What do you like about your partner's culture? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 01-28-2009, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do they like about yours?

I like happy/appreciative threads. :

So tell us the things you really appreciate about the culture of your partner, and the thigns he or she appreciates about yours.

My dh is Ethiopian. I am soooo in love with Ethiopia. Yes, it's harder for me to live there, but I could do it. One of the biggest things I appreciate about that culture is the level of hospitality extended to any and every person. Dh remembers growing up, when anyone was travelling and needed a place to stay, they'd just ask for the pastor of whichever village they ended up in, and the pastor would open his home and provide a meal and a bed. It didn't matter how poor the people we visited were, or how unexpected our visit. I felt like a queen by their treatment, and dh was always confused by my astonishment, because to him it's perfectly normal.
I also love the extended family and village lifestyle that we experienced. Everybody helping each other out, looking out for each other, workign together, etc. It doesn't always work perfectly, but when it does, it's beautiful.

Dh appreciates some things about American culture. Most notably the opportunities afforded here for education. He was dumbfounded and then impressed by free public libraries. He appreciates the ease of life here in comparison to rural Africa. He is *very* pleased that by our political/election system and the fact that changes of power happen frequently and peacefully, even though the rhetoric may be vile. He appreciates that there isn't a rigid caste system as there is where he grew up, and that a black man like him with a thick accent (who is "low on the totem pole" in some people's minds) can still get ahead. IOW, there is still racism and bigotry but it is not built into the system the way it is in his culture. And yes, I know people will disagree with that but that is dh's experience, having experienced in America both the bigotry and the getting ahead part.
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#2 of 20 Old 01-28-2009, 02:12 PM
 
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I like these kinds of threads, too!

My husband is Lebanese. There is so much I like it's hard to decide where to start!
I love the food!

I love the thousands of years and layers of history that are evident in the language, traditions, and landscape. And I love the language and landscape and many traditions.

I love Lebanese traditional music and dancing, and I love Ziad Rahbani (and Fairuz, of course)!

I love the extended family connections and emphasis on family and friends. I love how people respect and care for the elderly and the young.

I love how conversation and story-telling are still art forms in the salons of some people's houses, and the hospitality you'll find there.

I love the diversity of religions and cultures you'll find in Lebanon.

I love hearing the Islamic call to prayer 5 times a day.

I love how money is not seen by the majority as an end in itself.

I love the emphasis on education and the fact that many Lebanese speak three or more languages and that girls have no fear of math and science.

I am in awe of the ability of my Lebanese friends and family to cheerfully cope with hard circumstances. Lebanese people are tough--and maybe they have no choice--but this inner strength inspires me.

We live in the US, and my husband is happy here. Many of the benefits are material--good job and education opportunities, ability to afford a house, ability to get ahead on your merit (much of the time), good material quality of life (consistent water, electricity, political stability, safety, etc.). But he also appreciates the civil legal system here, where one is legally entitled to "recourse to the law." I think he values the ability to "be who you want to be" and the diversity of people you will find here.


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#3 of 20 Old 01-28-2009, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How could I have forgotten food and music???

Ethiopian food is *awesome*. When we go back there we are going to hire someone who's really good at it and eat it every. single. day. I could live without chocolate if I could have injera b'wat every day. :

I love the music too even though I probably won't ever be able to sing along. We found evangelical church music on youtube and spent hours watching and listening.
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#4 of 20 Old 01-28-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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Well it's kind of hard to classify DH's culture. His family is ethnically Kazakh, but lived in Moscow for generations, so...Soviet? Russian with some barely remembered Kazakh traditions?

My absolute favorite thing about his culture is their tradition of toasting. Every time we get together with his family, each person makes a toast (sometimes a verrrrry wordy toast!) recognizing the occasion. They're so lovely! It's just wonderful to have a tradition where people actually acknowledge how important it is to gather together and celebrate special occasions, and talk about how much they appreciate each other. In my family, all those sentiments tend to go unsaid.

My favorite specifically Kazakh tradition is making dumplings every Thursday for the ancestors. As the steam from the dumplings rises, it's supposed to take nourishment to the ancestors, and then they send back their good wishes for the living. I really like that. My culture doesn't really have any specific way of remember our dead loved ones, and certainly not on a weekly basis!

As for what DH loves about American culture...nothing? I'm sure there's some aspects he appreciates on some level, but he tends more towards criticism of American culture. (He's been here since early childhood, so it's his culture, as well).

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#5 of 20 Old 01-28-2009, 07:54 PM
 
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My DH is canadian so hes boring I'm the one with the awesome food and music, No really I don't really know much about DHs culture yet as we have not lived in Canada but I am going to move there and learn all the great stuff it has to offer, I guess for now you can say I love how much they recycle and that you are definitely safer walking down the streets at 2 am than you would be here.

