Monday, March 28, 2011

"a nice jewish boy"

I just ran out to the 24 hour pharmacy around the corner from my apartment to buy a few things, and while I was waiting in line to pay, I found a young Jewish man conservatively dressed with a yarmulke standing next to me in line.

"My future" being the current trend of the month my whole life, "where am I going", "where should I live", "should I be dating"... have all been a never-ending series of questions that I have been asking myself. I know I'm at a point in my life where it is perfectly acceptable to be indecisive and unsure about my future. So long as it doesn't last longer than the generous grace period provided by Sallie Mae. Grace period my ass.

Anyways, seeing the Jewish boy and waiting for a few more minutes in line reminded me of a conversation I had with my dad when I was in LA last weekend...

My dad is a natural conversationalist. Working in sales he loves to bring out different cards, and to my knowledge the daughter-card is his favorite one. He'll tell his clients that his daughter is living in Mexico City and it instantly draws people in. The first question, undoubtedly, is "how do you have a daughter who is 22 years old?" (my parents married young), and "how in the world did you send her to Mexico City out of all places?". To my surprise, my dad jovially told me that he answers the second question pertaining to Mexico's bad reputation with a "She lives in a safe neighborhood called Polanco, apparently where all the rich Jewish people live! Maybe she'll come home with a nice Jewish boy to marry!"

My reaction: "not surprised. not surprised at all, ahppa"

To speak a little bit about my background, I grew up in a nearly 90% Jewish suburban town in Greater Chicago and by the time I was in seventh grade, I was going to bar and bat mitzvahs every single weekend. I impressed my Jewish friends with my knowledge of Sh'ma Israel (I was in a children's choir and sang in Hebrew often) and my parents who are devout Christians, invited my Jewish friends' parents to dinner at our house and gifted checks of auspicious amounts at my friends' mitzvahs. Needless to say, my family became quite familiar with the Jewish-American culture.

Tonight, as I walked home with my purchases in hand, I realized that although my parents have thankfully never restricted me in dating or befriending a certain type of person of a specific background or race, they do have a preference when it comes to faith. Christianity being the obvious first choice - whether it be a friend, a significant other, or potential husband, having faith, being spiritual and believing in God will always be the next contender. Even if it means it's just the Old Testament.

One thing immigrant parents must learn to accept, is that by immigrating they are agreeing to raise their children in a world that is not necessarily the world they grew up in, and that their children will be exposed to different cultures, customs, and languages as they grow. The chance that their daughter or son will fall in love with someone of the same heritage or of a completely different one is nothing that can be controlled. In fact, I believe controlling can often lead to complete backfire. To my relief, I think my parents accepted the chance they took when they decided to move to the U.S.