That culture thing

This is only a topic I have mentioned multiple times before, but it comes up often and it still amuses me.

I’m teaching English conversation to a Korean couple (lovely people) and this week we worked on a few words related to common health issues, especially for the missionary community. =)  So of course, this included words like constipation, diarrhea, and so on.  We went over the words and then I said that while it was okay in the missionary/ex pat community, normally, Americans do not talk about this stuff and not in detail.

She looked at me in stunned amazement.  she was sure she didn’t understand me.  Then she thought I was joking.  I told her I was serious, we really don’t, and when other people do,  it makes many people uncomfortable.

“Why?’ she asked.  “It’s so important!”

I told her I didn’t know why we found it awkward and other people don’t.  IT doesn’t make sense, but it is the way it is.

“Oh.” she nodded and shrugged. “Custom.”

She might have murmured something in Korean under her breath, and it might have been translated as “Strange custom.”

Or maybe I was only mind-reading.

This is the same lovely friend that I embarrassed to the point of  shuddering goose-bumps by calling to my husband across a few meters of space at school, “Love you!  See you later!”  There wasn’t a crowd around, either, just two or three other people in the area.

Because you don’t say ‘I love you’ to your spouse in public like that. It’s awkward.


(she really is a sweet, sweet lady, and I shall miss her badly when we go back to the U.S.)


P.P. S. We are attempting to arrange our ducks in a row and work out an arrangement whereby we could continue to do some work for the school in the U.S. and come here for six months at a time instead of being away a year at a time.  There’s a lot of ducks to work out with that, so if you could pray with and for us that we are clear about where and how we can be used and work out next.  Thanks.

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