Girls Write Out
Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One of the things I've learned living around so many different cultures is how obtuse I can be when dealing with others! To my children, it's a natural thing to hear a name like Minaud and Sau Fong and pronounce it correctly the first time, then remember it! I so envy that. Saturday night we had dinner with some friends. His sister was visiting from China and she was speaking to a teenage girl who was there. The teen couldn't understand what the sister was saying, and my six year old "translated". To my daughter, hearing a Mandarin accent is as natural a thing as walking. When I filled out her school admission, there was a box to check what language we spoke at home. There were six different versions of the Chinese/Korean/Taiwanese/Other Asian dialects to choose from. I felt extremely stupid for simply writing English, like I'm totally left out of the club in my small world. I want my kids' world to be so much bigger than that!

On Sunday after church, we ate at a Turkish restaurant. If you know anything about Middle Eastern countries, relationship is vital to the meal. We were eating with friends and six children, so I didn't want to wear out my welcome when everyone else was done eating -- but I didn't want to miss out on my favorite either. I asked for a Turkish coffee to go. Culturally, this was as rude as asking the guy to run over to Starbucks and pick me up a latte. He looked straight at me, with this charming twinkle in his eye, and said, "Why don't you just sit here and drink it?" Unspoken: Like a human!

So here I am, trying to not be rude and return their quiet restaurant to them -- and I'm rude because I'm rushing his fabulous meal!! This is apparently offensive. I pray my kids catch a clue from their mama's faux paus. My friends just sat and laughed while the man walked away to make the coffee. I did enjoy it more sitting there, by the way. The American in me has to give way to the Italian at times.

P.S. Today we are signing the papers on our new house!!! WOOOHOOO!
posted at 11:52 PM  
  Comments (13)
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At 7:56 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Congratulations on the new house, Kristin!!

Your world is so different there. I'm surrounded by sameness everywhere I turn. Goats, cows, horses, now that's a language I can speak.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Congrats on signing the papers! If that's a pic of it, it's very pretty.

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

Diann, that's how I WAS living. Can you imagine for me? Ugh. LOL

At 10:23 AM, Blogger eileen said...

Ahh, but you speak the language of a heart filled with the Spirit. So much more important.

Yea! House! City! woohoo!

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Congrats on the house! Does this mean you get to buy a new pair of celebratory shoes too? ;)

We went to a Turkish restaurant recently, I loved it! Some of the best food I've ever had! Mmmmm!

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Malia Spencer said...

All right, I have to say I don't know what to do with myself when I'm around "sameness." I go into culture shock every time I travel to the mainland. It's just weird to blend in with the haoles instead of standing out. Kristin, I feel your pain on that one. Give me diversity every day.

Congrats on the new house!

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Congrats on the new house!! And I'll sit anywhere to enjoy a coffee. :o)

When my youngest son started managing a restaurant, he picked up Spanish and the culture so rapidly, I couldn't believe it. And he speaks it fluently. Amazing.

He used to go in early and fix all his employees breakfast. I think it was bribery, though. The gals would fix him these wonderful Mexican dishes - the kind you never get in a restaurant. Yum!

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Congrats on the house, Kristin! A dear British friend of mine spent a number of years as a missionary in Turkey. We find any excuse possible to drive the forty-five minutes to the nearest Turkish restaurant. Yum!! I'll make sure to learn from your faux-pas and avoid ordering a drink to go!

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Robin Caroll said...

WOO HOOO....congrats on signing on the new house! I want pix!!!!

I know what you daughter just went to a classmate's bday party this past weekend and the little girl is Turkish. It was neat to hear my daughter understanding some of the common Turkish terms and interact. Of course, me being the writer that I am, I began asking all sorts of questions of the family about their culture...for research purposes, of course, but it was SO interesting.

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Pam S. said...

Kristin, if you had been in the same restaurant but it had been in Turkey, there would have been other children who were making just as much noise--maybe even more--and no one would have cared all that much. They're kids. They're supposed to make noise. I'm glad he suggested you drink the Turkish coffee there. :)

Speaking of Turkish coffee, know what happened the first time I had Turkish coffee? I was new in Turkey and I went to a neighbor's. I didn't speak Turkish and she didn't speak English. She served me Turkish coffee. It was the first time I'd ever had Turkish coffee. I wanted desperately to fit in and be culturally appropriate, so I drank the whole cup--even the grounds. (The grounds were pretty awful tasting, actually.) Later, when I knew some Turkish, she told me it was the first time she'd ever seen anyone do that, but she didn't want to say anything if that's what they did in America. LOL!

P.S. Congratulations on getting the house!!

At 3:58 PM, Blogger Julie Carobini said...

Congrats on that new house--yay! Loved the post. I'm from LA :)

At 12:11 AM, Blogger Lynette Sowell said...

Oh, congratulations! :) I'm really happy for you! woo hoo.

On the accent thing, we have a new doctor at work. She's Chinese. The past 2 weeks have been acrobatics for my hearing making sure I know *exactly* what she's trying to say as I transcribe. :)

At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the new house. :)

If I ever get down there for a visit, you have got to take me to some of these interesting places. There is so much I have yet to explore. :)


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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