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.