Beautiful Mani, from Mexico, found love and spirituality in India! Her blog, A New Life Wandering, was one of the first I read once I decided to create my own. She was living in the state of Maharashtra, the state where I now live! Her tales of rural India were fascinating, and now she blogs about her life wandering, never knowing which country she’ll be living in next. Here is Mani’s inspiring love story…
Neither me nor my husband are from India, but our love story began there. I was born and raised in Mexico City. My parents, who are American and Mexican, gave me an Indian name and took me to India for the first time when I was just six years old. I returned to India countless times, to visit a place near the village of Ahmednagar in the state of Maharashtra.
Fast forward to 2008, during one of those spiritual retreats in India I met Josh, an American. We gravitated towards each other like magnets. We were staying in the same place. When we met I was there for about ten days before he had to return to the West. During those ten days, we spent so much time together. He was older, so for the first couple of days I was wondering to myself at night: “why do I have these feelings for him?”, I was also was in a two year relationship with someone else!
We continued to hang out. Together we would attend the local events, sit next to each other during the community meals and share rickshaw rides. We rode the motorcycle together, once I stood up behind him as he was driving and opened my arms like the scene of Titanic. A corny moment in hindsight, but it felt amazing. Sunset was over, the cool Indian breeze was brushing our faces and the night sky was dark and quiet. He was also totally impressed with me for doing that, as it showed my sense of adventure.
We did kiss. I fell into a deep sleep in his arms on the couch one afternoon at a friend’s apartment, while they continued to chat. I treated his small wounds on his feet and he removed my nail polish. It all felt completely natural with us, like we had known each other for years. I truly believe we did know each other in past lives; we are soulmates.
At the end of the trip he went back to his life in the US and I went to London where I was studying Filmmaking at the University of the Arts. One year later, I followed my heart and completely changed my life by dropping out of college, going against all my friend’s and family’s expectations of me and moving to the US to be with my soulmate and follow God’s plans for me. This was the biggest decision I had and have ever made, and it was the hardest too because I did not have the support from friends and family, something I was used to having. But I just knew in my heart I had to do this, not just for love but for reasons greater than that. God gave me the strength.
I was 20 years old. I could write a whole book about our story, how it all went down with my family and friends, how we had to get married sooner than we planned because of immigration issues, how we had a second wedding, how we lived in our car and moved to different states in the US, and so much more. On the summer of 2013 we were comfortably settled in a 2 bedroom house with two amazing cats in Durham, North Carolina, but what did we do? We sold all of our possessions except for two suitcases and moved to rural India, back to the village where we had met. The short explanation as to why we did this is because God prompt us to do it.
This is when I started my blog. My life in India was so interesting that I had to share it with the world. I experienced lots of firsts and lots of culture shocks, but most of all it was a major life experience. From learning to drive a scooter, wearing a sari for the first time and going shopping to the market, our life in India was a cultural and spiritual adventure. Moving to India is one thing, but moving to rural India is a complete different thing. We thought it was going to be a permanent move but circumstances led us to leave India after just 3 months. We ended up in Oregon, USA and that is where we are currently stationed in life.
Josh and I have now been together for five years and married for almost four. We have broken people’s expectations of our relationship (which weren’t good), we have gone through a lot of resistance which has only made us stronger, and we love each other more every day. When it is meant to be and it is in God’s plans (because we have no doubt that God plays cupid), nothing can’t stop it from happening. In spite all odds, age differences, cultural differences, geography differences, opposition, and struggling times, we have thrived. Our life is a constant unpredictable adventure and we have no idea what will come next.
To read about serial expat Mani’s life in rural India, and other travel writings, check out her website ANewLifeWandering.com