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Nov 10

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, Cultural Adjustment Coach
Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dad – and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days


Actually, the title of the book by Judith Viorst is Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days, but it has evolved slightly to commemorate a great contributor to this website- my father in law.


Though my father-in-law (whom I call Dad), has not yet posted articles to my site, designed the site, wrote code for the site or has his name anywhere on the site, without him, this site would not exist.  Of course, he can’t be a dad without a son.  And without his son, I would not have a husband.  Hence, it is all because of him, and his son, my husband (who has, incidentally, done all the behind-the-scenes work for this site), that you are reading this site and I have the experiences I have in my life now.  For that, I am very grateful.


Though this is all good information, you may be wondering what Dad has at all in common with the book.  Well- in commemoration of Dad’s having left back for India today, after being with us for ninety days (yes, three months!), I wanted to compare our experiences, briefly.


In Judith’s book, her son, Alexander, three children and wife come to live with her and her husband (empty nesters) for ninety days while Alexander’s house is being remodeled.  The book is about how she and her husband adjust to life with little kids back in the house (no more flower decorated plates and serene dinners) and how to adjust to life with others in the house for an extended period of time.


When I told my husband about this book, he commented, “Aren’t we doing that?  People really do write books on anything!”  We doing that meaning, Dad has been staying with us [for ninety days] since midsummer.   And, when we were married in 2005, the day I moved in to live with my new husband, his dad, his sister, her husband and daughter were already there.  We all lived together for two months (they had been there a month already), and when his sister, her husband and niece went back to India, Dad stayed with us for another six weeks or so.  And on writing on anything, far as we know in the Indian community (from India) having relatives stay for ninety days is not uncommon, nor is it considered a long time.  Ninety days is typical, if not short.  For parents coming from India (retired), six months or more is usually the minimum. 


Another note on ‘writing books on anything.’  Though Judith does mention (in an NPR interview with Diane Rehm) that she met many other American families who have recently lived in similar circumstance, it is generally thought Americans don’t live in extended families, nor do people prefer that.  Even, I must add, when I have talked to my [American] coworkers and mentioned this situation, they responded with polite and reserved shock. (i.e. How in the world can you do such a thing, are you crazy!?).  For me, though, I would not change anything.  Every experience, even as Judith writes, is a chance for personal growth.  Learning to adjust to and communicate with others is a great and rewarding experience for all involved and also an experience that can be very humbling.



Related Posts/Sites:  Relearning How To Communicate  |  Our Photos-  Genesee River Walk - Turning Point Park - October 20 2007  | Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days, Judith Viorst |  Judith Viorst’s interview with Diane Rehm - Real Audio, Windows Media



Copyright ©2007 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


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