Thursday, April 26, 2012

Culture Clash - Colisao de Culturas

The Restaurant

Just want to share this funny conversation my Wife and I had a few days ago - We had stopped at a garage (gas station, for the Americans in the audience !!) to play the lottery, which was not won by us by the way - so hold back the business proposals for now, and there was a deli there so, it being lunch time and us being peckish, we decided to get something small to eat - not that it really matters to the story but I got a sausage sandwich and Dja got a chicken sandwich and chips (french fries, again for our American readers !!) 
                                                        In the midst of Devouring my wonderfully tasty sausage sandwich and admiring the incredibly juicy chicken sandwich my Wife had got - I offered her a bite mine, just to try it... she declined.          ...after a pause on my behalf and no 'return offer' to my dismay, I dropped the Ideal of getting a taste of the chicken sandwich that she herself proclaimed to be one of the tastiest chicken sandwiches ever!!
                                                        Now, those that know me know that I love my food and would know that I'm borderline obsessive about trying everything - but, I did let it go and I could see that my Wife really was enjoying her sandwich... All was well, her chips (french fries) were late to be delivered to us and as we had finished our sandwiches we decided to get back on the road. Dja propped the chips up next to her to be able to eat while she was driving..... I, sitting in the passenger seat and, not having felt like I would want 'a whole bag' of chips reached over to grab a handful of the tasty little morsels !! ....This is where it gets into it - Not understanding why I didn't just get a bag of chips for myself we got into the conversation. Now, grant it, the bag was smaller than I anticipated it would be, and I being the food mongrel I am, I would have easily finished one all to myself. However I couldn't understand why it would be any concern of hers to share - just a few, with me (those that know me would also know too that if I could get away with it - it would be more than just a few really !! ) Then, It all came out in the wash... We came from very different backgrounds growing up - My Wife being Brazilian, And me being Irish American and growing up most of my life in Ireland had very different experiences when eating out...
                                                  Dja's friends and family grew up with the mentality of 'get what you want' to eat and enjoy it. They don't really do the whole 'try a bit of yours please', and if you've been to Brazil you'll also notice that most places are 'buffet' style - So there's no need to even look at someone else's plate !! So.. by her mindset she'll get what she wants and I'll get what I want. However !!  ...My Family - most of which still live in Ireland - are very much 'hand over fist' in a restaurant, In fact it's almost considered 'taboo' to order the same thing as someone else because then we won't all get to try everything on the menu !! Not to mention when we 'see' what someone else has it 'puts a longing' on us.. We want some.. just a taste at least !! O.K. O.K. - It's a little more complicated than that really - It's not like we're always 'willing' to share what ever food we've purchased, at times we're very begrudging about the offer, but in order to receive a taste - a taste Must be offered !! And when offered a taste - a taste must be returned !!  .. in fact I can't even say that it's an Irish trait to share our plates (more a 'my family thing')- My Friend Tommy HATED it when I would ask 'for a bit'.. even after he would offer to buy me my own so that he could enjoy his.. but in my defense (though not a good one) I didn't want a full meal or I didn't feel like eating at the time... but Low and behold when it was there in front of me and the waft of food was filling the air ... 'The Longing' would strike !! much to his dismay and pure annoyance !! The look of disgust would invade his every gesture when my hand would reach over (usually without the courtesy of asking! )
                                        Though, Dja often commented on on how 'Cute' it was that my family tried a bit of everyone's, and slipped morsels of food on side plates across the table, the thought still was never a natural occurrence for her to do the same...  even when the 'Offer Taste, Receive Taste' rule was applied !! As was applied when I offered her a bit of my sausage sandwich.And, for my part, I never appreciated the fact that some people (if not most) just get what it is they want to eat and assume that you will do the same for yourself. Though we do both agree that without question we would gladly share with anyone who is without, without second thought.
The Moral of the Story -

Not just Cultures are different, People are different. And without understanding those small idiosyncrasies of others we can easily fall into the trap of assuming others ignorance's - but it's always only in comparison to our self assumed arrogance.

In Conclusion -

I'm so blessed to have a Wife / Partner / Best Friend / Lover / Confidant / Soul mate that takes the time to talk with me and get through even the smallest of things. We grow together and learn together and never let the small issues creep in on us - those are the seeds of dismay that can creep up on you if you let them in. we love to gaze upon the beauty in life with open laughter about our 'little traits' and protect the simplicity of that Love.

Thank you for reading.. May you and yours be blessed with all the clarity of living and receive in abundance the affluence that life has to offer - Blessed Be !!

Brian x

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