Saturday, July 11, 2015

My Intercultural Love: Yogesh & Maya


This beautiful couple is a Latin/Rajasthani mix that met in Hong Kong and lives in India with their two adorable children!


Introduction....
My name is Mayavati, which is my religious name (my father become a Vaisnava before he was married with my Christian mother). Technically, I have 2 names - Carmen del Pilar; and the second is Mayavati Devi Das. People call me Maya because is easy and they know me from my Youtube channels as Maya Belleza de la India and Mayalife India.

I am from Lima, Peru - a very diverse and complicated city but the place I love with all my heart. I am currently living in Rajasthan, India, with my husband and kids. I have a daughter, named Yana who has born in Hong Kong and is 2 years old. My son is named Yash, who has born in India and the next month he is going to be one.

Three words that describe you...
I am independent, very caring and real (I will not hide my feelings!)

Favorite childhood memory...
My favorite childhood memories were with my mother. She was always there like a warrior, and never let anybody put as down or disturb us. She was my heroine, always.

Where/how do you feel most inspired?
I feel very inspired here in India, is amazing how much I didn't like this country and this city, but every time I go out with my family, I feel inspired to write a nice story with photos or videos, because this country is interesting and very colorful.


Where/how did you meet your spouse?
Meeting him is one of my sweetest memories. We met in Hong Kong, as he was living there already for 18 months. I went there to a trip for Asia, as my goal was to do business and forget a previous bad experience in Lima.

We meet after he saw a message I wrote in a website, as I was vegetarian and it was horrible to live in Hong Kong. Everything was so meaty do I struggled with eating a lot. I was also severely jet-lagged. He read the message and he sent me a email, and I was apprehensive to answer but I did. He called me late on a Saturday night and I told him I wouldn't go out. Being a gentleman, he invited me for lunch. I agreed, but I was still apprehensive.

Then, we met, and it was like BOOM! He was watching me as if he had found something. I was thinking - his eyes, his deep eyes! I loved those huge eyes and those thick lips, I was love struck! In the train, in the way to our restaurant, He was shy to say..."Sorry but I am vegetarian...if you want, we can go a multi-cuisine restaurant and you can eat non-veg..." I said loudly, "oh I am also a vegetarian!!!" I could see him relax inside about this uncanny coincidence! After enjoying the meal together, we went for a walk, and it started to rain. I asked him if he could take me a temple, because it had been a long time for me. He is Jain, but instead he took me to Gurdwara temple (Sikh temple), In middle in the rain, we went inside, prayed together and then resumed walking....

How long have you been together?
We have been together for 3 and half years.

What qualities do you admire in your spouse?
He is very loyal. He gives me lot of security in life. He saves everything, he cares for the future, he want to build a family together. He respects my culture and he has never confused our LATIN culture with other Western ones.


Favorite memory together as a couple...
The day he proposed to me, he took me close to the sea in Hong Kong Harbor. He told me he loved me, and he wanted to marry me. I asked him about his family and their reactions, but he said confidently, "I am sure you are the one." He asked me "Are you ready?". And I asked when. He smiled and said, "Tomorrow!"

What did you know about your spouse's culture prior to your relationship?
I was scared to meet his mother because we married abroad and were an intercultural couple. But I was totally wrong, because she cried of happiness after she saw me the first time.

How did you tell your friends/family about your intercultural relationship?
Most of them were not too surprised, because they knew I would eventually visit India, and I was born a Hindu. They always want to make sure that he treats me good, if he respects me, after all the negative press out there about Indian husbands. They believe me, and they are sure he is a good husband.

How has your relationship enlightened your life? How has it changed you & your outlook on life?
I have had some difficult times in India, at first with my health. The weather is extremely hot and sometimes you get a fever. Many clinics aren't very good and they are very dirty. In the end, I managed to tolerate it.

After my daughter was 10 months old, I went to India for the second time. Everything seemed different. My mother-in-law didn't like the way I cleaned the house and didn't want me to keep a clean space for my child. Everything is always dirty and there is so much dust everywhere. It was a negative experience for me and I didn't really enjoy myself.

