Last year I posted this on mixed marriages and inter-cultural relationships for Global Voices Online. It was quite a learning experience. I came across couple of blogs on mixed marriages where one of the partner is a Nepali.
For a year now, I have regularly visited three of those blogs-
Musings from an American-Nepali Household (American Wife)
Bideshi Biya (Nepali Husband)
White Girl in a Sari (Australian Wife)
All three blogs have different character and nature, but one thing is common-the mixed marriage situation (from what they discuss) is surprisingly smooth and accommodating. Well, surprising at least for me because growing up and even in adulthood I was under the impression that in situations like this, there is always a winner and loser. The losing culture gets sidelined and forgotten.Instead, the way they managed to navigate cultural and religious differences made me question my commitment to my heritage.
As a Nepali living in America, raising an American born daughter, I have always made an effort to be as authentic as possible, while being open to my surroundings. But I do carry pretty heavy baggage with regards to Nepali symbols and my feminist ideals. Most often, they don’t go together. I hate wearing a “pote” or a “chura”, and “sindoor” is also a no no.
So, it struck me to see that the lovely American wife in the America-Nepali household wears a “pote”. She is embracing part of my culture that I,native daughter, have ignored. I don’t know what that says about me, but she does get hugs for her openness.
White Girl in a Sari (Casey) has also embraced Nepali culture and language. She celebrated Dashain in Australia with her husband and group of Nepali friends, and even managed to enjoy goat curry( part of Dashain festivities).
Our Dashain celebration was a bit Americanized, with pumpkin pie and no goat curry.
Bideshi Biya (Nepali husband) is also very open about being flexible regarding cultural assimilation and integration.
These three homes represent a pixel on larger mixed marriages/multi cultural homes picture, they are an interesting study on culture and what it means to “be”. They show that It is possible for cultures to coexist and thrive together.
Being a native-born does not make one’s affiliation dearer and embracing the foreign does not have compromise your true self. It is how your live it, how you love it and how you preserve it that counts.