Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Intercultural Love: Ana & Akhil


This couple is a fabulous Mexican American-Punjabi mix who live in Texas and blend their cultures beautifully!


Introduction...
Hi, my name is Ana. I am a Mexican-American woman, married to a Punjabi Hindu man. I have lived most of my life in Houston, Texas. My husband’s name is Akhil, and he was born and raised in New Delhi, India. He came to the U.S to earn a Master’s Degree from Georgia Tech, then relocated to Houston for work, where we met and currently live.

Three words that describe you... 
Daydreamer, adventurous, passionate.

Favorite childhood memory...
Spending time with both of my maternal grandparents in Mexico. My grandmother would cook great Mexican food and take good care of me. My grandfather and I would take strolls around the park eating ice cream, and would call me his little queen in Spanish! Now that my grandfather is in Heaven and my grandmother’s health is on decline, I cherish those memories dearly close to my heart. 

Where/how do you feel most inspired?
I feel the most inspired when I'm by myself - it can be when I'm on my way home from work or when I'm walking my four-legged baby (doggie) Theo. I am inspired to become a better person

Where/how did you meet your spouse?
We met at a mutual friend’s party. We were both with our own friends. I looked his way...and he was already looking at me! I can honestly say that for me it was love at first sight. I gathered some courage and went over to talk to him. We exchanged phone numbers and have been inseparable ever since!

How long have you been together?
We have been together for three years. We met in August 2012, were engaged in May 2014 and married by January 2015!


What qualities do you admire in your spouse?
I really admire how determined he is. When he wants to accomplish something, he sets his mind to it and does it. He is also very hard-working. He is very loving - at times he will buy me flowers for no special reason! I also admire how calm and composed he always is.

Favorite memory together as a couple…
I have many! For one of our first road trips together we drove to Corpus Christi for a long weekend. During the drive we played music that each one of us liked, talked and laughed. We drove to the beach, walked around the shore, then sat down on a pier made of rocks. We kissed with the sounds of waves crashing in the background and the sun setting. At that moment I felt so complete - as if I needed nothing else in the world. 

What did you know about your spouse's culture prior to your relationship?
I was always attracted to the Indian culture before I met Akhil. Movies and books always made me wonder what India was like and always dreamt of traveling there. I loved the saris and jewelry the girls wore in the few Bollywood films I was exposed to. The first time I had Indian food was with him, and I was like “where has this been all my life?!

How did you tell your friends/family about your intercultural relationship?
My friends were a bit skeptical about our relationship. When my family met him - of course they were surprised - because I had never dated an Indian guy before and knew that there were many cultural differences between the both of us. But within a short amount of time, Akhil became a part of my family. His side of the family (thank God!)were also accepting of me. His mom, dad, sisters and entire family accepted me with open arms when we traveled to Delhi last year. Even though we are on the opposite side of the world, I make it my priority to communicate regularly with his family.


How has your relationship enlightened your life? How has it changed you & your outlook on life?
I have learned to be more patient with people. I am more grateful for what I have now - a family that loves me and my husband, good health, and a good job. I also feel like I have become more spiritual, I find myself talking to God more. Now that we are married and live alone, I have started cooking more at home. Akhil says he really likes the Mexican food I prepare for him, so that’s really encouraging! Now, I'm trying to learn to cook more Indian food.

Describe your wedding…
Our wedding in Houston was nice and simple. We had a court marriage and afterwards, we went to a church and temple to ask for blessings. We had a nice family dinner alongside family and friends. Our wedding in New Delhi was beautiful. We were surrounded by our closest family members...all four hundred of them! I had never even attended a wedding so big! It was lovely. His sisters and cousins helped me prepare, my Indian mom helped me remain calm and didn't let me get too overwhelmed. When I close my eyes, I can still smell the fragrance of jasmine and other flowers which decorated the venue. We had a the typical Hindu wedding ceremony, and even though I couldn't understand the priest, Akhil translated all for me. My big Indian wedding was like a dream!


