“People say I’m crazy, but screw them.” She says something along those lines before taking a confident sip of her beer.
I was at a bar with one of my closest friends of many years. We were having one of those conversations where you talk about everything going on in your life in the span of a couple hours. She talks about her views on marriage and living close to family.
It’s one of those conversations that reminds you how, on at least one level, you’re really different from someone. It’s awesome.
My friend’s Indian. No, her race doesn’t define her whole being. And of course there are many Indian Canadians who don’t want the same things she wants or live “traditionally” at all. But, in her case, culture and its traditions are at the root of a lot of her values.
Growing up, I hardly thought about this. In fact, I always thought of her and her family as very non-traditional Indian Canadians. I just focused on how we were similar, not how we were different.
Except for one thing. Family’s important to me, but I was often confused as to why her family life was such a time commitment. I regularly blew mine off to chill with friends, (though I never had any in town besides my parents and sister anyway, which is yet another difference). There were even times as a kid where I would get irritated when she couldn’t hang out because she had to attend another wedding or babysit her little cousins yet again.
As we got older and she started seeing her boyfriend, we were all dumbfounded when she said she couldn’t tell her grandparents. We eventually joked about her wanting to get married.
Now I’m fascinated by her values as an adult. She knows where she wants to be when it comes to home, marriage, kids. When I start thinking about those things, I either a) start having an existential crisis, b) try to unlock wisdom from everyone I know, every book I’ve read, and every sitcom I’ve watched, or c) start writing down the pros and cons for each option.
Maybe I’m making weird, inappropriate connections between race and life, but I’m finally realizing how her culture is a driving force for some of her decisions and values.
After a short night celebrating her birthday in the presence of her parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, her boyfriend and their parents, it’s hard not to find their hilarious, warm nature infectious.
My family’s spread across the province, the country – small but mighty, supporting my back from near and far. I might not have one big rock holding down my fort, but I have a few smaller ones keeping me grounded.
Talking to my friend, I’m reminded of the ways we differ, but also how we’re similar. We both have people and passions helping us break trail. And each other to bounce ideas off of.
As I write this I happen to be watching the episode of New Girl where Jess and the gang go to Cece’s Indian wedding. I haven’t really been paying attention to it so I can’t pull any deep moral of the story to connect to this post (actually it looks a little disastrous), but I can’t help but hope one day I’ll be that awkward white girl in the crowd at the brown wedding.