Buddhaful Britt

C'mon Inner Peace… I Don't Have All Damn Day

Manny’s First Christmas

Manny arrived in the U.S. at Easter-time. I tricked him into putting on some bunny-ears, and convinced him it was totally normal to go hide eggs in a field while prancing around with a basket.

Fresh off the boat, he hesitantly obliged.

Nine months. Nine very weird and interesting months later, he is more relaxed and more hip to my personal sense of humor.

In the amount of time it takes a fetus to grow inside its mother, Manny has been living in the United States. If a fetus can do such miraculous things, one can only imagine what a man from New Delhi can achieve within that same time-frame?

So, fast-forward to December.

Manny took a class downtown. He had to drive an hour by himself, then navigate socializing in America on his own. We did test-runs the week prior to school; making sure he knew how to get there on American time, not Indian.

Yikes.

Sending him out into the world alone was kind of like sending a teenager off to college. I was nervous, but also excited for him. After the long tedious week-long immersion, he passed the test and is ready to be licensed so he can begin working.

He even made a friend or two.

My favorite past-time is still making fun of him, though. I enjoy reminding him of how he thought the convection-oven was a microwave.

At one point, I had taken a bite of his food when I  realized his lunch was frozen. He had been sticking food into the toaster-oven for less than a minute…and expecting it to be hot.  Unbeknownst to me, he ate everything frozen for the longest time.

I mean… sorry babe. THAT’S ADORABLE.

We spend many evenings sitting on the beach for sunset. FINALLY he gets it.  His mindset has changed enough to understand why I insist we live on the island, and not on the mainland. We have a saying here… “Friends don’t let friends cross the bridge.”

He has converted to being a full-on vegan now, but he prefers to say “plant-based.”

No one really understands what he means by “plant-based” until I explain that it’s exactly the same thing as “vegan;” which of course has its own set of queries, because no one really knows what that is either.

I’m still a “vegetarian,” though, because… cheese.

Mozzarella cheese, Goat cheese, Brie cheese, pizza… with cheese. You catch my drift.

Manny still battles the Indian societal belief that “public display of affection” is a taboo.  In India… holding hands, kissing, or sometimes even walking with someone of the opposite sex may become a very serious matter if the “moral police” catch you.

Check out this video, its VERY REAL… and completely insane.

Dealing with my own insecurities regarding this has become the latest issue I need to tackle.  When we are home, Manny is the most affectionate and kindest man. He is flirtatious, and tells me he loves me 1,000x a day while smacking my ass so loudly the dog jumps out of her sleep.

But… when we are out in public, I *sometimes* feel neglected.

I worry that gossiping acquaintances may believe his distance is confirmation that he is absolutely using me for that precious “green-card.”  I’d like to imagine that I don’t care what people think… but I see their judging eyes.

If they only knew how Indians are raised; if they only knew how men and women separate from each other even at parties, maybe they could understand that Manny was never allowed to be with a woman in public.  Sometimes he will hold my hand if I reach out, but I can tell he is uncomfortable.

He tries.

Recently, we were at a holiday party.  Manny sat far away from me.  I mean, I understand his very Orthodox upbringing and I understand that he seems to be more conservative than even the most conservative Indians I’ve met… but we’re married.

It’s very, very, hard for me sometimes.

All these years I was alone and dying for that companion, only to still feel isolated much of the time.  But, as soon as we get into the car from where ever we may have been… I get kisses and reassurance of his devotion.

It’s simply going to take a lot of deprogramming for him to relax and let go.

Then Christmas happened.

I expected him to be awkward on Christmas, but he wasn’t nearly as bad as my imagination envisioned.  I heard from some of the girls in my group how their Indian husbands threw hissy-fits about the money being spent or the sheer number of presents being given.

But, he joined right in.

So… I casually convinced him to throw-on some matching Santa Pajamas and walk to the beach for sunset.

His response was “I feel like a buffoon.”

Which sent a warm feeling of joy and satisfaction throughout my entire body.  Easter, Halloween, and now Christmas…

Mission accomplished.

Seeing my son open the electric skateboard which Manny spent hours picking out for kiddo was priceless.  Hubs waited to open his gifts last, and seemed genuinely surprised by quite a few items… like the electric nose-hair trimmer.

Or…  the unbelievably hysterical “Punjabi Santa Slippers,” we brought home.  Aren’t they perfect?

My mom and I both believe he will get more and more into the spirit with each passing year.

Or not.

My dad never did, and he was from the far off land of New Jersey.

I’m not religious. For me, Christmas is not about Jesus, it’s a day for family and friends; Manny though, he was raised that religion is the ONLY thing that matters.

Me? I pretty much think of God as the adult version of Santa Claus, so you can see how very far apart our ideologies lay.

All in all, I would say it has been a successful holiday season. We are surrounded by loving and caring friends, and have eliminated negativity. There seems to be a powerful positive energy in the air, which gives me hope.

And… on New Years Eve, at the stroke of midnight, I received a very sweet and heartfelt kiss… in front of a bunch of close friends.

In fact, he was relaxed and talkative the entire evening.

And… as long as I can randomly make my husband (and my dog) feel like a “buffoon” every now and then, my life is complete.

Follow our story in the links below:

Read about when I met “My Indian Boyfriend “—>HERE

Your Boyfriend is from India?  pt2 —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Prelude —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Showtime —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Indian Astrology —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: The Dress —> HERE

Surviving Long Distance Love—> HERE

Open Letter to my Husband—> HERE

Our Story, Retold —> HERE

Culture Shock: What to Expect?-–> HERE

Culture Shock: Six Months in America —> HERE

Culture Shock: Manny’s First Christmas —> HERE

Our Honeymoon: Rishikesh India—> HERE

K1 Fiance Visa: The Process—> HERE

K1 Fiance Visa: The Inteview —> HERE

Cr1 Spousal Visa: The Timeline —> HERE

Cr1 Spousal Visa: Interview Questions —>HERE

A Journey to:  New Delhi—> HERE 

A Journey to:  Jaipur India —> HERE

A Journey to: Dubai UAE —> HERE

Our First Diwali—> HERE

Giving Thanks, Shukryia  —> HERE

Being Sikh in America—> HERE

The Indian Grocery: Natural Products—> HERE

A Path to Happiness—> HERE 

True Love Lives Quietly —> HERE

Buddhaful Britt: Most Interesting Travel Blogger —> HERE

Buddhaful Advise: As We Think, So We Become —> HERE

Buddhaful Advise: Inner Peace —> HERE

Buddhaful Advise: Everyday Stress —> HERE

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