Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What Are Indian's Really Like?

So I'm skipping work to write for fun this morning. I've been making lots of new blogging friends and I'm just not in the mood for structured writing yet today so here I am...all over the blogs. One of my new blog friends, Lorena, suggested that I use my blog to help other women learn about India since not enough information is available for the things we really want to know. It's a fantastic idea! That's what I hoped to do anyway was let other women who may find themselves in my position know about some of the things I go through and more. I just hadn't thought about telling them what India is to an American girl. Or maybe any foreign girl for that matter. So here goes my first effort at touching on some things.

Unfortunately, I can't represent the entirety of India because I only live in Punjab and to be honest, I think this is a whole different world from the rest of India. Or at least it seems that way from what I've seen. See one girl I met recently lives in a nice area, nice apartment in another state and I don't see that kind of thing here lol. Also, while traveling I saw the poorer side of India and life is not like that here, even in the poor areas as well. So I highly recommend anyone reading this blog, seek out others because every foreigners experience will be different just because of the area of India they live in as well as in addition to the circumstances they find themselves married into.

Here in Punjab I run into so many white people. Hubby always calls them my family whether they are Australian, English, Kiwi, German or anything else. Last night we ran into a Kiwi family and it gave me the chance to judge how well I'm doing adjusting to here so far. When I first came here I didn't know anything...and I mean anything. This family was trying to order dinner from a waiter who doesn't speak hardly any English. They tried to ask him if half tandoori chicken was for one person and if the rice came in single servings for the price in the menu. Though I was sitting just inches from them they didn't ask for help when it was clear the waiter didn't understand. I knew from experience they were ordering way more food than they could eat, yet they continued ordering more. Looking back I had those same thoughts and in perspective...we should all know that half a chicken is more than one serving. Right?

I guess I'm kind of lucky to be living in the city I live in because we see at least one white couple every time we go out. On several occasions we have seen mixed couples as well. I also know for sure there is a couple here where the wife is from Finland because she was robbed recently and it made the front page. I haven't yet met her though and I'm not enough of a stalker to hunt her down. Still, with all the foreigners that grace this city on a regular basis I still get stared at as if I'm the only white person in the entire world. On the occasion it gets on my nerves I return an evil glare reminiscent of a witch putting a spell on someone. Works every time, though I typically feel it's not the way to go afterwards lol. It's just rude and that's not who I want to be. Then I think about all the black marks my saas (MIL) places behind my ear to ward off the evil eye and just laugh at what that must make that poor Indian I just gave the evil eye to think. I don't want to be responsible for anyone freaking out over a childish gesture. >:D

I know I've only been here 3 months but I grew up with Indians in my life (Gujrati's). I really haven't noticed anything extremely different between Indians and East Coast American's outside of cultural norms - at least not personality wise. Indians, like Americans, can be jerks, stubborn, spoiled, angry, sweet, loving, compassionate, etc. What I do notice is that by their culture they will tend to be nice and hospitable to your face more so than Americans. (Of course we all know there are 2-faced Americans all over too though.) They are more conservative than the Republicans by far and I don't think there is a Holiness Christian out there who is stricter about what God expects than an Indian...though they would be close! (disclaimer: I don't care about politics, the Republican comment is supposed to be funny and I grew up the strict version of Holiness Christian - yes there are 2 versions of Holiness Christians.)

I lived my entire life in the midst of multiple cultures and I thank God everyday for the people he put into my life. My best friend is Laotian, before we lost touch my childhood best friend was Vietnamese. I have Chinese friends, Mexican friends, and there are intercultural marriages already present in my family. I don't mean the kind of culture where someone grew up in American and their family was from some other country. These people came from the country and were not born in America. It's taught me a lot in life. I assure you, outside of cultural differences, people truly are the same no matter what country they come from - personality wise. Most all of them have trouble embracing the differences between their culture and American culture, just as I have had adjusting my culture to Punjabi culture.

People tend to reject change and differences. It goes against their upbringing. They can't understand why other cultures do things the way they do because it's too different from everything they were taught. It's the same way we would reject when a friend or loved one decided on a major religion change or the way we would personally react when moving from a tiny east coast village-like town to a thriving large city by the beach. Everything is foreign, we just don't label it that way because we are still in America. We don't understand it, but we don't fear it because it's still our own right?

Now that you know foreigners are really no different from Americans, I challenge you. Stop focusing on how bad the difference is between your cultures and inquire of your friend/loved one or even Google as to why the thing that bothers you is celebrated, acted upon, or done by the other culture. You will not only answer your question, but you will enlighten yourself and become more cultured. You will be smarter for having taken that moment to educate yourself on the true beauty that abounds in the worlds cultures. You may learn something that inspires you. You may make a new friend! Oh my....wouldn't that be....different!

(I'll try and tackle the Indian Mother-In-Law debate in another blog.)

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