Sunday, May 27, 2012

Culture Stories at the Airport - My First Day Back on American Soil

I already mentioned meeting a Jamaican woman on the plane named Karen. Karen was awesome and I'm glad I met her and had such good company during my delays. We talked about so much stuff but there were a few things I wanted to share with you because they were her culture shock type experiences and I personally got a good laugh out of them so I hope you will too.

One apology, if you're not American and reading this post there may be some things you won't quite understand. I will do my best to explain them but I'm sorry because even then you may not be able to see all the humor in the incident. At any rate, I'm also hoping you'll get some insight into American culture by hearing the stories.

So Karen works in the hotel industry. She works with two African men, one from Ghana and I forgot where the other one was from because his story wasn't as funny. Now, it's my understanding (from knowing Nigerians and Liberians) that many African countrymen do not get along well. I also know that they will argue between each other and still go out for dinner afterward as if no yelling ever occured. So when Karen informed me that the two of them argue every single night before leaving work we were both laughing. Right after she told me that, she told me that on their days off they go on long car trips together and are virtually inseperable. They literally can't go a day without spending time together. We both found this hilarious because it's like they couldn't get through the day without arguing with each other then starting the next day as if they were best friends. That's only mildy funny to an outsider.

Also, the man from Ghana is a Christian and knows the entire bible just as well as he knows his name. Karen told me he tries to get into debates with her about the bible but he knows more than her and so she won't debate him. Now, just as an fyi for those that don't know, no Christian would believe in any kind of superstitious or traditional regimes. Okay, now that I got those tidbits out of the way, here's the funny part.

The man from Ghana came up behind her the other day and put a piece of paper on her head with something on it. He said something she didn't understand and she turned around and asked him what he was doing. He told her that he had just done something to make her fall in love with him and follow him around forever. LOL. I found that hilarious. Karen had gotten a taste of his culture. This was aparently some kind of old wives tale type thing and he had picked it up and thought it might work.

So later during their conversation of how she wasn't subject to his voodoo (not real voodoo, I'm using that as a slang type term), he informed her "don't you know that those ppl (referring to white people) raped your people (African Americans) and that's why you're skin is so light?" LOL again! Karen said she had to inform him she wasn't African American and the atrocities that occured during that dark time didn't apply to her. She had to explain to him that she wasn't American or African, she was Jamaican. Her and I were both cracking up over this incident.

My point in laughing over these things was because of how I could relate to her experience of her own culture not being understood. It just further showed me how this happens all over the world with all kinds of people. It felt good to know that and see/hear a real life example of it other than my own that had nothing to do with India.

Also while Karen and I were sitting at the airport (she had just came back from a trip to Jamaica) we both watched the thousands of travelers running around. It was fascinating to me. I saw Somoans, Germans, Hawaiins, Phillipinos, Arabics, African Americans, Indians, and countless other nationalities that day. It felt amazing. It made me realized just how much I missed Americas diversity. Almost everything in India is Indian. Here, we have every country in the world represented and seeing that culture is beautiful.

I never realized (before leaving) just how much I enjoyed knowing people from all walks of life. I knew it, I just didn't appreciate it the way I should have. I was very fortunate to grow up in such diverse circumstances. I don't think I paid much attention to American culture before leaving. Sitting at that airport gave me time to reflect on some things and talk them over with a fellow expat and share our views. I know the delays at the airport sucked, but I'm truly thankful for the experience of meeting Karen and spending my day with her. It's experiences like this in life that shape us, and show us just how small the world really is.

Also, just a small apology. I know this post was a little random and scattered. I have yet to sit down and rest since I left India lol. I'm very tired, and being flooded with life and enjoying every minute of it. I have so much to share! I'll be back to my less random writing style after a few more good nights of sleep. I think. hahaha.

1 comment:

  1. That's an interesting point about missing the diversity. Come to think about it -- I feel that way about Australia too!