Saturday, January 30, 2016

My Intercultural Love: Sid & Andrea

This fabulous couple is a Mexican/Sindhi-Bengali mix who live in Mexico together!

I am *AndreA*. Even though nobody ever believes me, I am Mexican (parents/ grandparents ALL Mexican). I was born in Mexico City but I grew up in Guadalajara, where we currently live. 

My husband, Sid, was born in Mumbai; from a Sindhi father and Bengali mother. So he already had a very intercultural background even before marrying me! =)

We have a 5-year-old daughter, Bella, who is a superb mixture of the 2 of us and an authentic —multilingual, Hindu/Catholic, world traveler— global citizen. 

I recently started writing a blog, Indian by Serendipity, where I tell my story in my intercultural crazy family and other travel adventures. 

Three words that describe you…
Idealistic, Adaptable, Unpredictable.

Favorite childhood memory…
Christmas mornings were the most magical day of the year for me (my birthday being next in line!). I used to be so excited to see what presents Santa Claus brought for me that I had trouble sleeping the whole week before! On Christmas day, I would wake up at around 5:30 am, try to wake up my sister and brother (fail at it), go peek in the living room, come back, try to sleep some more, (fail at it) try to wake someone up to come open presents with me (someone had to share the joy and be a witness that I took only the presents that said MY name! Ha ha!). At around 7:30am someone would surrender and follow me! Excitement pouring through my veins I would run and start opening gifts like a crazy girl. After that I would play all day long with my new toys, refusing to interrupt even to take off my pajamas! I loved the mystery, the fantasy and the joy of having my dreams (whatever I asked for!) come true in that morning! 

You want to know the funniest thing? I still experience the same excitement by creating all the mystery and magic for daughter! I want to make sure that she will cherish Christmas mornings as one of her own childhood happiest memories. 

Where/how do you feel most inspired?
In an open air place… waking up in a new city knowing that adventures await! 

Where/how did you meet your spouse?
In the Celebrity Solstice. We were both on-board cruise ship photographers. 

How long have you been together?
7 years.

What qualities do you admire in your spouse?
His loyalty, equanimity and patience. He is almost as opposite in personality to me as it gets and I love the balance that creates in our relationship. 

Favorite memory together as a couple...
I have many sweet ones, but the most hilarious was when the ship left Tortola without us! Tortola is a tiny island in the Caribbean, we had gone to the beach so we had NOTHING with us, no credit cards, nothing! Fortunately they let the Pilot boat take us to the ship. The waves didn't allow the boat to come close to the pier so we had to jump on TOP of it! When we reached the ship they threw a rope ladder down and we had to climb up! Our Manager was taking photos of the whole scene and laughing at us. At the moment it was one of the most stressful and scary situations I’ve experienced! It’s been really funny to remember!

(Us on the pilot boat!)

What did you know about your spouse's culture prior to your relationship?
Almost nothing! The first time I had contact with any Indians was when I went for my ship training in Miami. Before that, I had only heard of Curry, but wasn’t even sure what it was! Ha ha ha! Working on the ship I made a lot of Indian friends, and I was intrigued by their culture and their personality. Then they introduced me to Bollywood and I was hooked! 

How did you tell your friends/family about your intercultural relationship?
At first I don't think they took it very seriously. Ship life has a way of making things look like they belong to an alternate dimension. People come and go so fast. Every single week you say goodbye to someone you had started to care about. 

When I told them: “I am going to live in India” they freaked out! My friends have always known that I’m crazy and adventurous. But my family is very conservative. So they didn’t approve. I guess the scariest thing for them is the thought that if you marry someone from the other side of the world, then they’ll never see you again. Besides they knew nothing of India except what they hear about in the news: the poverty, the diseases, terrorism, dirt and pollution. That has been the biggest challenge for me​ and what inspired me to start my blog​! To show them the other side of India: the beauty, the richness of the culture, the highest quality human beings I’ve met there, the history, architecture, movies, and the delicious food. 

How has your relationship enlightened your life? How has it changed you & your outlook on life?
It has opened my mind. Having a close relationship with someone that comes from such a different culture has made me realize that ultimately we are all just human beings with our own motivations/dreams/fears trying to make the best of this life - and all that matters is being kind to each other and not judging.

Who proposed and how?
He proposed in our favorite restaurant in the Yeoor Hills in Mumbai. We love that place because you are all surrounded by nature. It’s very quiet and romantic (which is a challenge to find specially in Mumbai!). We finished a lovely dinner and the day before we had watched the movie: “Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani" so, knowing that I would understand without further ado he just popped the question: “Would you like to be my life partner?”. 

