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!