Archive | 2:00 pm

Culshoeral differences

4 May

slippers

How does a place where we live or were raised influence our thoughts and mannerism? The different languages, types of food, beliefs, and customs are sometimes used to describe different cultures. While it seems like we all have individual tastes and preferences, there are a number of things that are shared or that are common to specific places throughout the world. While traveling to Asia, I changed out of my shoes and into my comfy Free People moccasin slippers, and with me, they took notice of a number of things during the eighteen plus hours moving through different time zones to our final destination, the Philippine Islands. While on the plane, flying Asiana, the flight attendants were primarily Korean women, and there was definitely a language barrier. My shoes had a hard understanding what they were saying, and for the attendants, I’m sure the had the same difficulty understanding what I was saying as there was a lot of pointing at things, nodding, and smiling on both ends.

I met my mother on the stopover in Korea, since she flew out of San Francisco and I flew out of Los Angeles. When we finally arrived in Manila, my Uncle Amboy (nick name short for American Boy for having blond hair when he was a child), who I haven’t seen since I was five years old, and his wife picked us up. Not too long during the conversation, my shoes made the observation that while some people in America find it offensive to ask some one’s age, how much money one makes, and why some one isn’t married with children yet, in the Philippines, these types of questions are commonplace in casual conversation. In fact, these questions aren’t even necessary to ask since many Filipinos volunteer information that in the United States we might consider “personal.” Another observation that they made was how nonchalant people in the Philippines are about comments on appearances, like saying some one is too fat, or too skinny, or balding, or aging poorly. Being known as “dark” or “chinky-eyed,” is used as a matter of fact or even endearingly. Just as something that could be interpreted as criticisms are freely said, compliments are just as easy to come by. It wasn’t a very long car ride that my shoes started making their own matter-of-fact comments, like “It’s so hot and muggy, the weather here is so different,” “I could never live in a place this congested with so many cars and people everywhere,” and “It seems like through out this entire trip, people just don’t have a sense of urgency.” While I did agree with them, I asked them what was up with all the negativity. They respond, “I guess, it’s a culshoeral thing.”