Sunday, March 08, 2009

You know you've been "here" too long when . . .

Here's a few cultural comments (all real, all happened within the last month!) for you to give you a laugh at the end of the weekend! Enjoy!

You know you've been "here" (in our country in Asia) too long when . . .

You serve chili and cornbread for supper and your children ask for chopsticks. "No, no, this is a western meal," you say with only a hint of irritation, thinking, "Don't they know the difference?"

You see a foreigner that you don't know on the street and you stare just like the rest of the Asians!

You are searching for something to eat for supper, find some leftover stir-fried lotus root, and think, "Bingo! That's what I want!"

You think nothing of crossing a busy street in the middle of the large block with a child on each hand and one strapped to your front. You wait patiently on the yellow line in the middle of the road while large buses zoom past on either side.

You find blueberries, FRESH blueberries, at a big supermarket and decide that $3 for a half pint is a pretty good deal, since previously you had only seen them in this city once and they were about $12 for a half pint!

Your children think that the sky is white. Ugh.

You find yourself discreetly (or not so discreetly) using your elbows and shoulders to edge your way forward in a mass of people that should be forming a line but instead are all trying to nudge their way forward as well.

You want to buy a cup of tea with milk and sugar, and it is served to you with big chunks of a gelatinous substance included. A large straw is provided for this purpose. You actually drink the tea, eat the gelatinous substance, and think, "Not half bad!"

You think nothing of walking half an hour to go out for breakfast at McDonald's, like we did this morning! Hey, the weather was nice!

You are not the least offended when someone greets you with, "Oh, you're fatter." "Yes, we had a very nice vacation. And how have you been recently?" you politely respond.

You find yourself losing English fluency. Sometimes you simply cannot think of the word you want in English and so you use the local language word, creating a strange hybrid of language that is discernable only to a select few.

You discover that your house helper, whom you thought did not speak very good English, has been picking it up over the past year and a half and now often understands what you are saying to your husband and children when you thought you were speaking privately! Oops!!!

You find yourself drinking hot water like all the locals. Yes, plain hot water. It's strangely comforting.

You are unfazed when some guests whom you've never met show up at your door almost an hour before the start time of an event. They didn't want to be late. You invite them in, give them some picture albums to look at and hot water to drink, then continue feeding your children, moving the furniture around, setting out the drinks and everything else that you have to do "before" your guests arrive.

You decide that your 10 month old shouldn't be wearing diapers anymore since it's bad for her skin and she's had some diaper rash lately, so decide to switch to the local "split pants" which are fashioned with the inseam unsewn in the crotch area and seen on every local child three and under . . . JUST KIDDING! However long we live here, I don't think that is a local habit I will be picking up!

That's all for me tonight! John is making supper (grilled cheese sandwiches) and I think we've got a game in the works for the evening. Good night!


Morello Madness said... have been here for a long time! Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I can so relate! I even like lotus root - just not leftover. Thanks for the smiles!

Anonymous said...

You had me really scared there at first with the no diapers bit. I was thinking, no way, really? Really enjoy reading, you don't know how much you have encouraged me over the past few months as I have read bits of your blog. Thanks!! Kelly J.

sandra said...

Oh my goodness. When I read the split pants part I thought, "She's so accustomed." Of course, I used the Asianese word.

I LOVED this post. Here are a few random things that I did last week (at least these are the things I noticed):

We crossed the street in the middle of traffic.

I keep telling people that I don't need to wear as many layers because I'm so fat.

Hubs and I speak Hybrid English all the time.

I drink lots of hot water. And I've started diluting our little guys apple juice with hot water. I'm so afraid for him to drink something cold. ha!