Now things have changed, and I work on my video blogs, and work on my business as a creative outlet. I want people to see my India. Things have changed with my mother-in-law too, for the better. She rests, she respects my space, she enjoys spending time with her grand-kids, and she teaches me Indian cooking.


Describe your wedding...
I was sick with a bad fever right before the wedding, so I can't say much about the preparation. My husband and his cousins planned everything. The wedding took place in a big area with gardens and hotel for our 500 guests. We had lots of food, flowers, and dancing for 3 days! But it was extremely hot for me and my mother so I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

What does being married mean to you?
Staying together; keeping our individual stories; always blending with each other; and always putting our union first.

What are your dreams for your future together as a married couple?
We want to enjoy our romantic relationship, because we only dated for 5 months before marriage. I want to be able to converse with each other about our opinions. I want to hug each other every day and enjoy our age. I want our kids to follow their own direction in life - I want them to be happy, as well as keeping our relationship happy.

What's the best marital advice that you received from elder family/friends?
My mother in law always says to realize that we are all different as individuals and to understand that before reacting negatively.

My mother says that nothing lasts forever, so take care of yourself and your marriage. I know that is extreme, but it has definitely worked until now. My husband admires that I always take care of myself.

What positive cultural values do you bring to your relationship (from your own culture)?
My husband and I are always together, so there is no emotion that I can hide from him. In Latin cultures, women are raised to be complete beings with a wide variety of skill sets. I can be a like a maid, a nanny, a cook, a beautician, etc. Latin women are very multi-dimensional and versatile. My husband was amazed by this. My husband has also praised the way I take care of our children, which is very much a part of my culture.


What do you do to keep your relationship alive? What kinds of things do you do to connect with your spouse?
We talk and debate a lot. My husband always respects my opinions and my voice. We like to tell stories to each other of the past and our childhood. It is a nice way to discover and understand your spouse. We also try to do everything together, whether it is shopping, or work. This sense of togetherness has helped me learn how to survive in India. He is my hero :)

In what ways have you adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
In terms of our religion and diet we are the same; but I have had to adjust culturally. The biggest thing I have learned is to forgive people and not immediately cut them off the second that they upset me. I have learned patience in that regard. Also, I have learned to save money. I also feel that I value family more.

Has your family adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
Not much, except my sister. My sister loves my husband and looks up to him a lot.


What aspects of your spouse's culture do you find difficult to embrace?
It has been difficult for me to teach my mother in law that it's okay for me (and women, in general) that you don't have to stop your career/dreams/life just because you are a wife/mother.

We have already learned from our own families how to be a wife/mother so we don't need unsolicited advise or be bossed around. If my sister in law were to boss me around, then it would effect our relationship as sisters.

I also don't like how some women are kept only as housewives. Or that some daughters are sent away to other families - that is something I can't handle, and my husband feels the same way.


Name some cultural faux-pas that you have unknowingly committed...
Only once - I hugged everyone at my wedding reception! I was so happy to be married that I forgot I was supposed to act like a sad new wife with an innocent face! It was weird for them to see me - completely the opposite!

What was the most challenging time in your intercultural relationship?
When I was having problems with my mother in law. It made me so sad and I doubted our future as a family. She made me feel that I would only survive if I was obedient to her. I want to be independent and make my own life choices - even the colors of the sofa, or where to buy a house and when.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I left my husband and fled to Peru. I couldn't handle it anymore and I was so hurt. My husband stood up for me and set boundaries with my mother in law and brought me back. She has respected my space since then, and it has improved our marriage and our family life.


What's the best and the worst part of being in an intercultural relationship?
The best part is the values that we give to our kids. My daughter is so lovely and helpful, and she always shows her feelings. She is only 2 years old but she is already very religious and respectful to our deities. She is what I always dreamed for our children - to be caring, hard working, and devotional.

The worst thing is that we live far away from my mother. In Latin culture, the maternal family is more close to the children. It is hard for me to see my children grow up far away from my family.

