Guyana and Georgia- A Tale of Two OGs
Hey where’s Guyana again? In South America, next to Suriname- ok. Then why don’t they speak Spanish or French? Why are they considered Caribbean or West Indian? And where is Georgia? In the southern part of America. Don’t they speak with a drawl?
My husband and I come from two different worlds. Sometimes I think he’s from Mars or maybe even Saturn and I might be from Venus or from that far out Neptune space. How do we look at the same picture and draw different conclusions? It’s gotta be the lens through which we view the world -our varied perspectives on gender roles, cook up rice, grits, porridge, curry, communication and most importantly macaroni and cheese vs macaroni pie.
Culture plays a huge role in the way we navigate the world. How we are geared to understand reaction and response comes from how it is taught or modeled in the home. Gender roles are largely cultural and the joining of two cultures, in marriage, with distant views on everything from family ties to family parties was difficult. Attending functions with my husband’s family I noticed that all of the women were in the kitchen- slaving, while all of the men were in the living room- chillin. Now, that was antithetical to this Brooklyn/Georgia feminist and I refused to join ranks with the apparently heat resistant women in the kitchen. That stance drew unwelcomed stares and chatter that I was isolating myself and distant. How does one say very politely- I am not a kitchen woman! I am an intellectual who enjoys living room dialogue instead of the smell of a pot.
Our life together has been a series of discoveries. Learning tracts on how to live with another human without murder added to your list of things to do. Believing that although we are so different we are yet alike in so many ways and able to connect on the essential components of life. How do you get from I do to eternity? It takes work, sacrifice and surrender. Marriage raises the cup of Christ because it demands that you die to yourself. It demands that you willingly take on the very nature of a servant, humble yourself and become obedient. Obedient to God and obedient to your spouse. There are lots of times when I want to tell that man how I really feel! But the God of heaven compels me to shut my Brooklyn mouth and submit to my husband. I have seen the same thing of my husband. The Lord will settle him in an instant and he will submit to me. I love that the Bible calls for us to submit one to another. It is how we honor the strengths in each other and make our very best lives together.
I had a list of stereotypes of what I thought Guyanese men were- domineering and full of attitude. The Lord turned my stereotypes into a teaching tool. The Guyanese man I married does not have an attitude and treats me with such care and respect I can proudly say I am spoiled rotten. I am learning how to live an American/Guyanese lifestyle. Embracing his family traditions while staying true to myself. I’ve found there is enormous strength and conversation taking place in the kitchen along with some dynamite pepperpot. The women of my husband’s family are spiritual heavyweights, warm-hearted and throw down cooks. You can be both - a women of cuisine and a woman of conversation.
10 years into this journey of marriage. I can honestly say I love him more than when we first began. I ask him to make me stew chicken and channa. Because whatever he does for me is filled with love and that Guyanese lovin is EVERYTHING.