Lately, my partner and I have seen our family in more social situations, and it has been fascinating to watch how they interact. Granted, we always see them as socialites in their own home, hosting the multitudes of people that filter in and out of their front door, but this is all in the comfort of their own homes. It’s been nice to get them out of the house into a more American social setting. It’s allowed me to not only view them as fully rounded individuals, but also to spotlight perhaps their inhibitions and what social situations they are uncomfortable with in America, in hopes to help them overcome their fears.
The first real situation that we saw them in outside of their house was the Halloween Party at Loyola. It was on the walk there that I realized that one of the big impediments to the family’s socializing is the mother’s “bad leg”. She limped all the way from the morse station to Loyola. I think this is one thing that normally keeps the family inside the house, but I don’t think she wanted to disappoint us in not going, so she suffered the walk there. Once there though, the family lit up. Yes, it was an American social setting, but the great attendence of other Nepalis helped ease their social inhibitions. They seemed to know everyone, laughing and running around doing crafts and dressing up in costumes. It was almost like we were the outsiders, which was pretty cool. It was one of the main things that made me feel like the Party was a success. I realized that in Nepal, these people that have been kind of secluded in their home in America, were probably extremely social people. I think it was good for me to see that.
The second social situation I saw them in was the next day when my partner and I took the kids trick or treating in Dumbach. I’m not sure if it was just because it was a new concept for them, and that was intimidating, or the fact that they couldn’t speak the language of the people handing out the candy, but they became extremely shy when walking through the building. There was some congestion at the end of the hallway, and the kids completely stopped in their path. My partner and I unknowingly kept walking, and when we stopped, they were standing ten feet behind us, cowering away from the crowd. I never realized that trick or treating could be so intimidating. But I suppose, that if I was surrounded by a bunch of people that didn’t speak my language, in a completely new situation, I would be pretty shy too. This just reassured me that we need to continue not only introducing the family to new cultural experiences, but also just try to get them out into very simple American social situations…like just going to get ice cream. Also, I learned that if I feel like something might be slightly overwhelming, then it might be a good idea to have the kids bring friends. I feel like if they have other Nepalis with them, an intimidating situation can become a fun social opportunity.