The most meaningful of it all, to me, was when I saw the ring… It has the shape of the “star”, like the ones I use in my name!! One day I’ll tell you the story behind them, but it ​melted my heart that he searched and searched for that ring to have​ a​ deeper meaning ​just ​for me. 

Describe your wedding…
It was a very small private wedding, we decided not to do a religious ceremony so we had just the court wedding.

What does being married mean to you?
Being married means sharing everything. It means that you have someone who is as excited or scared about your future as you are because it’s theirs as well. Being married is seeing life with 4 eyes + 2 brains with completely unique visions of the world and making sense out of it together.

What are your dreams for your future together as a married couple?
We want to grow our online business, travel all around the world, and give our daughter the best education possible. 

What's the best marital advice that you received from elder family/friends?
The 2 most important messages I got in our Wedding Signature Book were these:

Decide to love again every single day. Decide to love each other even when it hurts, even when you don’t feel like it or when you think you can’t. Because the 
​secret of a Happy Life is learning to forget about yourself to make the other one happy”. M.O.

Life has got the strangest ways to get us together. Sometimes things are not easy but what matters is making the best of what we have. Love is always something you have to fight for, specially when you have the type of love that is real, magical and defies most things. I’m glad you found each other in the right time and place. Appreciate that, not everyone has that chance.” F.D. 

What positive cultural values do you bring to your relationship?
Resilience, a joyful disposition, warmth. 

What do you do to keep your relationship alive? What kinds of things do you do to connect with your spouse?
This is very different before and after having a kid. Before kids: we used to travel and go out to restaurants/coffee shops a lot! After kids: one night a week we dedicate it just for talking, once in a while we go out for breakfast some place new. We also love watching movies/tv series together! 

In what ways have you adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
I got used to drinking Chai - before I only liked black coffee. I love Indian food (as long as it’s not too spicy!). Around 70% of my wardrobe are kurtis! 

Has your family adopted aspects of your spouse's culture?
Not really, they live too far away. The only thing I can think about is that my mother has incorporated ginger and turmeric in her diet, as my MIL recommended them to her for their health benefits. And my MIL has started drinking green juice in her breakfast! Does that count? 

What aspects of your spouse's culture do you find difficult to embrace?
The extremely conservative traditions, the “fasting” festivals, the chauvinistic attitudes...basically whatever someone tries to impose on me just for being a woman, a wife, or a foreigner. 

Name some cultural faux-pas that you have unknowingly committed...
I am very respectful of other cultures and I always do a lot of research before I visit a place. So I don’t recall any particular culture blunders...It’s never too late to create one though! Ha ha!

What I can tell you is that they all make so much fun of my accent whenever I try to speak in Hindi! It beats me how can G/GH, K/KH, J/JH all sound so different!! haha Honestly! So one day I wanted to eat one type of cracker called “Khakra” and instead I said “Kachra” (which means ‘trash’). You can imagine the laughter it provoked! 

What was the most challenging time in your intercultural relationship?
Before getting married, being far away fighting with bureaucracy, waiting for visas… It was very exasperating! I remember thinking: How can it be that complicated in this century to get married to whomever you want? How can our future hang depending on governments like this

What's the best and the worst part of being in an intercultural relationship?
Best: It’s always interesting, never boring!
Worst: Having to deal with the international bureaucracy!

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that people have about intercultural relationships?
That the only reason someone would get into that kind of complication is out of a hidden interest (like getting a green card or something like that).Or that it’s very difficult to have a relationship with someone so different from you.

What are the biggest misconceptions about Mexican women?
That we are submissive, and look-wise we must be short, and have dark skin, dark eyes, dark hair. Oh, and maybe ​ride​ a donkey and wear a sombrero/poncho? Ha ha!

Have you come across people who disapprove of your intercultural union? If so, how do you deal with them?
Actually, nope. Or maybe I have, I just didn't care about their opinion… Thank God, everyone dear to us has been great about it! Our families are more preoccupied about the distance from each other’s country than anything culture/religion related. 

Take-away advice for other intercultural couples… 
Be patient and open minded at all times! Always understand that the other person sees things completely different from your ​point of ​view. Being aware of this helps understand them, figure out how to deal with it and not overreact. 

Also, patience, selflessness and adaptability will help you through almost anything.



  1. “Decide to love again every single day. Decide to love each other even when it hurts, even when you don’t feel like it or when you think you can’t. Because the secret of a Happy Life is learning to forget about yourself to make the other one happy”. M.O.
    So true!

  2. what a cute family !


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