Monday, November 8, 2010

More focus

I think that I want to revamp my blog and make it more focused. I started out writing so I could keep my family informed of my travels, and things have changed so much since those wanderlust days. For one thing, I got married to an India, had a baby and raising it in India, and in that I think I have enough material to be able to write for a lifetime.

I have so much stuff to talk about and to write about and I have decided that I want to do this more seriously, as I know there are a lot of blogs out there with gori girls writing about their desi lifestyle. To translate (basically it's western or fair skinned girls, married to South Asians).

I want to be more open without being offensive, and really talk about life here in India, life married to an Indian, raising a baby in not only a different culture but in a different religion (and even that is up in the air...what religion to raise Yasmine). Of course my husband wants her raised Muslim, and I am willing to do that with many stipulations. But more on that in another post.

The topics i really want to focus on are:
  • arranged marriages and "love" marriages
  • Islam and living as a non-Muslim in a Muslim family
  • Parenting in India (through my eyes)
  • day to day living; simple things made very difficult in a time challenged disorganized country
  • communication and cultural differences in a bi-cultural marriage (I feel like I can shed a lot of light here)
  • Food and trying to incorporate two food cultures in one marriage
The the list can go on and on....

But to do that I feel like I need to revamp my blog and change the title. I may be a wanderlust, but there is no more time or as much money to travel these days. I also am thinking about moving it to Word Press, I have heard it is much easier to use and easier to make it ready friendly.

Any suggestions from my well blogged friends? Any title suggestions?

I will stay tuned for more information as to how I plan to go about this. I may just completely revamp this blog....but I want it more focused, with more of a goal in mind.

I feel like I have a terrific opportunity to educate and keep people informed. I know that many people in Canada (and the US) have these pre-conceived notions about Muslims and India, and I want to shed light on certain things that hopefully will help people gain a better understanding. The media use so many scare tactics and paint very different pictures. But here I am in a position to educate and I want to take this amazing, scary, exciting and difficult experience and turn it into a chance to make a difference.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My mother-in-laws birthday and my first dinner party

It definitely was not planned, but I had my first family dinner party on Saturday night for my mother-in-laws birthday. Junayd and I were originally planning to buy fresh prawns and stay in with Yasmine and cook something fun. I have never cooked and cleaned fresh prawns before so this sounded like a challenge.

Our plans went out the window on Friday when my FIL reminded me that it was Junayd's mom's birthday the next day and that we should go over there for supper. Wow such a nice guy, inviting all us to his place, so his wife, whose birthday it is, can cook us dinner. LOL.
Junayd and I decided it would be better and easier to come to our place and we (I) will cook dinner. We also decided to invite close family friends of Junayd's who have 3 children ages 10, 8 and 4 (2 boys and a girl).

So Junayd bought 3 pounds of Prawns, and 2 pounds of beef and I set to cooking one Indian dish, and one Thai dish. I was so nervous, here I was cooking for 3 matriarchs (my MIL, our friend and her MIL) who have grown up cooking Indian food and I only just started. It was a pretty big feat.

Cleaning the prawns took the longest... I had never de-veined a prawn before, so it was interesting. Luckily Junayd did help me and after about 40 minutes we managed to clean all of them.
I made a beef dish that is cooked with this green leafy vegetable, and I never ever remember the name of it. It's like spinach, but not. We don't have it in Canada, but it is so tasty. Then I made spicy prawns in coconut milk.
I had told my guests to arrive at 630pm, knowing full well that they wouldn't arrive until about 730-8pm. The time thing here drives me crazy. My MIL and FIL arrived first and she was dressed so beautifully in a saree that I had bought her for Christmas. She just looked so happy to be honoured for her birthday and to be with her family.

The food turned out amazing! With the food I served fresh roti's and basmati rice to go with the prawns, and of course we had a small chocolate cake that was bought for my MIL. I got praised over and over again for the food, and not a drop of the Thai dish was left. Most Indians don't eat a lot of variety (international cuisines) so it was nice to introduce them to a new dish, although the spices were not too far off from Indian ones.

The best compliment of all was when my mother-in-law asked me for the recipe. Success!!

It was a really nice night and it was great to be with my other family. I think before I had really come to terms with living in India, I I never enjoyed being with my in-laws because I missed my own family so much, and felt almost guilty for enjoying being with them. However, it does not have to be one way or the other. I have my family and always will, but now I have an extended family and it's great to be able to have a support group here who loves me and Yasmine. I think I truly am lucky to have not only an Indian family but a Muslim one as well, who has accepted me and my beliefs and my culture so well. Sure there have been a few hiccups, and bumps and bruises on the way to this kind of relationship that we have now, but now it is comfortable and easy, and I am truly grateful for all the love I have in my life.