Our trip to India for the last couple of weeks was sooo great! I can't describe to you how wonderful it was to see Conrad's family again (the ones I met last year when they came for the wedding) and the ones I had only heard about or talked to on the phone. It was really like coming home. I know some of my friends were asking me if it would be wierd to visit India the first time without Conrad, but it really wasn't (although I missed him much seeing his old stomping grounds!). I love his family like my own and it was pure joy to introduce our little Isabelle to everyone and to just spend time together for a while, however brief our visit.
During our visit, we had two big "parties." Now, clear your mind of any American concept of party, a few friends over for a bbq type of thing...or even a big family holiday gathering. The first party was for Isabelle. They did invite just 30 or 40 people over to meet her and I, and they brought her gifts, mostly gold jewerly(of which, she now, officially has more than her mother!). USUALLY they invite 150 - 200 people over, but we decided to do the "real" party next time we visit, when Conrad can make it. The second party was held in honor of Conrad's Aunt Agnes, who we named Isabelle Agnes after. She died just about a year ago and in the Indian Catholic tradition, they have a year celebration after the death of the person and hold a mass in rememberance and have worship and lots and lots of food. Now, Agnes' husband and sons live in a flat, and they set up big tents outside the house for the 150 -200 guests that showed up. Defnately something the tenents association would frown on around most complexe's in the states.
We met tons and tons of family members. And my one funny story involves being introduced to all of these extended family members. In Conrad's family, all female older relatives are called "Mommy" such as, my nephews would call me Danielle Mommy and also thier Grandma, Mary Mommy. Well, every aunt, older cousin, was introduced to me as Such and Such Mommy....and EVERYONE else was introduced to me as Mommy's brother, or Mommy's brothers cousin's sister and so on. I caught on after a while that when they were refering to "Mommy", it wasn't always the same Mommy, but all of the aunts, it could be anyone!) And to add confusion, Conrad's mother has one brother. You call your mother's brother, Mama, and his wife is called Mami(pronoucned Mommy). Conrad finally clarified when I got home that there is a VAST difference in Mami and Mommy....although they sound exactly the same to me.