Buddhaful Britt

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

Culture Shock: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

A subscriber recently told me that she wishes she could have my blog as a book; something tangible she could refer to throughout the day. Others have told me that a love story like ours should be a movie; a comedy no doubt.

Lucille Ball (I love Lucy) married the Cuban, Ricky Ricardo, but public clashes of cultures like theirs are rare. Then, Buddhaful Britt combined a Jersey Girl with a Sikh man from New Delhi.  My daily life very much reflects the hilarity Lucy tried to portray.

But, I have a confession…

It seems people want to hear the truth, and I tend to keep my articles a positive “Love Will Conquer All,” kind of style. So, readers have been wondering the REALITY of what it will be like moving to another culture?

I can only speak from our own experience, but…

People in a LDR (Long Distance Relationship) tend to glamorize what life will be like once they are finally living together. I can assure you, everything you are imagining, will NOT be the case.

I knew Manny.   Our LDR had a beautiful flow to it.

I knew where he was at any given time. I knew just about everything about him, and anyone who tried to tell me otherwise was just being negative. HA!

Boy, was I naive.

I once read that people who go into LDR’s typically have some sort of commitment fears. We commit to this type of relationship because its comforting to know “someone” out there cares, “someone” is there to lean on, chat with, and share life with.

BUT… not commit to the daily reality, only the fantasy.

After much reflection, I know that LDR was the ONLY way I was going to make ANY relationship work. I had a small son who I wanted to spend as much time with as I could. I was not willing to introduce a new man into his life for quite some time.

I thoroughly enjoyed having Manny at the end of the phone at any time. I needed that emotional support. Looking back, even the visa denial was probably a blessing in disguise. We had another two years to wait, and plan our future.

For all intents and purposes, our marriage very much resembles an “arranged marriage;” for the first time, I can kind of understand the dynamic.  We had to re-learn everything about each-other, once he moved here. The day Manny’s plane landed in the US, suddenly everything I thought I knew about him was thrown out the window.

His sister once asked me quite frankly, “why do you love my brother?” At the time, I answered that he was gentle and kind. That he was funny and sweet. Now that a year has passed, I’m not sure those are the adjectives I would use to describe him.

Yes, he is kind, and funny… but also moody, always hungry, and a grumpy morning person. I’m not being negative, but the reality is, that these personality quirks don’t show their ugly face until living together.

That’s the truth.

On a daily basis, even a year later… CULTURE comes into play.  I hear so many women say that their situation will be different, yet internally I giggle (just a little) when they come back to me because their husband wants to go back to his country; “he is depressed, and we fight constantly.”

YEAHHHH, I tried to warn you.

The Depression from Culture Shock is very real. There are stages to assimilation —> READ

How could he want to go back to India? I mean it’s perfect here in Utopia, no?  NO. 

Manny describes living in Florida as living in an Indian village. Public transportation sucks, the town is too small and everyone knows each other.

He never knew he was “brown,” until moving here, and he is reminded DAILY that he is “different.”

He had very serious delusions about our legal system. He comes from a place where all matters are solved by bribes or a handshake, then you move to a place where laws are enforced; it messes with your psyche.

Yes, people follow the law here. Really!

Once, his comment was, “I used to be so confident, then I moved here and everything I do is wrong.

His thought process while driving is VERY different from ours. He doesn’t seem to realize the price of not parking straight at the grocery store, “they will key our car, dude,” or that road rage can actually kill you.  Cutting someone off is normal in India, here, you could end up paying with your life.

THESE scenarios, were something neither of us could anticipate.

“No, you can’t cut through the gas station to avoid a stop-light.”

“No, you cant tell someone that you think they’re “fat” and feel you’re doing them a favor.”  Indian culture takes much less offense to weight than we do. If you gain a few pounds, its absolutely OK to tell them you noticed. In the US that’s grounds for divorce.

“Nope, you can’t tell my mother how to live her life… and nope, she won’t listen.”

Job culture here is completely different, from applying on-line to background checks, respecting your women bosses, AND… “don’t even THINK about being late.”

If the rules say you can’t bring a can of coconut water into a concert venue, “no you can’t pretend your doctor prescribed it.”

We don’t care that you need off work for a month to attend your cousins wedding.

Nope, you don’t get sick from drinking ice-water, and if you sneeze while leaving the house, you can not call out of work because someone did “black magic.”

Sometimes, you MUST get your hair cut on a Tuesday and/or a Thursday, and No, you cant find that exact same house with the front door facing North.

We will “call you from behind,” as you leave the house because we don’t know that’s a THING, and your American wife may not know how to cook.

Salads are not supposed to be “cooked,” and we tend to think guacamole and peanut butter DO NOT MIX.

Indian children are taught to respect their elders. But, American children are taught to follow their passion, not just STUDY, STUDY, STUDY.

It’s OK to smile for pictures, and no, not all western women “only want sex.” UGH

No, you can’t close your checking account each month to avoid the $12 fee… and yes, they will charge you for that extra round of bowling.

Wind blowing in your ear does not give you a “headache on your brain,” and drinking Coke with a handful of salt is not a good digestive.

Driving through the grass to exit a friends driveway when you’re blocked-in, is not OK. Maybeeee simply ask the person behind you, to move their car?

No, we haven’t thrown garbage in the streets since the 70’s… yes, this is one more reason why India is polluted. Please find an actual trash-can

Turmeric on our white kitchen counter-tops? “NO, please.”

“Washing” the car with a dry rag? NOPE.  Thank you, we like our cars without scratches.

The convection oven is not a microwave, and the crock pot is not a pressure cooker.

The dishes go into the dishwasher, and no, leaving them sit over night is not bad luck.

