Saturday, September 5, 2015

My Intercultural Love: Maddy & Agate

This beautiful couple is a Latvian-Indian mix who live together in India!

Hello! My name is Agate I am a Latvian girl. My husband’s name is Maddy and he is Indian. I am originally from Riga, capital of Latvia, but now for more than a year I have been living in India with my husband, his family and our guinea pig named Laddu! I write a blog called Latvian Mantra.

Three words that describe you...
Creative, Quiet, Caring. 

Where/how do you feel most inspired?
I feel that spending time in forests and in the mountains brings my love for life back every time I have been down. It rejuvenates me. 

Where/how did you meet your spouse?
We met online. He approached me with a tacky joke and I answered in the same manner. We both hit it off instantly!

How long have you been together?
We have been together for over 3 years. We married in November last year.

What qualities do you admire in your spouse?
Maddy is ambitious and hardworking. He doesn’t like when something is unfair. He is protective of his loved ones. He is a fun person, is not scared to make a fool out of himself just to cheer someone up. He is able to cheer me up even when I am in the worst of moods!

Favorite memory together as a couple...
Our first trip together to Himalayas in 2014. It also happened to be my first ever trip to the mountains. What made it even more special was that he proposed to me there!

What did you know about your spouse's culture prior to your relationship?
Nothing much, to be honest. I was one of those rare people that never wanted to even visit India. It just didn’t speak to me.

How did you tell your friends/family about your intercultural relationship?
We didn’t tell them for a long time. It feels weird telling someone that I have met someone online and I really like them, even though we haven’t met in person. I guess I was scared of being judged. Then I started telling my closest friends one by one. I was dreading telling my mother, but it just had to be done, so one day I just gathered my courage together and did it. I caught my mom off guard, but she processed all the information really quick and was very supportive. Once I had told everyone, then Maddy told his parents and friends as well.

How has your relationship enlightened your life? How has it changed you & your outlook on life?
This relationship didn’t come alone. It came along with me moving to India and living with his family. So it is hard for me to separate these things. It has been one whole experience. I have realized that I can adapt to more things than I ever thought and I am still learning to adapt. It’s a work in progress, which is being executed step by step. Back at home I have a really tiny family, whereas here it’s a typical Indian family with a lot of relatives. When I was younger I dreamed of having a bigger family and now I have it!

Who proposed and how?
He proposed in the small hilltop village of Dharamkot. He spontaneously bought a cheap ring there. At night when we were walking back to our guest house he suddenly went on one knee and proposed!

Describe your wedding...
We had a very small and quick traditional Hindu wedding ceremony - mainly for the visa purposes. We are hoping to have an event sometime in the future. 

What does being married mean to you?
Living a life for two. Whenever I do something I consider what WE as a unity would want, how WE would feel and how it would affect both of US. Also having someone to rely on for the rest of our lives and being someone that he will rely on.

What are your dreams for your future together as a married couple?
To build and expand our business to the point of a comfortable life for us and to be able to visit both our families whenever we want. 

What positive cultural values do you bring to your relationship?
I believe in making our surroundings as pleasurable as possible both in terms of making house more comfortable and cleansing our minds to make living more pleasurable - even through problematic situations. I have also brought my love for nature and animals. 

What do you do to keep your relationship alive? What kinds of things do you do to connect with your spouse?
We work from home, so we do pretty much everything together! In terms of bonding, we like to go for trips once in a while, sometimes we even take the car and just drive aimlessly around while listening to music. We also watch a lot of movies and TV series together.

In what ways have you adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
I have adopted a lot of it. We live in India, so most of my life goes according to Indian culture. Nevertheless, I am trying to not lose my own culture and my own values.

Has your family adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
They don’t follow any Indian rituals, but my mom really likes trying anything Indian. She wears all the Indian clothes and accessories I have given her! Also she likes trying Indian food, listening to Indian music and watching Bollywood movies and documentaries about India.

What aspects of your spouse's culture do you find difficult to embrace?
Being aware of what everyone else thinks about you. I would like to believe, that we have to live our lives for ourselves and our family, not others. We have to do what is going to make US happy, what WE are comfortable with. 

Name some cultural faux-pas that you have unknowingly committed...
I have touched feet of people that I didn’t need to touch! I have forgotten to touch feet of people whose feet I had to touch. I always need everything explained, so I ask questions about meaning of every action we execute. Other than that, I have not committed any major mistakes.

What was the most challenging time in your intercultural relationship?
The time before we met. It’s very challenging to trust someone you have never met. Wanting to be in someone’s life and not being able so is very hard, it can cause a lot of misunderstandings, jealousy and feelings of being left out. Also I was very scared that his family will be against us.

What's the best and the worst part of being in an intercultural relationship?
The best is that you get the best of both worlds. The worst is that you get the worst of both worlds. It’s simple as that!

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that people have about intercultural relationships?
That these relationships don’t survive - that people are in it just to experience something new. 
Also the usual “he wants a green card, he wants to immigrate to Europe, she is going to leave him, because she is white,” kind of stuff.

One thing I have noticed is that people from the side always think there must be something wrong with us if they chose to be in this relationship. Like we just weren’t able to marry in our own culture, so we married between cultures.

What are the biggest misconceptions about Latvian women?
Rarely anyone has heard of Latvia, so I just get the usual stereotypes of a European, Westerner or just a white girl. We are lazy, we don’t have family values, we cheat, drink, etc. Stereotypes are stereotypes. I understand where they come from and I know that we also have stereotypes about Indians. It’s a complicated war to fight.

Have you come across people who disapprove of your intercultural union? If so, how do you deal with them?
No one has told us anything to our faces, but I have heard rumors about us. It’s a devastating thing. No one deserves to be judged for their choices. There’s just this big black cloud around the topic of intercultural relationships. 

Take-away advice for other intercultural couples...
Being in an intercultural relationship is not the easy route, so it’s definitely not for the weak. But if you really want it, then stick to it and don’t give up! If you stick together through thick and thin you WILL come out as winners.

(All photos courtesy of Latvian Mantra)


  1. So sweet. A beautiful couple.

  2. Haha! I love the faux-pas, I did the same thing right after getting married :) I was confused whose feet to touch?


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