I was just talking to my officemate about a client who came in today and walked out with my calendar. She wanted to know why I gave it to her. Here’s why:
I know that in Arab or Muslim cultures, when a guest admires something of yours, you give it to them. No matter what, even if it’s your last or if it’s very expensive. It’s an insult to refuse the gift. Well, my client is South American and she admired a Spanish calendar in my office with survivors’ stories of empowerment all through it. So, borrowing from my Arab brethren, I gave it to her. She was pleased. She wants to share it with her daughters who are survivors of their father’s abuse.
This reminded me of another custom shared with me by my beloved Trini, Kwesi. He taught me never to return an empty dish. So, if I bring a dish to your house and leave it, you (the host) fill the dish with food when you give it back to me. I had the same experience with Korean friends. I think it’s neat. My conclusion is that the whole world is so much more cultured than we damned Americans. Our version of returning a dish goes like this:
Here’s your Tupperware. Sorry ’bout the spaghetti stains that got burned into in the microwave!
And our version of admiring something in your home:
Admirer: Wow, that’s a really nice @#$@#$.
American: Sure is. It’s an original @#$@#$@#$%#. Cost us $6 bizillian. I think it looks fabulous with our $8 bizillian %^*%%^*%%. Don’t you? Next year we’re going to add the ~^%$^, $14 bizillian!
Admirer: (thinking) WTH???
Anyways, I’m off to pack my bag for my vacation. I’m going go. Thanks for all who chimed in. The apartment isn’t exactly packed, but I’ll get as much done tonight as I can and then just have a killer weekend when I get back.
I don’t know what my internet access will be. I may go through withdrawl from you all for a couple of days. :-(!
Have fun without me!
OH!! And, if anybody wants to help with the move, be at my “old” place at 11am Sunday, August 13th. If you can’t make it then, call me for directions to the new place. Mojitos for all who pitch in.
LOVE to all!