Daily Archives: March 8, 2014

culture shock

This morning, at my friend’s brother’s memorial, there were a hundred or so people of whom maybe four or five were not Asian.  As I mentioned in my last entry, the service was bilingual.  I’d say the preferred language of the older group was undoubtedly Chinese, while most of the younger folks, his friends, probably spoke Chinese but preferred English.  A memorial service does not entail a lot of chit-chat, so whatever, being a little bit of an odd person out did not bother me.

Then, I went to N’s baby shower.  At this event, I was the only non-Latino person, though one woman was half-Mexican, half-Armen.ian.  The preferred language of the majority of people there was Spanish, and a few women clearly did not really speak English well at all.  Unfortunately, at this event, lots of chit-chat is clearly expected.  I have a hard enough time being social among friends, never mind people I don’t know who are speaking a different language.  I felt bad because N was trying to include me, and I didn’t want her to feel like she had to take care of me.  I eventually made friends with a couple women and it was all good.  Nevertheless, today has been an overwhelming day.  Since Christ.mas, when I found out I was pregnant and also started feeling sick, I have been basically a recluse.  I go to work, and I go to the doctor.  I haven’t felt up to going out to eat, or play-dates, or really anything.  I only go to work and to the doc because I have to; given an option, I’d obviously have skipped those activities as well.  I’ve been feeling much better the last week or so, but wow, two events in one day was a lot.

It’s interesting to me how there are clearly so many subcultures in the Seat.tle area.  At our local park, there are often events – parties – held by different cultural groups so obscure you’d probably forgotten their country of origin existed, never mind imagined that there were dozens of them living in your local neighborhoods.   I guess it’s nothing new.  The groups have just changed.  My mom’s ancestors have lived in their own little Iri.sh subcommunity in upstate NY for generations.  Until the current generation and the previous to a lesser extent,  Iri.sh married Ir.ish.  Marrying Ita.lian instead, as one of my great-aunts did, was a major scandal.

For whatever reason, I’ve always enjoyed getting to know people from other cultures, and this has placed me in many situations like the ones I was in today.  I just wish I was a bit – make that a lot – more outgoing.

a busy day

I just attended a memorial service for the brother of a friend of mine.  He was 23 and killed in a car accident.  It just seems so incredibly unfair for a mother ever to have to bury her child.  Ever since I had L, these things affect me so much more.  The service was very hard to get through.  His mother was clearly not really holding it together.  It was a bilingual Buddhist service with a very, very long portion dedicated to these three monks chanting in what may or may not have been Chin.ese.  I thought they would never stop.  I hope the religious ritual was comforting to his family.  As an outsider, it was just depressing.  Then they had a video showing photos from his life, which were of course so sad to see.  My friend gave the eulogy, and I thought she did an excellent job.  My blog friends might be interested to know that she quoted from his blog.  After you’re dead, people portray you the way they saw you, but you no longer have a chance to present your own picture of yourself.  My friend’s brother’s words were a good way, I thought, for him to be able to represent himself.  Other people also spoke, which I thought was nice.  The whole thing lasted close to two hours, and was followed by a cremation ceremony and a lunch, both of which I elected not to attend.  He was killed in a head-on collision.

This afternoon, I’m going to my nanny’s baby shower.  I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m excited for her.  I feel like she would have been much better off to wait five years, finish school, get married, and then have a baby, but we wouldn’t employ her if we didn’t think she was a great caregiver, and I know she’s going to be a wonderful mother.  I just hope that life is not too hard for her.  There are really no breaks when you are not a US citizen.  Anyway, now I just have to figure out what to wear.  I’m in that in-between stage where I’m unenthused about maternity, but pretty much nothing fits, and I look chubby, not pregnant.