Actually this post should have been titled “About Mother-in-law and ….” But I could not find an in-law equivalent of motherland. So I let this title stand.
An old Sanskrit quote says,” Janani janmabhoomishcha Swargad api gariyasi”, Meaning Mother and Motherland are more desired than even heavens. It is true to some extent. We are related to both by birth, we didn’t choose them and loving them is ingrained into us .
But some thing has to be said of love of the relationships that we develop later in life.
Like your Mother-in-law and the land you immigrate to ……
You may have heard some newly wed say ‘well, this is not how it was done in our home’ or ‘that’s not how my mother used to do it’ at some point in your life. It’s only human to compare our new experience with the old and familiar. Sometime it’s because we miss the old and sometimes because we are simply scared of the change. On my first visit as a new bride to my husband’s native place Tamilnadu ( a state in south of India) I was overwhelmed by the difference in customs, cuisine, language and even dressing from where I grew up ( new Delhi – in north of India). In her wisdom my mother-in-law asked me to cook whatever I liked and put my mind to ease. Sometimes big changes are like that. Everything is so different that if you can do one thing in an old familiar way you feel at ease again. Thereafter it becomes smooth sailing. Like my relationship with my mother-in-law. I learnt a lot from her about south-Indian cooking, their customs and traditions. I was willing to learn and adapt and the learning process laid the foundation for the loving relation that we share now.
My story of Immigration has been as easy as the integration in to my husband’s family. We were met by nice people and found employment soon after. What really put our mind at ease was meeting people who were open-minded, gave us space and time to adjust and also shared with us the knowledge and experience that they had. Like my Friend Gerardo in Dubai who introduced me to “Nasi-goreng’ – fried rice Indonesian style and Ethiopian cuisine……… or my friend Mike who loves skate boarding and skiing and accompanied us on our first ever ski attempt or my neighbor K who shared her love for gardening and her tomato harvest with us over the last few years. We met people who helped us in some big and small situations and gave us a semblance of belonging.
Sometimes big changes are like that…. It is not easy. Sometimes it is challenging and drives us up the wall and it breaks us too. But if you keep an open mind then it can rebuild and reshape you. Then suddenly one day you would realize that the new has become old and ingrained in us. The love we were not born with has grown and captivated our hearts.
How has your immigration experience been?