: dealing with or offering comparison between two or more different cultures or cultural areas
a: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations b: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also: the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by people in a place or time <popular culture> <southern culture> c: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization <a corporate culture focused on the bottom line> d: the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic <studying the effect of computers on print culture> <changing the culture of materialism will take time — Peggy O’Mara>
(this is so weird, as I write this, my 5 year old jumped on the couch by the window, and I asked her why and she said “I had to check my skin color.” What??! So I guess she went to the light to check the color of her skin because she’s creating some sort of digital version of herself, and went on to figure out her hair and eye color, don’t worry, its on the PBSkids site! But how funny that she did that at this exact moment when I am deeply involved in typing out all this info/opinion!!)
Anyways, enough rabbit trails, back to my big contemplation of my marriage….it’s so funny to think of how people look at you, and how you see yourself, isn’t it? What is the first thing you think of when you see this photo (or what is the first thing you notice?):
My first thoughts were: 1. I look so young! 2. whichever kid took this photo did a good job! 3. Henry and I are starting to resemble each other. 4. Hmm, lot of freckles on my arm. 5. Henry is handsome (even thought he has even more white hair now than back then(haha).
I guess the obvious race thing comes in our genes from our ancestors, all of his Italian and Spanish genes vs. my English, German and Swedish ones. The cultural question is a little more less obvious. Or maybe that should be super more less obvious.
I remember one of my high school teachers, Mr. Gilbert, talking about family cultures. He mentioned the obvious difference in cultures such as Canadian and Guatemalan…and then there are other kinds… (the examples were about couples) He said that, as a couple, you could each come from the same country, the same small town, even the “same side of the tracks” and still live in totally different cultures: different family cultures. (and how this can affect your marriage and how you get along with each other). This combined in my mind with what my Uncle Bill said to the two of us when he was giving us some ‘official’ premarital counseling: “Don’t use your difference in culture as an excuse…for anything” (he meant for disagreements or fights) or words to that effect (it’s been a long time since I heard it!) So going into my marriage with Henry, we were very conscious that we would have “obvious cultural differences” but the reality was that we didn’t notice anything…at all different or weird or hard. (Ok, the only weird thing I noticed was that he folded his dirty clothes).
We didn’t even fight for the whole first year of marriage. I think, looking back, our “cultures” weren’t that different. I had grown up in Guatemala since I was 6 years old. I spoke Spanish fluently. We knew many of the same people/friends. We were familiar with each other’s high schools. We had been to the same places/restaurants/beaches, etc. Both of us were at about the same economic level (don’t kid yourself that this doesn’t matter or make a difference, it does). We both attended the same church and, more importantly, held the same basic beliefs and values pertaining to God, life, family.
So looking at it carefully, our cultures weren’t that different….as far as those kinds of things. Up close, the differences were more family culture and personality differences. Ha, ha, the first example of that that pops into my mind, is when I was newly engaged and visiting my grandparents in Canada, and the only question my grandpa asked about Henry was: “Is he Handy?” And I’m afraid at that point, I didn’t even know if he was handy at fixing things, fixing cars, building, etc. But in my family that was kind of an important thing, that all the men did. (turns out Henry is a super fast learner and today I can say, Yes, He is Handy!!) As I write this, though, I’m thinking that it turns out that that could be more of a culture thing….fixing things yourself vs. hiring someone to fix it for you….is that a country culture thing or a family culture thing?? I think it’s some of both.
Umm, do I really know what I’m writing about??? maybe not, I can only give my humble opinions. And my opinion is…..drumroll please…..when you are going to get married, study the family culture of your “intended” and don’t get so distracted by the perceived outward differences of “race” or even country culture. If you can try and see how much the family is influenced by their culture, that might help. But what I really really believe is the important part: check out your basic beliefs, deep beliefs and values and world views. Those are the things that will make your or break you in the midst of disagreements about money, housing, careers, sports, kids, and chores and housework…oh, yeah, I suppose I should add the s-e-x word in there, too.
It sure helps if you both have the same HOPE. Which is why we have had the grace to be married for the last 18 YEARS.
I guess I should have written up an outline for this post, as I have wondered around a bit, and ended up forgetting my original reason for writing this post…..hmmm, still can’t quit remember. Was it about outward differences vs. inward differences? Was it about marriage? kids? baking? An excuse to make something sweet to photograph and eat? (probably that one!). Or maybe just to say…..you see one thing on the outside…I look like some stereotyped person, but just from looking at me, you don’t know me, who I am inside, what “color” I am inside, what I’ve been through, what I think or value: who I am. I guess you have to get to know me to figure those things out! “Everything is not what it appears!” or how about “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” haha! Anyways, I had fun doing my ‘sweet’ experiment and talking about it all with Henry, and eating it up for dessert! 😉
(I don’t get all ‘mushy’ about Henry and “us” on facebook, so I thought I’d post a few more photos here)
And I thought I’d tack on some photos of some of the mess I made making those little candy balls at the beginning of the post, just so you can see how chaotic things get just to get a couple of nice photos! Story of my life.
and then I realized it doesn’t look that chaotic….but the rest of the kitchen did!! and does!! I go all out for the baking and photographing and just leave everything else in a disaster. *sigh*