Times Are A’Changin’

So, quick background: my husband is German, I’m not. I’m Chinese, African, East Indian, West Indian, and there’s a good chance there’s Caucasian, too.

Now the story:
Last weekend was Father’s Day, and I always try to do something on behalf of the furry ones. My husband wanted West-Indian curry and roti. And usually, he doesn’t let me anywhere near the kitchen (too many burnings/cuttings/accidents for him to trust me around knives and heat), but curry and roti is the one thing (the only thing) I can actually make better than him (he says–in truth, everything he cooks is better than mine).

I ended up cooking yesterday and he was, of course, completely thrilled and yummified. He went off to work, came back, and as he came through the door, he said, “Man! I love the smell of curry in a house!”

And I realized, again, how much times have changed.

I’m a kid of the 80s, when living in Calgary, Alberta meant I was the only brown kid in my elementary (me and P.S., who was black, were the only visible minorities from kindergarten to grade 3, when M.L, Chinese, came to the school, and then in grade 6, there was a whopping 2 more minority kids who showed up J.M, Chinese, and R.M, Indian), and when people had no problem yelling racial slurs on playgrounds or street corners.

Every Indian family I knew, cooked curry with the windows open. They’d have been horrified to have the smell in their home. Heck, Calgary can reach -60, and my mother always opened a window. Too bad if that meant we had to watch television with our parkas on. She’d burn candles, and light incense. No brown person wanted the smell of curry on them. No one.

I can remember doing the “smell” check with friends: Do you smell curry in my hair/clothes? If so, then you changed.

Fast forward 20 years or so, and everybody loves curry. It’s healthy for you, super yummy, and screamingly easy to make.

I know things are great in the world, right now. We’re still fighting and killing, destroying and self-destructive. But I can’t help but feel hopeful. Maybe we are slow to change, but things are changing.

Today, little girls never question if they can be CEOs or engineers, boys can be dancers or chefs, and families aren’t defined by 1 dad, 1 mom, and x-number of children. The possibilities that lay before humanity are astounding and infinite. I’m grateful to be in this place and time, because I know the same way my grandmothers can look at me and say, “Wow. When I was a little girl, no one thought I was worth educating, but you, my granddaughter, have a university degree.” I know I’ll be able to look at my grandchildren and say…I don’t know what I’ll say, but I know it’ll have the same awe-struck tone of “look how far we’ve come,” as my grands’ voices did.

Today, more than ever, I agree with Louis Armstrong: “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

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