Snippets from my life as a Mozambican-in-law

I owe you a really long post about the semi-disaster that was last week, but in the mean time, I hope I can tie you over with some videos of the good times a’rollin’ with my in-laws. Never a dull… or quiet moment with this crew!

Video clips from our Xiguiane 

The xiguiane is a traditional ceremony in southern Mozambique, held after the wedding. It is usually held in the home of the groom’s parents, where people of the family of the bride, are presented with gifts typically needed in African home, like pestles, belts, graters, mbengas (large earthen bowls), cooking utensils and cloth. This ceremony is very important particularly among people who, for various reasons, could not be present at the wedding . This wedding party is fully paid for by the family of the groom, which is why it is also called the “wedding feast at the groom’s house.”

At a cousin-in-law’s graduation, this happened… there’s no explanation. It’s just awesome.

They were trying to imitate the popular music videos like these:

TTYS XO,

Moz-in-law

They ask me how I know…

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 9.30.57 PMComing from a woman who is two weeks away from being married, it may come as a surprise that I’m thinking a lot about my exes, i.e. ex-boyfriends, ex-friends, ex-“dudes I used to mess with.” I always teased my fiancé that no matter how many skeletons I had in my closet, there’d never be a need to think twice about where the bodies were buried. Trust, they were always a continent or two away! But as the wedding approaches, I can’t help but laugh at the irony of the exes who have cropped back up, who have asked to come to the wedding, who are going to be in the country, who might be around after the honeymoon, who we’ll probably hang out with more than once, and who I never – in a million years – thought I’d welcome as friends into the ‘happily ever after’ phase of my life.

Really, this isn’t about them so much as it is about me. The woman who entertained them then isn’t the same woman who appreciates them now. I expected to carry animosities forever. I expected to be embarrassed by the idea of my husband meeting living reminders of experiences I haven’t always been that proud of. Yet, the years and experiences that lay in between have shown me that now I must be smarter, must be more practical, and must be in love!

I actually asked my fiancé if more than one skeleton could walk his way into our wedding party and break bread at our – very exclusive – celebration. And what’s more shocking than the fact that I even parted my lips to ask, is that he actually said “Yea, whatever.” That may not seem like much. But for a guy who actually doesn’t like guys that much, this is about the best I could have hoped for. And for a guy who I still torture to this day about how many “popcorn hoes” he exposed me to in the beginning of our courting, this is big. Moreover, for a girl who took a very long time to find her way into a mutually supportive, trusting, and communicative relationship, this is huge for me.

For some, thoughts of an ex bring the wedding jitters. For me, thoughts of an ex (or two… or three…) make me more and more excited about being a wife to the man I chose and who chose me.  All I can say is thanks to all the dudes of yesteryear and good luck in this lifetime. For those who I’ll see soon, my interest in their lives is genuine. It’s lovely to know that we’ve grown up in parallel, if not together. And for those who I’ll never see again, I wish them neither ill will nor well wishes. If this relationship has taught me nothing else it’s to save all my energies, positive and negative, for the present. Being here, fully here, has made all the difference.

I’ve heard it said that some people are only with you for a phase. I’m not exactly sure what it means when people pop up in random phases and happen to be in Africa when you least expect it, but I’d like to think that it means that friendships evolve with time, I can’t trust my 18-year-old self for my entire lifetime, and I’m ready for this next phase of life, called forever ever!

 

My Best Friend’s Wedding

IMG_0367In my line of work, I miss out on lot. Often the people I care about the most are the people I see the least. Their moments of triumph are posts I “like” on Facebook. Their good days are shared over Skype. Usually, I’m able to take the good with the bad. I recognize that in doing what I love (and what I think I’m good at), I’m either on or I’m off. There is very little in between. When I am not home, I’m very much not home. I’m plane rides and calling cards and time zones away. But when I’m home, I’m very available. And I’m very committed to the little things. Yet, today – of all days – I’m not home. And I’m missing a very big thing. I can’t help but be sad about it. Today is my best friend’s wedding and I’m not there.

It would be different if I were jumping up at Carnival in Trinidad or riding in jeeps deep in a Kenyan safari. But, I’m just at my house, sitting in my dining room, reading Pearl Cleage’s ‘Things I Should Have Told my Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs.’ Essentially, I’m just waiting for a new day. If I were out having fun maybe this event would pass with little commentary. Or if I felt like where I am is where I should be, then maybe it would soften the blow. But, alas, this is the situation and we’re oceans apart. That is the unfortunate reality.

