Friday, April 3, 2009

Cultural Differences: Stuff That Rocks

"Cultural Differences: The Part That Sucks" was a buzzkill, I know. But I told you this would be a series, and here it continues with stuff that rocks about intercultural relationships, collected from friends in cross-cultural families. If y'all send me more (email in the bio linked at right), there will be a sequel.


My Beloved taught me a game his family used to play on roadtrips called Rivers, Cities, Countries. Mom or Dad picks a letter of the alphabet, and everyone in the car tries to think of a river, city, and country that start with that letter, and whoever comes up with a complete list first wins. He balked when I said Nippon (Japanese for Japan) for "N" even though he picked Deutschland for "D." Keep in mind, he'd been explaining all the rules and announcing each round in English. When he was about to lose the "N" round, all of a sudden, the game was supposed to be played in German. "Are you effin' kidding me!" I exclaimed, because I am very competitive. "How can there be on official language for Rivers, Cities, Countries!"

Because intercultural couples aren't even supposed to exist, by most traditions, there are no rules that automatically apply, but all traditions are fair game. (Here in the U.S., we had "anti-miscegenation" laws (for example, the Cable Act of 1922 which would strip a woman of her American citizenship if she married an Asian man, yup, two years after women's suffrage) until the Supreme Court struck them down in 1967 in Loving vs. Virginia.)

Take this family, for example:

Dad is Czech. Mom is Japanese. They are celebrating American Thanksgiving in Minnesota with Indian, Pilgrim, and Bunny hats. Why is my college friend Emiko wearing a bunny hat? Because all traditions, even Easter ones on American Thanksgiving, are game.

Amy, hometown girl from when I lived in Texas, had a beautiful wedding in Dallas, Texas, which I got to go to, and THEN she had another one in Japan with her mother-in-law's family. "So I guess a perk is getting to wear your wedding dress twice for two different wedding receptions." (Note: Mike is wearing the kimono that his great grandfather wore at his wedding with their family crest.)

"I'm Panamanian mixed races, black, Asian, white, and my husband is Mexican." -Madelynn, high school friend, talking about how her baby Jolette is so friggin' cute:

Oh, and here's a close-up of the Thanksgiving bunny and pilgrim:

"Our wedding was TOTAL fusion. It was a Pakistani, Mexican, American, Dutch wedding -- one ceremony, not two traditional, segmented ones like some Asian friends of mine have. We had two magazines cover the wedding in Dallas (one was Dallas Brides published by the fabulous Modern Luxury), because it was so unique.

Our wedding was and Coleman and I are the New America and each and every person there had a new experience and wonderful insights into different cultures. Coleman and I did it our way and created a weekend of flavor, sights, sounds and a love that were truly global and so representative of the communities, people, experiences, religions and cultures we were about to bring together as one." -
Nabeeha, girl-crush and colleague at my last job. (We're in PR; that's why she knows who publishes what magazine).

"You would think Beau would be all about football, being from the South, and I would be heavily into cricket or something. But it turns out that Beau went to a non-football school and wasn't really into it...while i am a proud member of the Bulldawg nation who bleeds red & black. He had to learn about REAL football (aka SEC) from a little Indian girl, and I converted him into a UGA fan. :)"

"Also, I think it's interesting that it's actually THREE cultures involved here: Beau's Southernness, Priya's Indianness, and Priya's Americanness, because I like to think I have two sides -one that's UGA football, the other that's chicken tikka masala. :) " - Priya, friend from college, whose epic wedding I'm in this September!

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