It is also hard when you realize that guys have it easy compared to us women - they don't have to change their name, attitude or culture.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that people have about intercultural relationships?
When people have said that we will suffer for being in an intercultural relationship - that we wouldn't understand each other, that we won't respect each other's culture, ideas or feelings. These things happen in same-culture relationships as well as intercultural ones.

What are the biggest misconceptions about Latin women?
People think that Latin women are only showing off their bodies and consumed with their appearance. People think all Latin women do is dance and party, and that we are not educated professionals. Latin women can do it all - we can have a great career, be a good wife and mother, look beautiful, and dance!

Have you come across people who disapprove of your intercultural union? If so, how do you deal with them?
Many. I have tried to be calm about it but I couldn't handle listening to such comments for long. My husband understands that we can't change such people, but it's hard for me to not get defensive. My husband's aunt always made comments saying that Indian wives are always good and the best at everything. One time, she asked me if I am similar to my father or my mother. I told her I am more like my mother. Then she replied, "Don't worry, with time that will change, and you will become GOOD." It was very offensive to me, my mother, and my culture. She still tries to talk to me but now I don't pay her any attention.


Take-away advice for other intercultural couples...
Be patient for the future. Be sure about your spouse's love and don't ever let the feelings stop. Nothing is more strong that your spouse on your side. Inlaws can be difficult - only because their own life may have been difficult. Sometimes they can't understand your ideas or feelings, but they do respect marriage and they would never want you to leave their child.

Enjoy the country you are living in, even if you miss your homeland. If you miss your homeland or think you can't handle living in India anymore, realize that you are doing it for love. With love you can do anything - it doesn't concern nationalities or countries.

Never let anybody put you down or leave you behind - you are the wife. As the woman of the house, you need to show your presence. This can be a battle. Society will try to push you down or diminish you for being a woman - don't let them. Make yourself known through hard work, love and care. Never forget who you are.

Many Indian women are not even given the option of choosing anything for themselves - everything is chosen for them by elders. Some women feel like they don't have a right to an opinion of who or when to marry. Some women can be jealous that we chose our spouses and be understanding of that. But don't let anybody disrespect you for your decisions.

And the last thing I want to say is....YOU CAN DO IT!!!


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7 comments

  1. Aww, that's the sweetest love story ever, and these kids are really really cute !

    Last time we visited the Indian side of the family, our baby was 14 months and this time I got a bit scared by the hygene principles. Funnily enough, I noticed that my MIL seemed also a bit scared by my habits. In their house you can't drink the tap water and you have to take it from a tank in the neighbourhood. Later when a doctor explained to me germs from open air defecation fly everywhere in town, I was horrified. But it explains why they wash everything all the times and in several waters.

    Nevertheless I am amazed that everyone is strong and healthy in the family since they think it's useless to wash your hands with soap. I wonder if we don't overdo it with hygene in the West. In any case since that last visit to India, I don't totally freak out when the baby licks the floor in our house lol (Padparadscha)

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  2. You and your family are beautiful Maya :)
    I wish you all the best !!
    I am also deeply religious so I was just curious what deities do you have :D
    Divya

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  3. Nice lines but what about your father? You dont talk much about him.
    Do you feel more peruvian or indian now?
    Your husband knows Peru?
    Thanks

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  4. I am from Rajasthan, and it is extremely hot and yes dusty too because it is desert. People here are generally conservative. Life will be a little bit better if you can move to southern part of India, and you can ignore aunties' comments they speak 24*7 just to pass their time. even their own family members don't listen to their talks, so they are always in hunt for DILs. Good Luck and don't forget Rajasthan is sweets capital of India, enjoy thousands types of sweets and snacks.

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  5. i would like to point out that the women maya looks very indian. she looks like a garwali, from the state of uttrakhand in nortn india, which is a hill state. there are plenty of women in delhi who look exactly like her in delhi as garwalis have a sizable number in delhi.

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  6. Maya is so pretty and looks so good in Indian attire. I agree with anon before me--she definitely looks Indian :)

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