Proper Care and Feeding of my Indo-Fijian Sweetheart
September 27, 2011 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Soon my long distance sweetheart from Fiji will be coming to visit me for at least 6 months. Help me mitigate her Culture Shock, find familiar food/movies/etc for her, and communicate with her better while we navigate a cross-cultural, cross-ethnic relationship.

I live near Raleigh NC and am white. My sweetheart lives in Fiji and is native Indo-Fijian. I had a month long stay with her and her family in Fiji. Soon she will be doing an extended visit here while we see how far this relationship goes. She may end up immigrating but that's not the focus of my question.

What I want is some ideas of food, culture, movies, etc that I can share with her to help make her feel "more at home" as soon as she arrives. Familiar comforting things, maybe even some communities she might be able to make friends she can relate to.

Some specific areas I'm looking for help

Movies: I love movies. She really likes bollywood love-story-musical type movies, I need to get some of those. The few she's shown me have been really fun, I like them even if they are a bit cheesy. I'm looking suggestions for "crossover" films she might like. I honestly hate American romantic / rom-com's but I'm guessing that's the genre she'd "get" the best since she likes love stories. Also other suggestions for movies (Indian/American/Other) we both might like? Suggestions on where to rent / buy them?

Food: Know any really good authentic Indian restaurants in the Raleigh area? Also, are there any tricks to acculturate my pallet to spicy foods when I'm not used to eating them?

Culture/Community/Friends: Here is my big question--she is half-Fijian half-Indo-Fijian. I know Morrisville and Raleigh writ large has a sizable Indian and Pakistan population. Are Indian Hindi and Fijian Hindi language and culture close enough to find friends she can relate to? Where should we look?

Also, are there any Fijian enclaves in the area?

Generally any other advice about how to make a culturally, ethnically, linguistically diverse relationship work and also make sure she doesn't feel alienated here. Are there general methods or books I can read to help alleviate and deal with culture shock and help me relate to her better? Finally, any tips on a cross ethnic relationship? This is new for me.
posted by DetonatedManiac to Human Relations (2 answers total)
Ok well I don't kow anything abot Fiji but I cannot recommend enough Mangal Pandey: The Rising as a great dramatic and historical/Bollywood movie. It is good and will make you enjoy that Bollywood spirit while not being convinced that it is one long music video.
posted by boobjob at 5:16 PM on September 27, 2011

Missisippi Masala is a wonderful fusion movie, as is Bride & Predjudice. Both very romantic. For sheer cross-over humour, East is East can't be beaten!

I would not seek to get her involved with the local Indian & Pakistani communities, honestly. She doesn't have enough time to make real friendships and people will be suspicious of her reasons. When people live together in an enclave it is for a very specific purpose. She might not be welcome because of her mixed heritage or because she's with a white boyfriend, there's all sorts of potential issues.

Instead enjoy shopping in those areas to get the kind of foods you can both learn to make at home so she teaches you some of these awesome dishes, she'll be chatting to shopkeepers, butchers etc., but after all, she's here to get to know you better.

She will also really want to be exposed to your culture so believe me when I tell you eating at a diner is something most people from outside the USA think is very cool. The sheer scale of shopping malls is a bit mind-blowing also, boring eventually, but mind-blowing. The variety of foodstuffs in your local biggest supermarket, the variety of make-up & skin-care (if she's into that) in one of your huge pharmacy chains, all totally awesome to a non-American. If she does like make-up, take her to the biggest Sephora you can find and bring a book! The attitude that you can try anything out as long as you want, with help from the assistants is mind-blowing, plus they will have all the colours that suit her skin-tone.

Take her to see some of the most beautiful landscape around you because although I don't know your area I'm certain it's very different to Fiji. Take long walks. For many of us, the USA we see is on TV and in movies and the first few times of seeing "normal" houses, communities, streets, family events is quite fascinating.

But at the end of the day she wants to be with you. I know the excitment factor of "I want to make this the absolute best time ever for her" and believe me, just that fact alone will probably make this a success! So relax a bit and enjoy
posted by Wilder at 1:04 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

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