February 20, 2013

Experience difference

It constantly amazes me what a difference there is between my experience and the experiences of people I meet here. One person I know, for example, likes to insist that he's going to have me deported. Because he's an Emirati and has power in this country he thinks it'd be easy. But when he first informed me of his Emirati status, with all sorts of entitlement, I just laughed. "I'm American," I reminded him. And I meant it in a million of my own entitled ways. (My citizenship is more valuable worldwide. It's very hard to deport an American. And even if somehow he managed the feat, he'd be deporting me back to America, the land that people dream about.)

He didn't get it though, and I muttered to myself, "You know nothing of the world."

But really I meant that he knows nothing of my world. Because my experiences growing up were nothing like his. I never would have made an obnoxious comment about deporting someone, but that's because I had no concept of deportation until at least high school. This guy has possibly witnessed many deportations, former nannies or co-workers. At the very least, he's heard about it as a possibility for someone. Because it is always a possibility for the majority of the population here.

My boyfriend also constantly shows me how differently he grew up from how I grew up. This weekend, for example, there were roses. And I put a petal in my mouth, as if I was going to eat it. And he encouraged me to do so. And in a halfhearted attempt to convince myself to do it, I rambled about how some people do eat them in salads. But then I wavered because I wasn't actually sure about rose salads. So I said that I definitely knew people ate dandelions...

And then I paused and stated flatly, "You don't even know what dandelions are."

He's never seen snow either. As someone who grew up seeing feet of snow pile up at times, that is insane to me. On the other hand, I'd never heard a call to prayer before I lived here. And that's probably just as insane to him.


7 comments:

  1. I've eaten rose petals before. They taste exactly how you would imagine them to, with a bit of an oddly leather-y texture, almost.

    It was a very strange feeling.

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    1. Yeah, I bit into it and it tastes like it smells. But the texture was weird. And I couldn't actually chew it. I suppose it's probably an acquired taste.

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  2. It blows my mind how different people are. Sometimes I'm so into my bubble that when someone with different experiences talks to me I get a huge dose of reality just shoved in my face.

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    1. Right? Since we got into couchsurfing this summer and hosted about 10 different people/couples, this has become so obvious. Most of the time it's fascinating. Sometimes it's just awkward or weird stuff, though, and it seems to be mainly the Germans (sorry to stereotype). For example, one thought it was totally OK to make a slanty eye joke about me (we'd known each for less than a day). Seriously? I mean it was all in good humour and I laughed - I wasn't offended - but I think that's in bad taste. If we were friends, sure, but we were strangers who had just met.

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  3. It is really weird when you think of it. People are so diverse and it is crazy how in the end, we are all people. People but just so different. Amazing huh?

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  4. Thanks for posting that video of the call to prayer! I'm glad that I saw it, and it actually reminds me a bit of the Christian Gregorgian chants that the monks used to sing. And your post made me excited, because I can now tell people who stare at me and shake their heads (mom and boyfriend...) whenever I eat a flower that it's done elsewhere! :P

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  5. Ahhh deportation. It IS so crazy how things we take as "normal" is completely bizarre to others. Or cultural do's and don'ts and stuff...

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