Wednesday, May 30, 2007

culture difference #312 Cultural differences come in many shapes and sizes. Some are based on thoughts and beliefs--presumptions about the way the world works and values a group of people hold in common. Some are much simpler than that. If you were to ask my students about what is culture they would probably answer with things like "food," "holidays," and "weddings." They would be somewhat right. However, culture--the way we live our lives--entails, oh, so much more than that. It involves some great big things and some little tiny things as well. One of the things I loved showing international students when I was in college was how I made my bed. It is totally different than how they made theirs. We take all aspects of our culture for granted. And, it can be little things like keys and light swiches that are really interesting to people from other cultures. Some things about life in taiwan that used to seem so abnormal, now seem so normal and common place to me. Speaking of keys lets take them as an example: Before coming to Taiwan, I'd never seen a round key with holes in it before. I need it to open the basement door of my parking garage staircase. And, the key with "LACEE" on it above--how cool it that!?!?! It looks like a key to a treasure chest, right? But in reality, it just opens the lock on my moped. And that pointy key with grooves on four sides? It has a notch in it at the top, so I know which way to insert it into my front door. Pretty nifty in my opinion. The black rectangle opens the outside door of my apartment building if I come home after 11 pm. Beeped-beep and I'm in. Why two sets of keys you ask? Well, remember I drive a moped: I don't want my keys too heavy and big while I'm driving with them all exposed. In the coming weeks, I plan (Lord willing) to showcase here on my blog some of the myriad of little cultural differences that have intrigued me and captured my interst while living here. So, if there is anything you are wondering about . . . ask, I'll try to get a picture and show you. Send me on a scavenger hunt; I dare you. :)

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