This time our blogger Kaavya Raveendran takes us to a happy place: her parents came to visit, all the way from India. A period of typically Dutch, conflict in the most unexpected place and pride.
© Sven Menschel
With exactly a month in hand before the graduation ceremony, usually picking out what dress, shoes and accessories to wear is the main priority. But for me, all that took a back seat. Soon after completing all the post graduation formalities, it was time for another set of documentation and arrangements. Cause guess what: my family was coming all the way from India!
It was déjà vu. Two years ago this time I was arranging for my departure to the Netherlands and now for the arrival of my family. For those who don’t know, it’s quite a lot of work with the highest degree of dependence on luck. Arranging and sending documents and proofs, booking tickets and accommodation. And finally, of course, making the itinerary as per their liking, was all on my to-do-list. So yes, one after the other I kept checking off all the boxes. And since all approvals and permissions came through as planned, they were here in no time.
I gave them a very cliched welcome at the airport with what else: Tulips. And the Netherlands welcomed them with the very clichéd drizzles. So the very first bite of the country itself was typically Dutch. They saw quite a bit of cities around the Netherlands and got the first-hand experience of the unkind weather and surprisingly cold fall. Even so, they were amused by the Dutch people, their active lifestyle, open mindset and trusting personalities.
The conflict arose in the most unexpected place, the kitchen. Because for the first time there were two cooks in the kitchen, me and my mom. A mom wanting to cook for her children is only natural, but somehow this sentiment was not agreeing with the Indian host inside me. I don’t know if you remember, but I have always mentioned that Indians don’t let their guests work. I was automatically demoted to being the sous-chef - which was okay, because - better Indian food. I spent all the 10 days in denial of the truth and convincing myself that the magnitude of guests was beyond my individual capacity. The world will never know!
Keeping all this aside, they loved how personal and special the graduation ceremonies are here at WUR. The speeches truly act as an individual celebration of each student’s journey. Making it a moment of pride for the whole family. I was blessed to have my family, extended family and friends with me on that day. With my friends in India, equally excited, watching the ceremony online, I don’t know about my bank balance but I felt extremely rich. Guess that’s how you feel when you are truly happy.
PS: My personal moment of pride, however, was being able to give my family a taste of ‘my world’, a world where I built a nest and a life of my own.