Instant Family

B (my husband) and I recently made it back to the States from our first big trip together. It was a very big trip, full of a lot of “firsts” for me. It was my first time on an airplane, my first time out of the States, and my first time really travelling with my husband, and my first time meeting my in-laws in person. I think all of those things make this trip a pretty big deal.

Our trip went like this:

  1. Charlotte, NC
  2. New York City, NY
  3. Moscow, Russia
  4. Dubai, UAE
  5. Stayed in Dubai for over a week
  6. Delhi, India
  7. Kolkata, India
  8. Stayed in Kolkata for around two weeks
  9. Accidental stay in Delhi for four days
  10. London, England
  11. Newark, NJ
  12. New York City, NY
  13. Charlotte, NC
  14. Home Finally!

It was a whirlwind! We stayed with B’s sister and her family while we were in Dubai and at his parents’ house while we were in India. Before the trip, I was a little anxious to see what it would be like to stay with two families I had never spent time with before. I also felt a little pressure to make a good impression because B and I got married in the US without me meeting his family in person. Also, knowing we would be staying with these people for a week or more, not just a few days, made things even more interesting. There were a million things going through my mind while we were planning the trip and as the journey began.

Luckily for me, Skype exists! If it wasn’t for Skype, I think our first few days at each destination would have been very awkward and strained. I am very thankful for this service, and it’s free (if you don’t use it to call phones)! While B and I were only dating, I “met” all of his family members via Skype. Sometimes the language barrier made conversations a little difficult, but we were able to interact with each other to a certain extent. When we told his family we were going to get married, they were happy for us (and happy to have there 30+ year old son finally married…) and things were as good as they could be, given the half-a-world-away distance. Since we have been married, we’ve tried to Skype with his parents at least weekend or every other one. Obviously, there are limitations to this type of communication, but sometimes you just have to take what you can get. So, we waited for our trip where we could meet instead of “meet”.

When we came out of the airport in Dubai, B’s sister, her husband, and a family friend were waiting for us. I was so excited to physically be in their presence. It felt like I had been waiting forever to meet this tiny lady who had influenced B so much. We all hugged and B began talking with them (in Bengali, of course) and we loaded up in her car. As the next couple of days came, the thing that surprised me the most was that I instantly felt like I was with family. I think I unknowingly expected to feel like an outsider, at least to some extent. But I didn’t. I felt like I was a part of a family and that I belonged with them. The hospitality, late night beers and conversations, and time spent together talking about real things felt like family. We didn’t have to spend the first few days awkwardly asking the typical “get-to-know-you” questions. The same thing happened when we made it to India and met B’s dad, mom, and other sister. We immediately were able to spend time together as a family, not as a family with an extra white girl hanging out. It was such a relief, I can’t even explain it all.

The whole experience didn’t feel like a “Oh, it’s nice to meet you” thing, but a “Oh, it’s nice to see you again” thing. It was so refreshing to feel like I was actually with family while I was in brand new countries. I could not have asked for it to have been better.