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Old 01.10.2011, 23:07
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Bi-cultural relationships

I did a few searches and couldn't find anything on this... also not sure it's in the right section, but I couldn't decide if any other section was appropriate or not.

So after an EF event today, I was reminded of how many of us are in bi-cultural relationships. I think that, no matter how small the cultural differences, they're there.

My OH is French and I'm English, and the small cultural differences between us provide much amusement. Typical examples include:

Him: Can you pick up some bread today please?
Me: What kind?
Him: Just normal.

I come back with sliced bread.

Him: What the hell is this?
Me: Bread, like you asked.
Him: You're an idiot. *kiss*

and just today I got berated for extracting the paté from the jar the wrong way.

Does anyone else have any examples from bi-cultural relationships, past and present/funny and contentious?
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:41
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

Yes, not only are you guys bi-cultural, you're living in a third "culture." Another layer of fun.

My husband is Italian and I'm American.

We lived in the US for the first 15 years of our relationship until we moved here for work this year. So, there definitely is a different aspect to our relationship being in a third country instead of one of our own countries. Especially after he'd been there for 15 years, he'd become more American than me, the dogmatism of the converted. And, he's constantly comparing one immigrant experience with another. I bet that's a common expat feeling.

I think that it's hard for him now, to take on all the cultural baggage of being "Italian" (a bunch of dumb stereotypes that don't apply to most people, let alone my husband) here in Switzerland when he doesn't even really feel "Italian" any more. My husband gets tired of people asking him if he got his job through "mafia" (Really, 4 or 5 people have asked him that, from our next door neighbor to the electrician--he's a professor, what kind of geeky mafia would that be?) Or people being surprised when he shows up a few minutes early for a meeting.

Oh, both of us think that the ubiquitous toothpaste/toothbrush brand "Candida" is a hilarious, misguided marketing move. Primary meaning in Italian is white and pure, but secondary meaning (and what most people think of) is yeast infection.
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:41
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

Too many funny experiences, I will have to add some more as I remember them,

1. Dutch girl friend cut English scones vertically
2. I cut Weiβwürst in Munich with knife & fork
3. I put those nice fat red candles on the table
4. I forgot it was Saturday and went to work at 7:30
5. I used Damen toilets as they seemed appropriate
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:47
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

My boyfriend's from Taiwan. I think, because the cultures are so different, we don't clash as we don't compete.

Me: Can you pick up some bread today please?
Him: Bread? Is that some kind of solid extra doughey noodle?
Me: OK, I'll get it.

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Old 01.10.2011, 23:51
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

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and just today I got berated for extracting the paté from the jar the wrong way.
Upside down, fell on the floor, made a mess ? What is then the *proper* way ?

I need some basic French education (got invited to a French colleague's place next week, might be able to use the info).
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Old 01.10.2011, 23:59
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

When I first got together with my French husband, there seemed so many things that were different and which I thought were "typically French" but 23 years on, most things just seem to be typically him.

One thing did strike me .. he eats his food separately .. so start off with some, say, tomato salad, then some meat (this can be eaten with the carb part of the meal), then the veg (never just boiled .. has to be prepared in some fancy way), then some green salad, some cheese, finally some pud. Oh and drinking wine out of a tumbler not a wine glass. Eating took SO LONG. It took about a decade to convince him to eat Sunday roast all from one plate.

Hope this helps Caleb!
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:01
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

Hmmm....I think it don't matter at the end of the day when people are quirky enough to actually not be the stereotypical representatives of their own cultures anymore.

Car, car attachment, I guess.
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:14
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

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One thing did strike me .. he eats his food separately
There was/is a French cartoon which shows what a Brit eats ...it had a full roast dinner, plus soup, plus some cake covered in custard all on one large plate.
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:16
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

Jaja. Just don't get started about the toilet paper roll direction and peeling off the banana...
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:24
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

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he doesn't even really feel "Italian" any more.
Interesting. All of the students I have that were born in Italy but moved to Switzerland when they were very young still feel Italian!