What does being married mean to you?
Being married means that I have someone who completes and compliments me. He makes me stronger, loves me unconditionally, believes in me, and takes care of me when I am sick. He is the one who I share my dreams with, and the one I hope to grow old with. We have already shared so many beautiful moments together, I hope to God we have many more. 

What are your dreams for your future together as a married couple?
I want to learn Hindi and he wants to learn Spanish - slowly but surely we will get there! We would like to travel more, and maybe even work in a different country. We want to keep growing as a couple and prepare for the children we may have in the future. 


What positive cultural values do you bring to your relationship?
I would like to think that I have learned from the best - thanks to my grandmother I love to cook, my mom taught me how to be a good woman also how to keep a house clean, and my dad demonstrated that hard work pays off. 

In what ways have you adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
I love wearing saris, lehengas and kurtis. I wish I had more places to wear them here in the States! I love drinking a cup of chai in the evenings, and as I have previously stated I love Indian food. I love the smell of incense around the house when we burn it. I like being in India and every time I come home to Houston, I always miss it!


Has your family adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
My mom, dad and two younger brothers traveled to India for the first time for the our wedding. It was actually their first time on such a long flight (God bless them for loving me that much!). While they were in India, they visited the Taj Mahal and loved it. My parents and brothers got along really well with his side of the family, so that was great. My family was dressed in Indian attire for the wedding, and they looked super cute. They blended in so well that guests were coming up to them speaking in Hindi! My parents loved India so much and they would like to keep exploring other regions.

What aspects of your spouse's culture do you find difficult to embrace?
There are many formalities and guidelines which will take time for me to become familiar with. 

Name some cultural faux-pas that you have unknowingly committed...
I'm used to hugging most of my family or friends here in the U.S., but I quickly realized that a lot of people were not used to hugging too much, so that was a bit awkward! Also, I learned that I shouldn't smile or make too much eye contact with (strange) men in the streets, apparently that can be perceived incorrectly and can be an invitation for men to come talk to you. I also need a more thorough explanation of the protocols of when/whose feet to touch and get blessings when in India.


What's the best and the worst part of being in an intercultural relationship?
The best part of being in an intercultural relationship is that we never get bored with each other since there is always something to talk about, and to learn. We cherish the similarities between our cultures and love and respect our differences. We both have our beautiful motherlands which we can always travel to. The worst part of being in an intercultural relationship is definitely the language barrier. Sitting there like a lost piece of furniture sucks (him with my family when we speak in Spanish and for me when his family speaks in Hindi). Although, we try and encourage our families to speak in English when we both are spending time with them.

What are the biggest misconceptions about Americans? 
1. That we have no culture.
2. That everyone is overweight and unhealthy 
3. That only places like NYC, Vegas and California are fun, and cities like Houston are "boring"! There’s something to do in every city - you just have to do some research before you land.

Take-away advice for other intercultural couples...
Love and understanding is the most important part for an intercultural couple. If you both know this from the beginning, you will have a good relationship. Be patient and don't get discouraged by your differences, instead embrace them and learn from each other. 


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8 comments

  1. such a cute and happy couple!!!

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  2. So cute.
    So genuine.
    Such clear thoughts.
    So much love. God bless you both.
    Feels so proud to be friends with such beautiful people.
    Rab rakha. ����

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  3. Cute Couple! She looks very much like an Indian girl :)

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  4. Blessing for a happy life together Ana and Akhil. You are such a lovely couple.

    Melissa

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  5. Mexican looks Indian, Indian looks Mexican.

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  6. Sweet couple n awesome love story....jesus bless both of y

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  7. Cute couple awesome love story. .....jesus bless both of u

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  8. I love this, so, so much!!
    I've been dating a Punjabi guy for over year now, and knowing there is a successful relationship like mine (Mexican-Punjabi) out there, makes me believe everything is possible! He met my parents & I've met his. I'm really excited for whatever the future holds for us. Hopefully something as amazing as your story!

    ReplyDelete

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