So, next week I’ll be ready to write the happy blog post I actually intended to write when I started writing today. The one where I celebrate all the things I love about my Pumpkin. Where I tell all about how in high school I raked her over the coals for some dumb thing I can’t even remember now and how we spent months not talking. I’m not sure how we made up, but she probably initiated it. I probably didn’t say sorry, even though the whole thing was probably my fault. I was young and dumb then. I’ll talk about how she was the only reason I seriously considered going to UNC Chapel Hill. Yet I couldn’t be enticed to suppress the big city girl in my heart. I’ll say all the happy, joyous, praiseful things I should have said to her face when I last saw her in D.C. as soon as I come to grips with the reality that I’m missing out on the biggest day of my best friend’s life and what I’m doing now is definitely not worth missing that.

This is the ugly underbelly of life as I know it.

I should be in North Carolina right now. Of that, I am certain.

Daily Delhi

There are times when people ask me what it’s like to live in Delhi and I have nothing to say except, ‘You’d have to be here to see it.’ Sometimes it’s simply indescribable. And other times, well, I’m just speechless. So, I got into the habit of taking Blackberry pics to share what a typical day in the life is like in this town.  Enjoy the images and see if you can help me come up with the vocabulary to describe my daily Delhi.

Hindu Temple

Hindu Temple in Khirki Extension

Anais Nin

Billboard at Three Windows at Khoj

Graffiti

Graffiti in Saket Area

Sari Design Studio

Sari Design Studio in Shahpur Jat

Neighborhood Girl

Neighborhood Girl

Shahpur Jat Lady of the House

Shahpur Jat Lady of the House

Tailor Supply Store

Tailor Supply Store

What's left of a Haveli

What’s left of a Haveli

Vegetable Market

Vegetable Market

Tihar Jail Store

Tihar Jail Store

South Indian Dinner

South Indian Dinner

Spice Jet

Spice Jet

Rastrapati Bhavan

Rastrapati Bhavan

Goat in a Rickshaw

Goat in a Rickshaw

Hummingbird

Hummingbird in Smokehouse Deli in Khan Market

Flower Stand

Flower Stand

Aloo Tokri Chaat

Aloo Tokri Chaat

Chana Bhatura

Chana Bhatura

Baraat

Baraat – Bridegroom’s Wedding Procession

Play Catch Up

I’ve been off the blog for a few weeks for pure lack of content. Can you believe it? I live in India and I have nothing to say! Well, just to catch you up on what’s been going on in my life, I decided that today’s blog would be the highlights of the last few weeks. Where I’ve been, who I’ve been hanging with, what I’ve been pretending I’m too busy to do…you know, the day to day nothings. Here is the brief and wondrous synopsis of my last two weeks above the noise:

Moz

Trying to find my next assignment has been the death of me since August of last year. I have literally been thrown into a tizzy in finding the right gig, losing the right gig, fishing up other options with other benefits and weighing them against other hypothetical possibilities. Long story short, I am NOT going to Ethiopia. I’ve recently accepted a position in Mozambique and, I pray the gods have no objection to this one!

Two friends of mine are getting married soon – one in Paris in September, and another in the States in April. I’ve been browsing dresses, pricing flights, and looking at my treadmill with loathsome disdain. I’m excited for these nuptials, but finding a way to squeeze myself into something flattering is a fight for another day.

Dionne_Warwick_-_This_Girl's_In_LoveI’ve got a new beau, and it has been very difficult for me to contain my excitement. I’m pretty sure that this man is going to turn out to be Prince Akeem of Zamunda. It has all been so fast and so good – I’m feeling like Mariah Carey in the Bahamas ya’ll. I got friends sending me kitchy India Arie love songs now. It’s just been an all around mush fest these last few weeks. Life is good.

I have a few papers that won’t write themselves. I’m pursuing a post grad diploma here in India, and uhhh, I have 5 assignments due this week for reading in 5 books. I have only read one. AND, I promised another professor I would write a comparative literature article for a journal. I have only read one of the two books. Did I mention I have a new beau?

What’s more thrilling than procrastination you ask? My decision to get my taxes prepared by someone other than my mother! Yea, so in addition to whatever Uncle Sam tiefs, I will also be $600 broker when it’s all said and done. “Get your hand out my pocket!”

imagesI’ve been looking into Lasik. It’s all the rage now and since it’s significantly less expensive to get these kinds of procedures done in India, I’m considering taking the leap as well. I’ve been to two doctors in the last month, because the first one gave me the skeevies. Imagine talking about burning your cornea with a laser with a guy who speaks like a used car salesman. I was not impressed. The new place I’m going actually told me that my corneas were too thin for Lasik, so now I’m looking into implantable contact lenses. This would mean no glasses until cataract sets in. (I’m sure this doesn’t strike you as the most thrilling update here, but I swear it’s been a fascinating experience.)