Happy Republic Day!

Remember when Varun, Luke and I flew from Helsinki to New Delhi this past summer? I wondered then, as I still do, if there are enough Indians in Finland to justify a daily, non-stop flight…

I digress.

On January 26th, India celebrated Republic Day. This was slightly confusing for me as I had just gotten the hang of Independence Day and then I find out there’s another National holiday about freedom and country. Apparently, I still have a lot to learn. The Finnish people, however, are on their game when it comes to Republic Day. In case you haven’t heard, the flight attendants actually did a choreographed dance for the passengers.

How did I miss this?!?! I was on this same flight just months ago!! Every time I go to India I vainly anticipate seeing Shah Rukh Khan burst into song and dance at the shopping mall. To date, it hasn’t happened. Someday, I will witness random Bollywood song and dance. But for now, I’ll just watch this video on repeat and dream…

Where Do Babies Come From?

As I mentioned in the “About” section, Varun and I try to intentionally sort through our cultural ideas, value judgments and traditions to form a rich, hybrid family culture of our own. Most days, this takes very little effort. I experimentally cook Indian food, dance to Bollywood music and explain western cultural phenomena to Varun.

However, yesterday in class we had a rousing discussion that made me realize something: having children will give Varun and I myriad opportunities to sort out our various cultural preconceptions. The discussion question in my “Sexuality and the Therapeutic Relationship Class” was about normal play behavior in children around sexuality. As my program has a diverse student body–with students ranging from 23 to over 80 and from scores of cultural backgrounds, the question arose, “Can a westerner establish something to be “healthy behavior” if billions of other people consider it abnormal?” Naturally, a heated discussion arose. (Heck, even the discussion of such topics in a gender-mixed, non-private setting would cause entire people groups to blush.)

As I relayed the story to Varun on the drive home, I realized how culturally and religiously embedded my thoughts about sexuality, child-rearing and “healthy relationships” are.

I saw the trailer for the documentary, “It’s A Girl” today, and am hoping that it will explore some of the cultural, political and religious influences at play. *Disclaimer* I realize that every culture has blind spots, and while many in the East seem to be devaluing and intentionally killing girl babies, many in the West have made and continue to make similar unloving and self-serving choices.

I hope that this documentary will take a critical look at the confusions and false beliefs that contribute to such an atrocity.

Speaking of  children, today I did more research on the process of adopting a child from India. This is something Varun and I are still praying about and are not sure when/how God will use adoption to build our family. I couldn’t help but smile when the woman at the adoption agency exclaimed, “Wow, you’re young!”. We’re not that young, actually. In her experience, however, people try to have kids for a few years and turn to adoption as Plan B. For us, adoption is not Plan B.

We’re still not sure if we’ll adopt and if it will be before we have biological children, but is something we’re seriously considering and working toward. My heart breaks for orphans around the world, going to bed every night–young, lonely and without a Mom and Dad. I so long to adopt: to love and snuggle and even change diapers and clean up after a little one.

Until then, Varun and I will keep up the entertaining cultural exchanges and continue creating a family culture that is uniquely ours.

Cooking for the Experts

Confession time: I get super nervous about making Indian food for Indian friends. Why, you ask? Ummm….seriously?! I did not know what form ginger was sold in or what on earth turmeric was until late 2008. And now I’m cooking staple foods for friends born and raised in the sub-continent. Zoinks.

Don’t get me wrong, Varun and I love hosting people, and I really enjoy cooking. Varun knows by now that I have a ritual of freaking out the day of, over-cleaning and over-feeding, apologizing profusely and usually pulling it off. To accommodate my panic, he dutifully vacuums the rug, takes out the trash and participates in several (forced) taste-testings before guests arrive.

In case you haven’t guessed, we’re having dinner guests. Varun invited two Indian friends over for supper. Nothing fancy, just chana masala, chocolate chip cookies and then they’re headed to play soccer. Nothing to be nervous about. Just a day in the life of.

In other news, this song has been on repeat in this household. Despite the goofy tune, repetitive lyrics and odd video, something about it is oddly appealing. According to Varun, the majority of Indians have this song stuck in their heads…

To the best of my knowledge, the chorus means, “Why this rage?”. I’m still formulating my opinion about the whole song.

It’s certainly been amusing us…

Me: Hey, he says “White skin, girl–lll-girl-lll”. That’s me!

Varun: The next line is “Girl’s heart black…future dark hai”. So…

Me: Ooh..right. That’s not me.

 

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