Wednesday, August 30

On Being A Spoiled Brat

I honestly think a lot of us first or second generation immigrants, particularly from the Indian Subcontinent, have a higher than average tendency to become spoiled brats at home.

So, inshaa'Allah, within eight hours, my family and I are supposed to be on a ten-hour road to help me move back out to Minneapolis for school. Everything, except this computer and another load of laundry that I have yet to do, is packed and in/on our minivan.

I spent all day finding the boxes that I mostly didn't bother opening since I moved back out here for the summer. Seasonal allergies and being in the garage actually went better than I expected. My dad came home from work and we loaded everything before sunset.

Yesterday, my mom cooked a whole dish of beef curry. By "whole dish," I actually mean an entire pressure cooker full. She called from work this morning, before I had eaten breakfast, and as is routine, explained that everything is in the fridge...only in much more detail I've drowned out for so many years that I honestly can't remember these details. This daily instruction over the phone has been since she began working when I was in high school. Strange thing is, I live on Honey Nut Cheerios, pasta, spinach, baked fish filet and fresh fruit--yep, that's almost exactly all I really consider "my food." Basic foods I'm comfortable preparing myself. And this has been since before I entered high school. So, as it has been, even while I'm out at college, I let her instruct with all the details she wants, and then do whatever it was that I had already intended. This isn't as chaotic as it sounds, as sometimes, I wake up thinking, "Watch news and eat a bowl of cereal." Then she'll call and tell me for a good five minutes that "my organic milk" is in the fridge...that I should look to see if the date's expired before using it...that I need to make sure I always check expiration dates before eating any food, especially when I'm out at college...that there's cereal...that I should eat it with milk...that I should eat a banana...that I always end up wanting to eat bananas after they've either spoilt or been eaten by everyone else...that potassium is necessary for girls...that I should eat an egg...when was the last time I had one?...milk, eggs, and bananas are necessary, or else I'll I going to eat right when I'm out at college?...she doesn't think exactly do I plan on eating when I'm out there?...And this is where I usually come back to the conversation to say, as if to have agreed to her instructions, "Okay, I'll have some cereal." I let her have her closing statements, until she's done. And this, everyday--despite the fact that I'm almost 21 years old and have never fainted from anything. Al Hamdulillah.

So everytime I leave home for college (including returning from Winter Break), my mom packs tuna kabobs, chicken curry, beef curry, steamed rice, and biryani in little Ziplock bags to take with me. She usually does this a week in advance, so she has time to freeze it and it won't melt during my trip. As far as rice, I think I have a decent grasp on it thanx to my rice cooker. The other stuff...let's just say that it ends up staying in my freezer for 8 to 12 months. She's one of the best cooks I've ever known, masha'Allah, but I like my fresh fruits and bland diet much better because this is what I ate even when I did live at home. I guess many college kids return to visit their parents and tell them that they've missed "home cooking" so much, etc. And naturally, my mom assumes that I am like them.

In addition to this pressure cooker amount of beef curry, she stopped by the grocery store after work today and picked up chicken filets and stuff I can only distinguish by smell--as opposed to being able to identify by name. She began cooking as though we were having guests over later...then I saw her grilling the 20 or so chicken filets. Suddenly, I realized this was all supposed to go with me. You see, yesterday, on our way back from a doctor's visit, I asked to stop at Subway to get this grilled chicken sub on parmesan bread with American cheese (oven toasted, of course). Naturally, my mom decided I was going to take the toaster oven still in it's original casing in the garage and these grilled chicken filets with me to college. It was about 10pm, and we're planning on leaving early the next morning. She has other curry-like items steaming on the stove. I suddenly asked her, "Are you planning on making me take all this again?! Even the huge dish of beef curry from yesterday?" She smiled, as though I shouldn't have even had to ask such a silly question. And I told her it wasn't happening--that every year, all this goes to waste, that I eat other foods as she well knows, and that I wouldn't have this stuff of hers in my fridge.

And then I felt a little bad. But not enough to let her have her way, because I'm thinking longterm, and she would have her way at every chance, regardless of my age or independence. Plus, we both know the facts, and she still continues to slave away hours on her feet to cook. It's nonsensical in every way, except it somehow fulfills her compulsion for being traditional. I just would have much rather had her come to the grocery store with me in Minneapolis to help me buy "my organic milk" and whatever it is that I actually live off of. That way, she would not just feel but know that she's really helping me, as would I.

In the end, though, it comes down to realizing that people need to feel like they're helping, that they have some worth beyond a said relationship. My dad and I have always worked together to load the car, print out maps, etc. And maybe my mom feels as though she isn't contributing. I'm a bit OCD about cleaning up my own messes, including my room and doing my own laundry. What I value most about my mom is her insight when we talk about social phenomena, psychology, cultures, etc. She's fantastic and my greatest partner in conversation. Al Hamdulillah. But being busy with all this packing hasn't left time for conversation, which I expect to happen during the drive out to Minnesota in a few hours.

In all this, there was no "scene" created or voices raised. A mere place in which I find myself so very uncomfortable...It just really sucks to be in this situation, where I know something that really isn't that big a deal creates so much emotional tension, and especially when my mom's tried to rise above it by pretending like it didn't hurt her feelings. *sigh*

Anyway, I just thought I had to get this out. Inshaa'Allah, my posts hereafter will be from Minneapolis.


Chimichanga said...

I have come to your blog after a long time, and I have a lot of catch ups to do.
I have linked you in my blog, and now it will be easier to visit your blog more regularly. I kind of forgot your URL (my brain is my weblink bookmark, hehe).

Your mom sounds a little too much like my mother. I moved from the West to the North-Eastern region of the country about three weeks ago and she cooked a whole bunch and gave me the frozen food to take with me. She came a week later to spend some time with me, and was disappointed to see how the food still remained unopenened. I like cooking. I just like cooking in general, even though she is an awesome cook and stuff, I still like fresh food and cooking for myself.
And your los bloggers tab thing is not optimized for Mozilla Firefox. I wouldn't even know there was one if you didn't write about it somewhere in the old post. Then I used IE, and it shows there. Just thought I should let you know, not that it matters a whole lot.
All right, getting back to doing some real work. I was just taking a break.
take care.
oh wait, where do you go to college? I know someone from Minnesota, but she went to St. Olaf.

EA said...

Yes, it has been awhile for me as well. I love the new design, captures your being very well.

After reading some of your posts, I again realize why I love you, and wish you well, as this world becomes more unstable. Know this, there are many kindreds on this Earth at this time, though we all be differnt in many ways, our heart beats the same, for love, peace, and a better future, free from all the treachery that holds all of us down.

I have been working on some video presentations as of late, capturing what I feel into the visual realm on toutube, some of them are on my profile under video projects.

I hope to hear from you soon, I miss you for although not knowing you, but yet knowing...

Anyway, hope this finds you warm and safe,

Samira said...

You guys are AWESOME.