Tuesday, May 10, 2011

from Cleveland to Sydney: the Katarias' Visit

As far as guests go, Mickey's parents were two of the best when they visited for the month of February. They had hot and healthy dinners on the table when we came home from work, cleaned up often and didn't expect to be entertained extensively.

They'd come out to Sydney five years ago to visit extended family in the Blacktown area and, though they love the Australian branch of the Kataria clan, probably didn't imagine that they'd return to the land down under. It's a long journey from Cleveland and their issues with troublesome knees and backs don't make the hours across the Pacific very pleasant. Anyway, Mickey convinced them that waiting out a frigid Cleveland February in sunny Sydney with us was the way to go and booked their tickets after Christmas.

We truly enjoyed having them and learning some new tricks from each other. Mickey's mom bravely experimented with different gluten free flours until she found a roti equivalent that was acceptable for my consumption. Mickey in turn showed her how to use his favorite Christmas present, the tortilla press, to make fresh tortillas.

My in-laws taught me how to play Seep, a complicated Indian card game. I introduced them to Glee, which I don't think they cared for. We all learned a bit more about what doulas are when Estee unceremoniously announced her pregnancy while brunching on Indian food at our house. Indeed, the visit was enlightening.

One anecdote that will stick with me involves the barbeque that the Aussie Katarias hosted out in Blacktown. I'll preface it by saying that Mickey and I disagreed about what sort of relationship we should have to alcohol during his parents' visit. They don't drink and that's fine with me. I would never disrespect their home by drinking alcohol there. I figured that when they're in my home, though, I should be able to have a glass of wine now and then. Mickey doesn't see matters exactly this way, but we'll leave it there.

Anyway, no Aussie barbeque is complete without lots of grog: beer, wine, whatever. The Blacktown Katarias know this and offered me a glass of wine during our visit. I said I'd have one if they were opening a bottle. Well, they opened a bottle... served me a glass... and closed the bottle. No one else had any wine. As if the white, American wife who doesn't speak Punjabi and cannot eat bread didn't stick out enough at this party, my lonely glass of wine confirmed my outsider status. It was terribly awkward, but really funny, too.

I'll admit I was a bit daunted by the month-long visit with the in-laws, but when dropping them off at the airport, I grew sort of teary. Mickey's mom said something to the effect of, 'don't stay here, move back,' in a way that wasn't delicate, but was absolutely sincere. They don't want to have to travel 24 hours to see us and I can't blame them.

We'll most likely take her advice and move back at some point, but I hope her visit provided her with a glimpse of what keeps us in Sydney for now.

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