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#6 of 20 Old 01-28-2009, 09:51 PM
 
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Me, about Egypt/Egyptians: The absolute devotion to family is the first thing that comes to mind. I know it would drive a lot of people crazy, but the easy way that religion functions as just a part of everyday, assumed, totally mundane life. The way that small neighborhoods kind of function as extended families, taking care of one another, knowing everything about one another (ok, that part can be irritating sometimes too ), etc. The de-emphasis on materialism that I suppose just comes with not having affordable access to quite such a glut of goods. I could totally live without the food or music though.

My spouse, about America/Americans: Financial prospects. Greenery. Clean air. Quietude and privacy. Medical care. But mostly just that it's where I'm comfortable with being right now.
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#7 of 20 Old 01-28-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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DH is Mexican--

I love the food, music and dancing, and all of their celebrations. I love how religion plays such an important part in so many of their celebrations. I love the language. Can I say I love the food again? Because I love Mexican food. Living so close to Mexico right now is a dream come true in the food department.

I love how rich their history is. I love their artwork.

While it can be a small source of contention for DH and I, I do love how they value family and helping each other out.

Kirsten, mama to Monkey since May 2007 and Bean born 11/7/09
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#8 of 20 Old 01-28-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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I love the warmth of his culture (N. African).

He loves the opportunities for education/work here.

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#9 of 20 Old 01-29-2009, 12:43 AM
 
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DH is Lebanese. I am Mexican.

I agree with what sky_and_lavender said in its totality.

In addition, though, I love how much the Lebanese culture has influenced the Mexican culture (which is mine).

For one thing, the two cultures are already so similar that I grew up among many Lebanese in Mexico and was barely even aware that they were from another culture.

I love that my absolute favorite tacos (tacos al pastor) were introduced by the Lebanese in the spirit of the shawarma.

Now that I've gotten so much into traditional foods, I love having my MIL to teach me traditional methods of making things. She's taught me about pickling, about making yogurt and labneh, about soaking rice and legumes. And I love taking what she teaches me and applying it not only to Lebanese cuisine, but also to Mexican and other kinds of foods.

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#10 of 20 Old 01-29-2009, 02:03 AM
 
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I'm Chinese-Canadian and DH is Quebecois.

He likes our food and extended family.

I like the no-nonsense, sensible approach to family dynamics. None of this confusing indirect logic and not wanting to be blunt and honest about things, leaving much up to second-guessing about true intentions and saving face that's rampant in Asian culture.

I'm also glad DH is a full life partner, both as my rock and an ever-present positive and engaging influence on our 3 kids. No locking us into subservient traditional roles, or living for other people's expectations. Gotta love that freedom about western culture sometimes.

Sign hanging in Albert Einstein's office at Princeton: Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts.
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#11 of 20 Old 01-29-2009, 10:04 AM
 
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Oooooh, I love these threads, too. DH is Turkish and we lived in Istanbul for three years.

Food. I'm all about the food. Everything always fresh and in-season. The best meat, produce, rice, desserts that I've ever had.

Convenience. Restaurants that deliver. Supermarkets and small grocers that deliver. Bottled water is delivered.

Hospitality. Turkiye is well-known as "the home of hospitality." Turks are polite to a fault. (until it comes to forming a queue, then all bets are off)

Motherhood. Being a mother is considered a valid profession. No one calls you a slacker or deadbeat if you don't go back to work post-baby.

Bread. They seriously have the best freakin' bread ever. I didn't realize how much I was going to miss it. Trying desperately, but can't duplicate it.

Street vendors. They're everywhere. Water, tissues, jewelry, fruit, doner kebab, simit, you name it, someone's likely to be selling it on a corner somewhere.

Pazars. Every neighborhood has a weekly outdoor market where you can go to get your fresh veggies, fruits, rice, olives, cheese, socks & underwear, toys for the kids, school supplies, clothes, nearly everything you need except meat.

Walking. We walked darn near everywhere. Great for keeping the weight down.

Ferryboats. I loved riding the ferryboat and miss it terribly. Stopping at Eminonu and feeding the birds.

Weddings. I miss all the weddings that spill out into the street all summer long.

History. Every day is a lesson in history when you're living in the former capitol of three of the world's greatest empires.

I could go on and on and on for days about everything that I love about Istanbul and Turkish culture. I miss it so much.
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#12 of 20 Old 01-29-2009, 12:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LauraN View Post
I love that my absolute favorite tacos (tacos al pastor) were introduced by the Lebanese in the spirit of the shawarma.
Mmmm...Shwarma...:

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#13 of 20 Old 01-29-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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Nice thread!

