out in the sticks of our city just as much as the people who live in the older more established areas’???? I want my veggiewala damnit!!! If we go to the Hospital, my husband should not have to leave my side to go and purchase my stupid medicine so that the nurse can administer it. I want my husband by my SIDE at all TIMES when I’m sick/in pain OK? Why can’t I get Nyquil here? Why can’t someone tell me its equivalent? Why is it when I go to the medical shop and say that I have a sore throat, they give me medicine for a cough???? Why can’t I just pick what I want to use by standing in an aisle chock full of different medicines and deciding for myself which one to take? Why is it, whenever I call for home delivery from an advertisement that is WRITTEN in English…no one on the other side speaks it? And why is it that they will not deliver in my area even though I’m still considered to be within city limits? Why is the bus system so atrocious in this city even though the city has been granted a ton of funds from the government to improve it and then the money got all rude and disappeared? This brings us to the next point…
8) My over developed sense between right and wrong and the need to fix everything. This one has worn us both out and I’m working on controlling it.
9) From Bear (as he called to have me add this): “My challenges are to make sure that YOUR challenges are solved very fast otherwise MY challenges will increase.”
While I realize that this list seems fairly long, let me assure you it could be even longer. I just didn’t want to make this so long that some of you cannot finish reading it due to time constraints. 🙂
So what issues have you faced in your Intercultural Relationship? Do you think things would be different if you lived somewhere else? If so, where would you live?
PS: Bear and I both have toyed with the idea of moving to New Zealand where none of our friends or family lives. 🙂 LOLOLOLOLOL JUST KIDDING. Maybe.