The shower is NOT a “wet bath,” so please be aware that my downstairs living room ceiling did not have that wet-mark before.

No. Please don’t put ANY kind of oil down ANY drain. Nope, not even coconut oil in your hair.

PLEASE watch the weather. It matters…

Yes, we have mass shootings. It’s horrible. No, something that happens in California should not cause your family stress, because we live in Florida. I assure them, you’re safe. For now.

Yes, New York City is amazing. No, we can’t live there right now.

Yes, it matters that we live on an island. The mainland may be cheaper, but “quality of life” is a THING.

I agree, Flea Markets have great deals. But, I don’t need to buy my wardrobe there. 

Yes, we like to write our name in the sand at the beach. No, we don’t think we will have eternal bad luck if someone steps on that name.

I’m sorry I mentioned that I’d like to use that religious Hindu fabric as a beach blanket, it was sparkly. How was I to know?

I know your mother thinks we should stay at the Sikh Temple for free, but… Air conditioning? Toilet Paper? Bottled water? Private room? TV?

Yes, Americans think it’s weird that I wear two anklets.

I’m sorry your aunt thinks the 14kt gold gift is cheap. Americans think 14kt is “sturdy.”

No, sending money to your parents is NOT considered normal in the US. American parents are self-sufficient and create autonomy in their children… I understand you are expected to send money home, but we cant understand why? (communal vs independent families)

Please close the front door. Mosquitoes in the house are very frustrating.

Please use PLEASE… and Thank You. I get that “family” shouldn’t say “Thank You,” but if you don’t say it here, people will think you’re rude.

“Yes, our dogs sleep on the bed.”  Yup… pillows too, sometimes we let them kiss our face. Yes they are family to us, not just a “dog.”

Sarcasm… it’s the way I talk; I’m from New Jersey. No, I didn’t actually MEAN there were “a million” people there.

You don’t need to change the channel each time a commercial comes on. ( OK, maybe this is just a guy thing?)

“No, we don’t mop the floor everyday.”  We don’t exactly have cow poo on our streets. Nope, no elephants, pigs, or camels either. Mopping is not as imperative here. Wear socks.

Please, please, please don’t put drinks on the antique wood furniture.   Please.   Pretty please?

You’re going to leave that wick burning all day? Just sitting there, in oil? You do know our homes are made of wood right?

No, you can’t drive on the left side of the road (on-coming traffic), “because no one was using it.’  We will die.

“Yes, you WILL get a ticket if you don’t stop at the red-light.” That ticket will cost A LOT of money, our insurance will go up, and you will get points on your licence.

The LEFT lane on a highway is the FAST lane. I get that your brain is wired to think it’s the slow lane, but that tractor trailer behind us? He will smoosh us like a bug.

“Yes, you have to tip.”  I like this restaurant. I’d like to come back here, and I’d like my food to be free from spit.

Our Blood Pressure, and Digestive health are not daily topics of discussion. I appreciate your concern when you told Uncle Ji about my diarrhea, but these things are not spoken about publicly in America.

“Right of way,” it’s real… and for the millionth time I have no idea how to explain it to you. People driving straight have the “right of way,” you trying to turn left, do not.   You have to wait.  That car careening towards us, WILL NOT STOP.

And.. Most importantly, I see the memes and jokes from your male family members and Indian friends. This is not 1940. Women are not stupid, timid, and meant to stay in the kitchen with no voice.

I thank you for not joining in; this is NOT a black and white episode of “I love Lucy,” after-all.

I feel bad for Manny.

Sometimes I just tip-toe behind him… wiping, picking-up, cleaning, fixing. I hate sounding like a “nag” all the time, but I’m also trying to help him adjust to our culture.

I tell him all the time that he is getting a unique experience, and crash-course in American Culture by marrying me. Most Indians move here and still live with people who speak their language, and cook their food. They only experience our culture outside of the home, and rarely try to integrate.

But, to be honest… I can’t WAIT to write about the reverse culture shock of when he returns to India for a visit!!!! THAT’s going to be fun.

Your Boyfriend is from India?  pt 2  —> HERE

Jersey Girl and the Sikh—> HERE

My Indian Boyfriend pt 1—>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: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly —> HERE

Culture Shock: What to Expect?-–> HERE

Culture Shock: Six Months in America —> HERE

Culture Shock: Manny’s First Christmas —> HERE

Culture Shock: The First Year—> 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

SUBSCRIBE HERE to follow our journey at BuddhafulBritt.com

Namaste’

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2 comments on “Culture Shock: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

  1. HolyGuacamole
    July 4, 2018

    Hi….remember me, fellow New Jersean? Yeah, no matter how long you live there I cannot think of you as a Floridan. Once a New Jersean, always a New Jersean. Florida can stuff it, it’s got nothing on the nation’s armpit.

    That’s a good list of culture shock items you have there 🙂 They are all true though. Although, there could be some variations based on which part of the country one’s partner is from. Take it as coming from Manny’s future avatar: almost none of them is applicable to me anymore. They are all in the rear view mirror after almost close to two decades of living in the US. So, things are gonna change and he will lose some of the likable as well as some of the not-so-likable quirks about him 🙂

    Apart from the sarcastic streak imported from Jersey, do you still have the Jersey accent?

    ————-

    “I see the memes and jokes from your male family members and Indian friends.” – seriously, this is a problem. There is a strong misogynistic and patriarchal mindset that need a good ol’ fashioned ass whooping. It is not cool, funny or remotely acceptable.

    Like

    • Britt
      July 4, 2018

      I’ve been wondering where you’ve been. You should keep in touch more. Lol you e been missed.

      Like

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