Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Intercultural Love: Katelyn & Kavi


This young couple has already been together for 5 years and are only 20! True love is ageless...


Introduction....
My name is Katelyn and I am American, from Virginia. My partner is Kavi, and he is American and Sri Lankan. We share one kitten together, Hamilton! 

Three words that describe you...
Quiet, creative, family-oriented.

Favorite childhood memory...
Summers in my grandparents home as a child. I have tons of little cousins, and one younger sister. All of my aunts and uncles would bring everyone to the house to celebrate from Memorial day to Labor day! We had all kinds of food, pool activities, and fireworks for the really big holidays. 

Where/how do you feel most inspired?
Currently, I feel most inspired at my University. I am surrounded by professors and teachers who are doing exactly what I want to do in my future. Knowing that they were able to be successful gives me hope in my own future.

Where/how did you meet your partner?
We went to the same high school. Our freshmen year we were in the same Latin class together. We started talking through a mutual friend, and it's been us together ever since! (Ironically, I now major in Classics— Latin, in College). 

How long have you been together?
We began dating our freshmen year of high school, so about 5 years now. 

What qualities do you admire in your partner?
He has dreams to the moon and back. No matter what, nothing will stop him from doing what he wants. When we were in high school he wanted to be an astronaut, so as soon as it was time to plan on higher education, he started training for the Air Force. He pushes himself in every way, and I couldn't admire him more for it. 

Favorite memory together as a couple...
For senior year of high school, we went on a school trip to London. London is where I found my dream job and absolutely fell in love with the city, as well as travelling abroad without my family for the first time. Being able to go on that trip with him made our future seem much more real and tangible. We saw that city for the first time together, and I knew it would be the beginning of many firsts together. 


What did you know about your partner's culture prior to your relationship?
When we first met, I didn't realize how different our cultures would be, and the distance it would put in our relationship. As we began dating, it became obvious the obstacles we would face when we discovered just how serious his parents were about us not dating. 

How did you tell your friends/family about your intercultural relationship?
We dated all throughout high school with my family fully in the know, and his on the periphery. After a semester of college, I decided that we needed to tell his family. He told them, and they were definitely put off at first. It is still quite slow, but now that we are older, things are much more serious and they understand more. 

 How has your relationship enlightened your life? How has it changed you & your outlook on life?
Everyday with Kavi allows me to grow with knowledge. My life before him was much of the same type of cultural situations and almost made me ignorant to how a lot of the world operates. He has introduced a new type of culture into my life that opens my eyes to the struggles that many relationships struggle with when it comes to love and life in general. While there are struggles with cultural stereotypes and what not, the insight into his culture is the most interesting. Whether it be the foods, languages, or fashion sense, it’s all new and different to me. A lot of what I have experienced with him allows me to grow into a more cultured human being, and it is all thanks to him.


What are your dreams for your future together as a couple?
At this point, it is to further my relationship with Kavi’s family! We are still waiting to be a little bit older to fully introduce me into his family, but I look forward to that time very much! Being a young couple, we do have big dreams - marriage, dealing with being in the Air force, but first and foremost, getting through college and graduating!

What positive cultural values do you bring to your relationship (from your own culture)?
I like to think I bring a sort of open-mindless to our relationship. We have waited a long time for our relationship to be taken seriously, and very few are willing to take that time (as slow as it might be). My family absolutely loves Kavi, no matter what, as I do with him and his family. To be able to see past stereotypes is a quality that I believe I have, because in the end, we are both the same type of people. It is only our cultures that make us slightly different. 


What do you do to keep your relationship alive? What kinds of things do you do to connect with your partner?
We love to do new things and adventure around where we live. Whether it’s trying new foods, cooking our own foods, meeting new people, or seeing a new place, we are all for it. There are hard times obviously, but everyday is something new for us. Kavi is in the Air Force ROTC program at our college, and there are always new events going on, so we love to go to those. While doing new things is exciting, I think we connect most when we are just at home in each others company (and sometimes interrupted by our kitten, Hamilton). Days off relaxing are something we cherish and look forward to in our schedule; being able to ignore everything else in the world and focus on each other for a few hours. 

Name some cultural faux-pas that you have unknowingly committed...
As soon as I told my family about Kavi’s situation (his family being very forbidding of our relationship) my family were instantly turned off (in some ways, of him as well). I think the fact that they so easily judged him to follow those same stereotypes was difficult, and at times I found myself thinking what they did as well (should I keep waiting, is it worth it, will they ever accept me for me?). In the end, I knew that what his family thought about me didn't matter, and it was our relationship and love that would be the biggest proof to both his family and mine. 

What was the most challenging time in your intercultural relationship?
The past year has definitely been the hardest in our entire relationship. Kavi’s mother passed away very suddenly, and it took the biggest toll on our relationship. The idea that she may have not approved of me, is something that will always be in the back of my mind, and he admitted to as well. This is a worry that anyone would have with such an unknown end to thoughts like it. He has two older sisters that helped him a lot, assuring him that she would only want the best for him. That thought occurs a lot, but I try not to dwell on the unknown.


What's the best and the worst part of being in an intercultural relationship?
The best part of our intercultural relationship is the new traditions that I'm learning about every day. The merging of our cultures brings about a new culture, one that mixes his and mine and something that I imagine will not be quite so "intercultural" in the future, because I see more and more intercultural relationships out and about. 

One bad feature of an intercultural relationship, at least in our case, is the not knowing of what our future may hold. We are coming to an age that we can decide for ourselves, but because we are both very family-oriented, we want to please everyone around us, and that may be difficult with the outside pressures. 

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that people have about intercultural relationships?
When we first started dating, my **white** friends, would comment on the fact that I was dating someone darker, and well, not white. In my eyes, there was no difference between Kavi and Brad Pitt. Both extremely attractive, smart, and an exciting person. Skin color is something that I don’t see, because I don’t filter it in my mind. Everyone is the same, whether I am the color of a white piece of paper or he is the color of a delicious brownie! Just because he is one color doesn't mean he has to date the same, and just because I am white doesn't mean I have to date my same color either. 

What are the biggest misconceptions about American women?
As an American, many other cultures think, especially as a woman, that I cannot be trusted with a man. All I want is the richest man, to take their money and then divorce them. 

Take-away advice for other intercultural couples...
Don’t ever let others' opinions affect how you feel about a person. If you are in love, or even like someone of a different culture, you have every right to fall for them. And when you do fall for them, fall for them hard, and push until the very end.


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3 comments

  1. A very lovely couple! All the best to them.

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  2. Such a sweet couple with pure smile :))) so cute together!

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  3. This was posted about a year ago. I would love to hear about any updates? I also started my relationship young!

    ReplyDelete

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