We did it and we survived! The poor little Swede came to India to meet my parents, grandmother, the cousins and aunts and uncles. Being a true Westerner and my family (parents and I) being part Westerners (lived in the US, ethically Indian), it was an experience.
In some ways I expected more drama with a white boy running around meeting Indian families. But in some very Swedish way, it just wasn’t a big deal or stressful to him. He just went with the flow and didn’t seem to mind. Quite different from American boyfriends I would say; many are scared to meet families.
The trip was packed with food, a lot of it. It is a staple of Indian culture to offer snacks, meals, drinks, whatever to guests. Him being the guest, everyone was out to impress him in an ever so subtle way. The good news was that he enjoyed most of the food (who doesn’t love Indian food?!) but the bad news he was stuffed to death; like a poor turkey ready to go into the oven at 400F for three hours. Strange as it sounds, relatives called my parents saying how they were impressed that the Swede ate Indian food AND liked it. Shocking!
I always figured my family would confuse Sweden with Switzerland; everyone does. However, they were confused that he was even Swedish, most thought he was American. Poor guy, he had to do a lot of explaining that he was not American and in fact came from a small little country in northern Europe.
What did we learn from our trip to the East?
- Do not tell relatives that you are living together. Changing subjects always works best in case such a situation arises.
- Do not offer too many details on how you met. It opens you up for more questioning.
- Sleeping in the same room is not possible. It’s not a big deal to sleep apart for a week, so don’t make it a big deal.
- Someone will have a “talk” with the boy. In this case, it was my mom.
- Brown comes in a package. Reminds of the very failed UPS slogan: What can Brown Do for you? anyhoo…
That’s right, you can’t just date an Asian girl or guy, you are tied to the whole family. Accept that the family will always be around and life will be easier. For example, my parents call me almost everyday. At one point it used to be everyday (no joke, honestly) but now they’re down to 3-4 times a week. How they afford to make a cheap call to me is totally beyond me. And considering that I’m too lazy to find a card and make acheap call to India, is well being a bum.
- “There are expectations to uphold.” In no overt way, Indian mothers can tell you exactly what they want in a pretty gift wrapped message. Make no mistake though, these statements should not be treated lightly. For our poor little Swede, this statement means he better get serious about the marriage bandwagon.