Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Taking the chance to look through someone else's eyes...by kim

My theme last week seemed to be about reminiscing, this week, I seem to be thinking a lot about seeing things differently, through someone else's eyes, through a French person's eyes.

Since knowing Thomas, I am amazed at how one person could change one big person and 2 little peoples points of views. He has given us the gift of looking outside of our boxes! Making us realize there was more than just the views that we had been presented in our giant bubble of a country. We have so much diversity, but unless we actually listen to those people we will only see it the ways a family presents it or worse, how media presents it.

I grew up with a German mom, so I have more of a European background than the normal American. But she never presented or taught so much to us. With every little thing, the frog is teaching us, showing us a different way. It's all so interesting and unless its pointed out to you, you just think it's normal for everyone.

When he first came here, he wondered why the houses didn't have fences and gates, well I explained that we liked to be free and not have such monstrosities and confinements, but then recalled how much I adored the fences and gates in Germany. Yeah why don't we have little fences outlining our yard, we don't really want our neighbors on our property, or their dogs, or kids and we just expect them to know where that property is exactly!

When he noticed all the houses were made in wood, he wondered why they were not in stone, surely the insulation would be much better and they would last longer, and besides that how could families pass down houses and keep them in the families years after, if they were made in wood, they would never last more than a hundred years. I had no clue, we've come up with many theories, from wood being cheaper, to people moving so often, not really caring if a house lasted or not, to that way back when France was building houses they mainly had stone and not many 2x4's. But really I had no idea!

He gave us a new way of eating chocolate, before we would just chomp down a whole bar, we loved it so much, he taught us to take a small piece, savor it in our mouths, enjoy it, and put it away, to wait for the next day. Pickles gave one of his favorite teachers a chocolate bar, and explained that is the best way to enjoy chocolate. Believe me, at first, when he gave us this spiehl, we looked at eachother and said "okay, but really can we have another piece NOW", but slowly, we realized it does taste so much better when we savior it!

So now we take our time while eating, we put less importance on getting the dinner on the table by 6pm, and take our time getting it ready as a family, setting a nice table, (or at least trying) cooking together, chatting and eating as late as 8 or 9pm. At first I questioned, but its not good to eat so late, its bad for indigestion and it will add pounds quickly, he reminded me that the French have been doing it forever and don't suffer from those problems I stated.

When I first met him, and we were talking about how much we were learning from eachother. I made the comment, that every American, should have in their lifetime, a Penpal from another country, just to discuss differences and pick each others brains! It's a big world out there, and things are different all over, but all in all, (as one of my most favorite blogger says) people are people, the world over!


At May 02, 2006, Anonymous Alison said...

Yeah! Good post!

At May 03, 2006, Blogger cncz said...

I agree wholeheartedly! I think our "cultural differences" (and I do consider Nice Husband as a French person for most intents and purposes, being all second-generation and all) are what make my marriage interesting, even workable. Never a dull moment. Good post!

At May 03, 2006, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Hey Kim - there are many more differences but this is very interesting for sure. Did you know that on the West Coast, we have fences! Yes, certainly this is true throughout California. And here in BC, many people do have fences, but I don't think it is mandatory.

As for the East Coast, I know it is different there. Odd how that is. We actually didn't have a fence in Montreux, nor did I see many while living near Basel.

I enjoy the differences too as P is from Quebec and he has taught me many differences too. And by the way, I ironically savor my chocolate for days, especially Swiss Chocolate. :)

At May 03, 2006, Blogger carra said...

Lovely blog, I read most of the articles and now my eyes are hurting and everything seems to be blury (so please forgive me for the spelling mistakes). Differences is what makes the world an interesting place to be in. I guess that's why I married an Englishman rather than a Lithuanian (a cold shiver ran through my back from the thought!). And the yoghurt well I live in France right now I think I could write a book about yoghrut (and it's not easy to make unless you have real fresh cows (or any other milk-giving-animal's) milk) and I loved the story about the chocolate cake! Great blog, great job, keep it coming!

At May 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I forgot to tell you I tried the coleslaw out on my princess and she almost cried at the thought of having to eat it. Of course the little prince loved it! But we finished off the meal with not chocolate cake, but a 25 cent gumball. Which ended up drewling blue dye about 10 inches down the front of her shirt! Too bad the coleslaw was gone!

At May 03, 2006, Anonymous jillybean said...

sorry my name didnt come up, it says anonymous

At May 04, 2006, Blogger Kim/Thomas said...

When I was posting this..I was drawing a blank (I was starting with allergies, so my mind was very fuzzzzy) But I forgot to mention the rating system in movies, he is always soo surprised that we censor for sex and bad words (sex baaaad) but that we allow our kids to watch as much violence as they can (guns ookaaaaay). YET the USA is biggest in the porn industry, go figure!

ugh, i just drew a blank again, there was something else...ahhh, its gone:) I'm spacey these days:) better not post anything new, till the tree in front of my house stops shedding its little yellow thingies!

At May 04, 2006, Blogger carra said...

Well sex and violence I picked up on it. I do dislike it here in France that in the late afternoon (or any time of the day) there can appear a woman who is topless on TV etc. I know sex is not bad, but I wouldn't like my child (if I had one) who is say 6 years old to look at someone tits! Violence, well I think it's enough violence and sex on French TV in fact sometimes it makes me horrified how men in TV shows behave with the girls wearing short skirts (even if they are married) but though I do dislike women who sunbathe by the hotel swimming pool totally topless, i still think it's a lack of respect. I think if I will ever have children the TV will be the first thing I would get rid of! And yes I know I am a prude but I am very comfortable with it.

At May 04, 2006, Blogger Pardon My French said...

Liked your post! There are so many little things that are fun to discover like that...food as a cultural difference was one of the first that came up between me and my very own frog. It makes life interesting, to say the least, and we laugh a lot in the process. Of course, now the shoe is on the other foot and mf (new blog term for 'my frog?) has been a patient listener as I talk about my daily discoveries here. Oh, and ask Pickle when he's going to write in his blog again!

At May 04, 2006, Blogger moe said...

I love watching the news or reading newspapers from other places. It's always interesting to see the different perspective.

Good for you for trying new things!

At May 05, 2006, Anonymous Pumpkin said...

Very true...my husband and I taught each other many things.
He taught me to slow down and enjoy things while I taught him to be go with the flow and have fun...sometimes it is just fun to go without a plan. He used to hate when I said whatever because he said it isn't whatever...it matters. Now, he understands my whatever means don't worry over things that can't be changed. He says whatever now too. As our children grow it will be interesting to see which cultural pieces they pick up...what do they like that is American or what do they like that is French.

My husband made me see the world through new eyes and I did the same for him. It has changed our lives for the better.


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