This was a pivotal turning point that was months in the planning that I was determined to make…the dreaded meet the parents meet-up. Except for me the dread was magnified by a billion. I was going up against a mother who had no idea I was coming (thanks Mr. Nelli and Nelli Jr.!) and was severely depressed ever since the news that her first born son wasn’t with an Indian. I think I was determined because I wanted to prove that I was here to stay but I was also excited to meet the rest of the family.
Yeah the rest of the family. Brother and Brother’s Wife and Brother’s Wife’s Parents. Brother and Brother’s wife were excited but they were mainly preoccupied with taking care of the parents and in-laws. It was the parent’s first trip to the US and the Brother’s wife would be cooking all their meals….damn. I was getting a feel for the brother’s wife and I was really feeling like I should up my homemaking skills.
Anywho, these were my thoughts as I hopped off the plane and into the rental car for the gazillion hour trip to the mountain to meet the Nelli clan. I don’t remember much about the ride probably cause I was asleep but I know we arrived very late. We didn’t have cell service so we hoped that when we got to the lodge the clan would be there to greet us. As we got further up the mountain I noticed snow. I was wearing capris (I never wear capris) that me and Nelli meticulously picked out at Marshalls to ensure they were conservative-Indian-parent-appropriate and I was regretting my clothing choices from all fronts.
When we finally got there I remember walking across the parking lot to the front of the lodge entrance and it feeling like a marathon. I wasn’t nervous..maybe a little anxious cause we were late. We walked in and I saw the only Indian family of 6 at the exhibit rush over to greet us. Mr. Nelli was the first one to greet me and he seemed genuinely excited and giddy…he was precious and so was Nelli’s brother Raj. Raj’s wife Seema was also very warm and her parents were polite.
Then came Mama Nelli: her hands stayed clasped together and she said nothing but continued to stare at me like something was going to come out of her mouth. Unfortunately, all that came out were watery eyes and a look of disbelief that I had appeared in the flesh (see first paragraph). Everybody saw the look and we quickly hurried out of the lodge to the cars for lunch as I walked out with a lump in my throat. The Nelli clan huddled in their car and Seema dutifully dolled out the lunches and snacks to everybody. Me and Nelli headed to our own car which was the first of many detachments my boyfriend would do over the weekend. As we’re eating, I hear sobbing coming from the Nelli clan car. Great. Mama Nelli is now crying hysterically and being consoled by the In-laws on “You should be happy for Nelli” and “It’s ok that she’s not Indian” all the while probably thanking Vishnu that their daughter married a brahmin NRI (non resident indian) engineer. It was surprising and kinda sweet though that these really conservative in-laws said that.
From that awesome meeting we didn’t waste any time on activities and went straight up the mountain on snowshoes. I couldn’t believe Mr. Nelli and the in-laws made it as far as they did (Mama Nelli made a good attempt and then proceeded to head back to the lodge). There was a lot of hiking and waterfalls and more hiking – thank god I was in semi-shape back then. Not your typical Coming to America trip (i.e. New York, Chicago, LA, SF, Vegas) but hey we love out doorsy stuff. There was a lot of picture taking and Mr. Nelli loved posing, it was kinda hilarious. He was definitely having a good time.
Seema ran a tight ship and we had a full blown itinerary each day, meals included which was so impressive. I wonder if they got charged extra because by the end of the stay the hotel room smelled so heavily of spices from the mini kitchen Seema had fashioned from a crock pot, canned food, rice, etc.
Meal time was SO awkward because everyone was not speaking in english and Nelli had given up translating a long time ago so he just looked at his phone most of the time…ugh. That was addressed later. I didn’t want to look rude so I pretended to look attentive. I was kinda miserable. Raj was nice and talked to me and he was hilarious with his stories from his experiences living on the virgin islands. As the long weekend progressed, Mama Nelli did ask how I slept and even one day, offered me a banana! Progress. However, this excitement was short lived because everytime I was served dinner, I seemed to get twice the helpings everyone else got. skinny problems. During the end of the trip, Mama Nelli hugged me goodbye and said something insincere that I don’t even remember…I think “I’m glad you’re with Nelli”
And there you have it. the unapologetic, un-cut, raw, honest recap of how my first meeting with Mr. and Mrs. Nelli went. Nelli told me not to expect much and he sure wasn’t kidding. 10 years from now I will look back at this post and think how far we have come but today is not that day. LOL.