It’s shocking how many times we have to face this question, and how many different ways it is asked, by people who both mean well and people who do not. The fact that I have chosen India as the place I would like to be, just blows people’s minds. Whether they are Indian, American, or otherwise. Not to mention the fact that my husband is just as interested in staying in India. No one can fathom why.
Well meaning friends and family curiously ask if we will ever come to the US to live, although I have tried to make the situation perfectly clear. Strangers have been curious, and some have been outright abusive and taunting. We even encountered a man at a children’s festival who called my husband an “NRI” (Non-Resident Indian, a name given to Indians who live outside of India) after seeing me, and told him that he “just knows” my husband will start living in America, in a very accusing and degrading way. My husband’s employer has recently asked him why he is still living in India, if he could be living in America. At what point will his decision be respected?
Well meaning strangers who ask me why I prefer India, and why I don’t want to be in America, as if I don’t like my own homeland. As if I will one day see the light. Well meaning friends say they have never met an Indian who wants to return to India after visiting America. It’s like what we say doesn’t even matter, no one even hears it. At what point will our decision be respected?
Despite the fact that I have chosen to live in India, and have declared that multiple times, no one is listening. I’m getting tired of justifying my decision, though it was perfectly clear before we even married. Yes, America is my home, yes, I miss it, yes, it’s great in many ways… But I choose India, and it should be as simple as that. “But why?” At what point will my decision be respected?
My family who misses me very much, could almost care less if my husband is able to come with me to visit America, or not. As long as they get to see me. Disregarding my feelings about being away from my husband. Meanwhile, although my family has always accepted my journey, they are starting to wish I lived in America. Not everyone can fully accept that I am not interested in living in America, and some are starting to think that if I am not paying attention to their need to be near me, I am “Disregarding my American side”. Aspects of my future are weighed by expectations of my family, who will ultimately decide whether or not I care about them, based on how much or how little I involve America in my future.
No one really stops to think that if I lived in America, another family would be missing out – his family. But I am not choosing his family over my own. I have merely made the right choice for myself, though it happens to be that we are near his family. In an intercultural, international marriage, someone always feels more loss. But this is the decision we have made for ourselves.
The truth is, as we know it, there is nothing we can do about people’s mindset on this matter.
Featured Image by Fred Seibert via Flickr.com