Coffee date with my wonderful husband at the Bizztro!
My two cuties!!
My two handsome shaggy boys, I know, time for a trim! :)
Interesting Culture Issues discussed in Unit 4:
- Where are people buried? On the West end of this island there are people who still bury there family members in their yards. And I might remind you that this island is heavily populated and homes are extremely close to one another. This came up in the lesson about things that a foreigner may have to face but never considered before..........uhm, ya' think? :)
- To whom do you give a greeting? After living here for 5 months and heartily greeting every soul I came in contact with :), I learned in this unit that the locals think that this is very funny, they normally only greet those they know, never those they don't! However, this town in particular is used to foreigners so they kind of "play along" when the new Westerners arrive and they will greet us in return!
- Can you stroll hand in hand with your spouse? Girls who are friends may walk hand in hand or arm in arm, or guys who are friends can put an arm around their guy friend, but you don't usually have any physical contact between genders. Whether friends, dating or married, it's a "no touchy" policy here! :) You are to keep at least an arms length from the opposite gender when talking.
- How do those of opposing faiths get along? The government has gone to great lengths to ingrain into it's people to live in peace with their neighbors who practice different faiths. In fact the Gov't has legitimized 6 faiths, interestingly enough, ath*ism is not one of them! There is a "code of conduct" so to speak and one of the things listed is that they all have a faith in G*d, or a g*d, might be more appropriate. Obviously from current events that play out on a regular basis in this country, this "tolerance" does not always happen. However, in day to day life in these towns most "cousins" and Chr*st*ans get along fine with each other but I think this "code" has hurt the cause for EV because it is kind of a "peace at all cost" attitude that most everyone adopts. To many of the Chr*st*ans here, EV has never crossed their minds, or if it does, fear usually stops them from ever doing anything about it.
- What things are appropriate to display openly in your home? I learned that in this culture it is a big no-no to have a shoe rack by the front door......which we had. Or to have a bunch of little photos framed and placed around your front room......which we do. Or to have books displayed on bookshelves........which we do. Or to have a television out where it can be seen by visitors in your home........which we do!! UGH!! So in light of this discovery I moved the shoe rack, but am holding out on the others as they are the few possessions I have and there is no where else to put them! In their culture you can have a large family photo on the wall and just chairs and a little table in your front room, otherwise people who come in might think you are trying to show off what you have or they will gawk and see how big or little your TV is or whether your shoes are expensive. It's different I know! I never really considered these things!
- What about healthcare? Only gov't employees or large business employees have health insurance. But this health insurance is only level three, the bottom tier to a three level system. You are treated just as poorly with this insurance as those without any insurance. Doctors and nurses usually don't treat them kindly and there are about 20 people to a room in the hospital. You can get level 2 or 1 but you have to pay for it yourselves and most here could never afford to do that.
- What do the local people think of foreigners? Their general opinion is that Westerners are generous and always want to help (phew!) :) But they have very different opinions of people from other Asian countries, and one European country in particular, that have large amounts of people living here. They often encourage their children to marry a Westerner because they believe we are all rich (which in comparison, we all are!) and they believe the children will be beautiful (maybe....maybe not:)
- What do they consider beautiful? Almost every single lotion or facial product in this country is "whitening". Most commercials on TV extol the virtue of their "skin whitening" products. My local friend thought it was funny when I told her most Westerners are trying to be tan like them while they are all trying to be white like us! Barry told her that I think they have one of prettiest skin tones and she couldn't believe it. Isn't that crazy.....grass is always greener I guess!
Well, hope you enjoyed your cultural briefing. Please have an essay about each topic emailed to me by morning! Oops, sorry, I thought I was a Pelatih for a second! :)