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We pushed forward, educating our families, and weathering the storms of new relationships (Are we exclusive or should we date other people), figuring out the mundane things about one another out (Movie preference — romantic comedy, action or independent film), favorite food (chicken curry or fried chicken), do you want kids (yes or no) and so many answers to our questions.Eventually, we worked it all out and decided to get married, four years after our first date.Embracing Sri Lankan parent-in-laws meant: I had received perhaps the one thing I was most fearful of — more family. Not because I felt like I had to but because I wanted to.When I said my marriage vows, it wasn’t just to Dinushka but to her family and culture, as Dinushka’s were to mine.But it was delicious and different and just right, so perfectly us.
I needed to think about her words, the statements she so carefully offered me in our exchanges, sometimes offering me crumbs of the life she remembered in Sri Lanka.What was growing was not something I had experienced before.Her voice, her expression, her experience was a new world and yet I connected with her authenticity, and I opened up about my life with her.I think it all hit me hard, the night of our wedding that I’d gained a large Sri Lankan family in addition to my own large African American family.Not only had I just married the woman of my dreams, but joining us were also an array of colorful (and sometimes verbose) Aunties and Uncles, some related by blood and many not.
Later that year, I found myself in my first college relationship with a woman who had the most beautiful red hair, a killer smile and eyes that made you believe you were the most important person in her world. It was indeed a pattern, this desire to date white women. In my relationships, I found a kind of social acceptance I didn’t often find elsewhere. Born in Sri Lanka during the height of the country’s civil war which began in 1983 and ended in 2009; her family fled their home country.