“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife….” (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
In my case, it is a truth acknowledged in my family, that a single woman of a certain age, regardless of her good fortune or not, must be in want of a husband. Despite my plans to stay in Turkey for summer, I ended up going back home to Mauritius due to some unexpected circumstances. You never quite realise how much you miss home until the time you’re actually back and getting spoiled by everyone. My family – when I say family, I’m including everyone up to the fifth cousin once removed – is however one of those things in life that is best in small doses.
The hot topic as usual was my imminent marriage, for the whole five weeks that I was there. Not that being away helps much. It definitely is the thing that comes up most frequently whenever I’m on the phone with a family member, although then I do have the option of pretending to be busy and hanging up. The fact that you’re single and nowhere near to getting committed to anyone doesn’t seem to bother anyone, to be honest. You’re of age, the rest will follow even if things have to be forced just a little bit.
My family have been trying to introduce me to guys ever since I turned twenty; matchmaking and arranged marriages are not unusual and my family seems to be an expert at those. I have to admit that there was a time when I wasn’t opposed to the idea. I used to think that since it was going to happen anyway – being an old cat lady isn’t really an option in my family –, might as well just get it over and done with. I even used to think that this was the most hassle-free option since I do feel the whole process of meeting someone and finally getting to the point of thinking about the happily-ever-after is just exhausting. Not that my attitude to this particular bit has changed but some part of me thinks that part of the hassle is probably worth it sometimes. I’m such a romantic, I know.
There used to be a time when I was still young (not saying that I’m not young right now) and used to know what I wanted from life. Oh man, how I missed those times, when I was sure of everything, although given the chance, I doubt I would ever want to go back. Life is wobbly at the moment, with uncertainty lurking at every corner but I have to say, this is the most happy I have been in a very long time. Life is no longer a straightforward journey anymore with a fixed destination but more like one with a few wrong turns and dead-ends.
Of course, I ended up in Mauritius when it was the full-blown wedding season and I attended more weddings during those five weeks than I had in a year. At each and every one of them, I was told that I was going to be next. It didn’t help that out of my two closest friends still living in Mauritius, one got hitched and one is halfway here. This seems to have reinforced the idea that time is running out and that I’ll die a spinster if this goes on. To be honest, this definitely seems to be a better prospect than the other one of the table so far.
Culture is such a strange thing: what would be acceptable in some can be inadmissible in others. In some cultures, a twenty-something year old woman getting married would learn more towards immaturity and irrationality whereas in mine, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Sometimes, it gets harder to accept things back home when you’ve been exposed to and living in different cultures. Reverse culture shock seems to be a real thing, and it’s something I seem to feel on every level every time I’m back home (not that I’ve been back home many times). I was definitely more than happy to get back on that plane at the end of those five weeks, knowing that I’ll miss everyone again. As I said, small doses.