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ali long legs

Posted Nov 24 2010 6:18pm
I have, it turns out, the longest legs in Fiji.

Don't ask me how I know this. You'd get a long, rambling story involving too-short pants at every single shop in town, coupled with a shopkeeper, a tape measure, and a look of pure astonishment. What it all boils down to is the fact that my legs are a good two inches longer than anyone's she's measured before.

If you don't believe me, I submit this photo as proof. This is me with a collection of my new Fuas, the Hindi word for Aunties from my father's side. I am the giant in the back, the white one, and I'm actually crouching just a little, if you can believe it. (To be fair, the picture was taken after a huge meal of dal and potato curry and fresh, hot roti, and the crouching might actually have a little to do with the fact that it's hard to stand up straight after you eat that much.)

Fiji so far has been all about family. When the HoJ and I got married, I understood that we were marrying into each others' families, but because we live on a ship in Africa, that didn't seem to mean much. Having landed on this little island in the middle of the Pacific, I'm discovering a different story.

Marrying the HoJ means that there is now a whole new network of people to whom I'm connected, people I didn't grow up with, people I don't really know. It's slightly daunting, especially since, for the first time, I'm actually realizing that I've married into a different culture. In Africa, on the ship, neither of us had the luxury of being in a place that was anything like where we'd come from, so we forged our own little world. Here in Fiji, I've been dropped into the middle of a world that holds no history for me. I have no childhood memories of these new Aunties, no context in which to place them, and it's all a little disconcerting for someone who comes from a family rich in memories and rife with context.

I know I'm not unique; everyone goes through this when they get married, I'm sure. The first steps in a new family can't be easy for anyone, and I'm so blessed to have the Husband of Joy by my side. He seems bent on proving that he's worth his title, whispering translations in my ear when the conversations lapse into Hindi, reminding me yet again the name of a relative I've forgotten, and providing the background I'm lacking because I only joined this clan a year and a half ago.

All that being said, I'm going to go take advantage of one of the perks of cross-cultural marriage. I can smell the garlic wafting from the kitchen, which means that my mother-in-law is cooking up yet another incredible feast, so I'm going to sign off and try to learn some of her magic. Because the task of sorting through a hundred new relatives doesn't seem nearly so daunting with a belly full of roti and dal .

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