Thursday, November 4, 2010


I have oh so far to go in my language learning (!) but instead of just hearing static in the voices around me, my ears are starting to 'tune in' to the sounds better and understand some of what's going on around me randomly on the street. And sometimes I even hear phrases that I don't have to translate in my head before I understand them.

It's been really noisy outside lately even at night with another puja holiday coming this weekend. This one involves fireworks and chocolate bombs (think 'bomb'!) so it's added to the decibel level as well.

Last night I had just finally gotten to sleep when a yelling match erupted between a man and a woman right below our bedroom window. My first conscious thoughts were these words from the man (that my mind recognized without having to translate, YES!). "You are not from America, you are from ________ (our district in the city)." He was basically telling her to get off her high horse and to 'behave' because she was a local woman and shouldn't act like an American woman.

Hummmmm....................I'm really not sure how to respond to that. Was he saying that she didn't have the 'rights' of an American woman? Or was he holding up that type of woman as an undesirable example. Probably a bit of both.

I've been realizing lately that that's generally the perception of people here overall. Even when I'm clearly with my children I have advances made by local men because their perception is that 'American women divorce their husbands.' A local co-worker was talking with Aaron the other day and told him that he should marry a girl from here because 'she'll be more faithful than an American woman.'

Now most of this perception is from movies and TV so it's not based on factual experience, but that's what they think of my countrywomen. And since they see America's people as that, and since 'American' is 'Believing' to them........well, you can connect the train of thought as to what their perceptions are. Not good.

There are obviously heaps of things not right from my point of view as to what is expected of the woman here and how they are treated, but it was a good insight into the kind of mindset that we face.

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