Joint Family Life and Our New Apartment

Joint Family Life and Our New Apartment

Our apartment is finally finished! Kind of..? We’re missing two windows in the living room and the kitchen has no stove or shelves (let alone cupboards), but it was close enough. Had I waited for these things to happen, we might not have moved in for six more months! Oh procrastination is mighty strong, in our corner of India.

As I have mentioned before, our apartment is on the first floor (second story). The garden in the corner of the rooftop was relocated to build our apartment. It’s small – you can say it’s a tiny house – about 15×30 feet. We have one bathroom, one bedroom, a kitchen and living room or dining area. Anyway, size aside, it’s perfect for us! It’s our own private space that, likely to my husband’s annoyance, I have dubbed “Little America”.

WhatsApp Image 2017-05-09 at 10.50.22 AM
Brought a few things from the U.S. to help us better organize.

Living here has been significantly easier, most especially now that my husband has made it known to my in-laws (it’s about time!) that I have to work during the day. Baby N hangs out with her grandparents and cousins, until it’s time to eat or take her afternoon nap. Gosh I miss her during my working hours… She can zip around in her walker now!

At first, expectations of cleaning were still pretty strong. While both me and my husband did the same amount of work in a day, I was still expected to play the role of dutiful bahu on the side. When the topic of a maid came up, DN put off talking to his family, then stressed about the security of it, until he finally told me it probably wouldn’t work out. We were kind of back to square one, until DN started helping me out.

To be honest, some days it feels like staying here won’t work out long term. It’s truly a struggle to push through the unhappiness at times. But you know what… Life is about more than happiness. It’s also about commitment, sacrifice, and more than anything, balance. That’s why we hold on tight, around here, when things start to suck. We can recognize the ups and downs. Our ultimate goal is to build a good life for our daughter… In the mean time, we hope to eventually get to the U.S. together. Maybe see Mexico or Italy. Or both.

Well, I’m lost in my thoughts again, so I’d better wrap this up.

Until next time ~

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5 thoughts on “Joint Family Life and Our New Apartment

  1. Being married in another community and living with in-laws, I can totally understand where you are coming from. Just this morning I was thinking about you. By God’s grace, my mum-in-law is a fantastic woman, but still we have our own shares of turmoil and friction. Don’t get me wrong, she loves me n love her. Then I thought, situation at your end is quite unfavourable, given the expectations and mentality of the people around you. I was just about to suggest you considering moving to the USA with Baby N and DN. Just came across this post and I saw that’s what you have been working on already. Hold on tight, dearie. Stay strong. You are a very strong woman. 🙂 Lots of love and hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you Manju, I always look forward to your kind words. Yes, we are trying, but the visa process is long and hard. Just recently, I became aware that my hubby’s potential joint-sponsor is no longer able to help sponsor. Which means the burden of earning income for three people (by U.S. standards) is now on me. So far we are not meeting income guidelines – but we are trying. If we cannot succeed in meeting income guidelines here, I may have to stay in the U.S. without him, but separating the baby from him would be devastating for us and possibly traumatizing for her.
      So far it seems our best option is to just stay where we are and work hard.

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  2. Hey Crystal,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, however, I’m a silent reader. I decided to break off from my usual behavior and comment because your positivity is inspiring. Woman, you have a great strength, living with your in-laws is truly something hard and I can imagine how difficult it is to conciliate your own behavior (American) and at the same time meet their expectations of a proper bahu. Indian in-laws are often obtuse and raising a child around them is an act of deep patience. Sometimes I feel like Indians in-law expect too much from us just because we are foreigners, the needing to prove yourself is a pain in the ass.

    I’m glad that you’re seeing things clearly and even facing troubles you have been working towards your objectives. #FingersCrossed!

    Pray that you, baby N and your husband keep it together and strongly bounded by this beautiful love.

    Much love from Brazil,
    Leticya.

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    1. Thank you so much, Leticya. Your words are so inspiring. ♥ This lifestyle is a challenge for sure, and the in-laws are the center of it! Bless their hearts, they always mean well, don’t they?

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  3. I married my Indian hubby 7 years ago and we are living in my home country, France. I met his family after the birth of our baby in 2014. The first time I was treated as a guest, the second time we went for a relative’s wedding and it was somewhat different, then this month we went there again, with our baby and my daughter from a previous relationship.

    This time I have been able to understand a lot more of the family dynamics, but it is very clear anything I do is wrong. Cleaning dishes/not cleaning dishes, offering or not to help in the kitchen, just sitting down and of course I’m a terrible mother lol. So after one week of being bossed around and, from a western perspective, being bullied, I told hubby to take the kids to see his family and leave me in the hotel room. I did a 3 days retreat and decided it didn’t matter to me if people thought I was a nice person or not. Let’s face it, I’m European, I’m a feminist and I will never be a perfect Indian wife. After that it was a little easier.

    I think if I was in your situation things would probably not be smooth. It have been thinking that if my bossiest SIL acts the way she does, it’s because she thinks she will never be in a position to be a guest in my house and be bossed around, as we are living abroad and they cannot afford the trip. I have also been thinking it is pointless to be angry or unhappy because people treat you according to their cultural prejudices, as we do the same in the end, we can’t help it, it’s deeply ingrained. Maybe it’s because I”m in my late 40’s but I don’t think love can win all anymore, I believe more in respecting one’s boundaries and respecting other people’s – which is what you seem to be doing, so kudos to you ! (and I hope you make it to the USA).

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