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Upside down, fell on the floor, made a mess ? What is then the *proper* way ?
Apparently, you're supposed to cut into it in "columns", rather than take layers off the top. Obviously.


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One thing did strike me .. he eats his food separately
Yes, and my OH finds it funny when I mix everything together. I found the same thing when I stayed with his family. They looked at me like I was a complete freak. Hmmm... maybe that was for another reason...
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:27
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

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Jaja. Just don't get started about the toilet paper roll direction and peeling off the banana...
No argument there, I'm afraid:





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Old 02.10.2011, 00:30
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

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No argument there, I'm afraid:





Bollox.

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Old 02.10.2011, 00:33
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

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And you got THAT right as well.
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:35
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

Sorry, I'm with Caleb on the loo roll issue.

However, an English friend of mine once got seriously berated by a mutual French friend for cutting the 'nose' (ie, the tip) off a triangle of Brie. Apparently this is just not done.
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:44
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

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Sorry, I'm with Caleb on the loo roll issue.

However, an English friend of mine once got seriously berated by a mutual French friend for cutting the 'nose' (ie, the tip) off a triangle of Brie. Apparently this is just not done.
Wow, I always cut the nose. How very un chic
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Old 02.10.2011, 00:46
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

I had to spend hours learning how to pile a few peas on the back of a fork - and then drink soup 'backwards' and finally tipping the soup plate backwards to finish. Hilarious.

And then there is the whole saga about what to do with hands at the table, and how to place knives and forks when you have finished.

+ all this silliness about having a pud THEN cheese... what

I never laughed so much (yes in was in 1970) when we had to stand at the end of the film at the cinema and listen to God Save the Queen- I nearly died (trying to stop laughing).

The worst ever experience was going to a dinner party at OH's new boss and partners when we first moved to the Midlands - where ladies had to 'withdraw and go powder noses' (NO no that kind of powder) .. whilst the chaps had port and cigars and 'proper conversation. I nearly left the UK the next day- and had steam coming out of my ears for weeks. FFS- I'd come to the UK to see Hendrix at the Isle of Wight, not THAT! They soon got the message, lol.

I invited a neighbour and children for 'tea' and gave them tea and cake - by 5.30 they were still there, and one little girl said loudly 'but Mummy when are we going to have tea?' - and hadn't got a clue as we had just moved from London to the Midlands.

The list is endless - much confusion and great fun.
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Old 02.10.2011, 11:56
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

Dealing with butter during breakfast: a french-swiss morning incident almost leading to a war.

- french: scrape across the top of the butter.
- swiss: delicately slice off a little pat
Attached Images
  
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Old 02.10.2011, 12:45
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

Yes, terrible behaviour- shame on you Brit OH used to do that - but recently he told his sister off (aged 70) off for scraping the butter off the top, hilarious.

Worse thing is, Brit OH is going all Swiss on me now- lovely sunny and hot day today - and he's put the bedding to hang outside the windows (mind you- we live in the countryside with the smell of fresh hay [no muck spreading today!]) and it will all feel lovely when I put fresh sheets on tonight.
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Old 02.10.2011, 21:30
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

Quote:
The worst ever experience was going to a dinner party at OH's new boss and partners when we first moved to the Midlands - where ladies had to 'withdraw and go powder noses' (NO no that kind of powder) .. whilst the chaps had port and cigars and 'proper conversation. I nearly left the UK the next day- and had steam coming out of my ears for weeks. FFS- I'd come to the UK to see Hendrix at the Isle of Wight, not THAT! They soon got the message, lol.
A dinner conversation like this Odile?



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Old 02.10.2011, 23:04
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Re: Bi-cultural relationships

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Interesting. All of the students I have that were born in Italy but moved to Switzerland when they were very young still feel Italian!...
My next door neighbour is Italian, but has lived in Switzerland all his life. He felt Italian... until he tried to live there for three months. Too Swiss now. But very cool, nonetheless.

My wife are bi-cultural, but don't seem to have much conflict. She's learned the English way (before she met me), and I don't argue...
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