I met this one girl online years ago, though another website totally unrelated to this stuff. But by some strange coincidence in the past year or so, she met and got pretty serious with a Pakistani guy. He's a different kind of Pakistani than M, speaks a different language and from a totally different part of the country.
Well, now they've gone and gotten engaged.
I'm a little worried for her. I've begun to really like her, and I hope everything works out for the two of them, but I can't help but wonder if he's going to sabotage it all.
You see, he's very anti-Pakistani. She said he used to be a member of political parties and everything, and she thinks that he was pretty religious and pretty committed to Pakistani identity and political activism when he first went to Canada with his family. But now he's not. He's told her that Pakistan is "a wasteland" and that he doesn't ever plan to go back - probably not even to visit.
I think it can be a problem when anyone divests themselves from a culture they were born and raised in - living there until their late teens, no less! I wonder if this is just a stage, and whether the friend will be upset years or decades from now if he changes his mind in some way. What abot his children? What about his parents?
You see, I think my success in an inter-cultural relationship lies most in my enthusiasm for Pakistani culture, and M's enthusiasm in sharing it with me. I really love so much of it, and like including parts of it into my life. That enthusiasm has won over many a family member. It's also helped me gain some sort of comfort in Pakistani customs and situations as I've struggled to learn more and more. Every bit of knowledge I gained helped those benefits come quicker.
But of course, enthusiasm was just the key to MY success, it doesn't have to be theirs. She doesn't have to familiarize herself with any part of Pakistani culture - maybe they will be just as successful or even more so with their own formula for a cross-cultural relationship. But I still can't help wondering. What if this guy wakes up after 15 years of marriage, looks to his children whom he hasn't taught a lick of his language - and longs for the culture of his youth?
And I'm also worried for her. M did a lot to help me see what I was getting myself into before I decided to go down this path. If this guy is so anti-Pakistan right now, maybe she doesn't realize that some aspects of desi culture will probably come with the package.