I'm American and DH is Dutch.

I like the emphasis on quality of life and work life balance (majority of moms work PT, etc.)

I like the focus on creating an equitable society.

I like biking/taking public transport rather than driving.

I like all the vacation time given (see above on focus on work-life balance)

I like that greed/materialism is actually frowned on and modesty about finances revered.

I love the local markets and small shops rather than huge groceries and chains (they have those, too, but it's very easy to find the local butcher, baker, green grocer, cheese shop, etc. and patronize those)

I like that most people are environmentally conscious and that living in an environmentally aware/sustainable way is much easier than in the US.

I like that most kindergartens are play-based and don't shove academics down kids' throats from an early age.

Bragging about your kids' academic skills is a no-no.

Of course, there are tons of things that drive me crazy, but I have grown to appreciate lots of aspects of Dutch culture.
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#14 of 20 Old 01-30-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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Basically everything DariusMom said about the Dutch can be applied to Germans and that is also what I like about them.
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#15 of 20 Old 01-30-2009, 10:51 PM
 
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India, specifically south India. The south and north are as different at New York and New Mexico.

The clothing is so beautiful, colorful. Even common laborers, shepherds, laundresses will be wearing beautiful, graceful saris. And flowers in their hair.

The food is really yummy! Even though it's complicated to cook.

They have such a rich history. I have been to India four times and it's so incredible to be walking in temples that are still in use after more than 2000 years. Not relics or monuments, but living temples. The power in these places is fantastic even for someone who is not spiritual or religious. Co-sleeping is part of the culture.

They really value and pamper children. They tolerate children behaving like children. At weddings you will find the kids toddling, racing around, talking, and no one cares. They are a blessing. They are welcome at all events.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#16 of 20 Old 01-31-2009, 05:49 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Sonnenwende View Post
Basically everything DariusMom said about the Dutch can be applied to Germans and that is also what I like about them.
Dh is from Germany. Two words, beer and chocolate!

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#17 of 20 Old 01-31-2009, 02:27 PM
 
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Resourcefulness. Dh is Vietnamese and to my spoiled American eyes they are incredibly clever about making do with practically nothing. Their history -- the only people in the world to have successfully fought off two unstoppable invaders, the Mongols and the Americans. Also their emphasis on education and family.

Dh loves our public services in the US. He practically swoons over the freeway system, LOL. And we all appreciate the relative cleanliness of the States, compared to pretty much anywhere in Asia. I love Vietnam, but during our last 2-year stint in Hanoi I got sinusitis because the pollution was so bad .
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#18 of 20 Old 01-31-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lily's_Mom View Post
Dh is from Germany. Two words, beer and chocolate!
I love the beer, especially how cheap it all is over there.

I think I ended up burnt out on the chocolate because I ate too much when I lived there. I really missed how they had no chocolate chips over there worth buying. A sea of chocolate and no chocolate chips. :
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#19 of 20 Old 02-03-2009, 01:44 AM
 
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My dh is Korean American (first generation). This thread is very good for me, because sometimes it's a challenging road with his family.....

I love Korean food. The way it smells while it's cooking, and fills the kitchen with a spicy fog that warms you to your toes. The sound of the utensils hitting the wok while it's being stirred..... The way it looks on the table, a hundred different bowls, mismatched, but belonging together (like a family), filled with side dishes, and steaming rice on everyone's plate. The way salty gim feels in your mouth when you crunch it, hugging your rice.
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#20 of 20 Old 02-04-2009, 11:28 AM
 
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I'm from California and DH is Italian. We live in his hometown.

-- I love the Food : and that you can get really inexpensive and really good wine.

--I love that we can make our living as musicians here.
(partly due to...

--...the socialist health care system (which I love because we pay for hardly anything, but which I also find very frustrating in many ways. What we don't pay for in $$ we pay for in waiting, or loss of personal attention.... But this is a praise thread, not a gripe thread, so I'll stop now. )

--I love that Daycare is only 57 Euro a month. (6 1/2 hours a day, 5 days a week, all food is organic.

--I love that so many of the sidewalks are lined in marble (or is it limestone.) I don't know why I am so tickled by this, but I am.

--I love that I get to drive past The Colosseum when I go to work. (But I also always got a kick out of driving across the Golden Gate Bridge back home.)



There's more, but I gotta go get my LO from Daycare.
Ciao!

-- Miss 1928 -- and Opera Singing Mamma to Eloisa -- 12 Feb 2007
-- Wife to a Wonderful Husband and Pianist -- 27 March 2003
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