I expected this visit with the family to be just like any other, but ended up staying for a very long time! I arrived in the late afternoon and asked the children if they needed help with their homework. After working on math problems for about a half hour, Samikchhya (the youngest girl) asked me if I wanted to go in the basement and play with their chalkboard. I never knew they had a chalkboard! I was excited to practice english with her and play “school,” where I would act as the teacher to help her with homework problems.
She and I practiced a few math problems on the board, though I caught her cheating by looking at a multiplication table a few times. Then, Samir (the youngest boy) and Tula (the oldest girl) joined us. We played “Tic Tac Toe” and “Hangman” on the board. We also practiced writing our names normally and in cursive. I showed them how to write a few other words, too, such as “love” and “family.” Tula surprised me when she revealed that she knows many poems and quotes about love, and wrote a few on the board. They were odd, though. One was, “The sky is blue, your love is true. Grass is green, your love is clean” and went on a few more lines that I don’t remember. She recited a couple other short ones, such as “Your love is like a rose” and “True love never dies.” I asked her if she had a boyfriend, and she responded, “Ohh no no no.” I found it interesting that she knows little english, but knows many love phrases.
Just as I was considering heading home, they invited me to stay for dinner. It ended up being a delicious meal of vegetables and rice that I actually enjoyed. As soon as I finished, the three girls pulled me upstairs to their bedroom to show me their computer. They asked me if I could create e-mail addresses for them. I did, and gave them my e-mail address. I also showed them how to use Google.
The middle daughter, who is thirteen, always asks me beauty questions. She once asked me where she could buy colored contacts to make her eyes blue. I discouraged her from the thought, telling her that her eyes look good as they are and that contacts are an unnecessary hassle if you don’t need them to correct your vision. This time, she asked me where she could go to get her hair permanently straightened so it would be straight like mine. I explained to her that not only is the process expensive, but would be damaging to her beautiful hair. Her insecurities are understandable, though, because she is at a transitioning age from childhood to womanhood. I worry that she may feel too much pressure from American media to change the way she looks.
At the end of the night, the girls were begging me to sleep over, which I politely declined. I feel that I bonded with the family, especially the three girls, more than I ever have on a visit. It was a great experience.