Wednesday, October 22, 2008

American culture is...

So what is the American culture?

Recently, I had to explain Americans and our culture concerning the most universal thing--love. Yep, that's right. I was in a private Spanish class and the lesson derailed into a discussion about the dating worlds of America and Chile...and just how far apart these worlds really are.

First let's talk about America. America is all about the individual. Of course we get married and have families, but our history reveals us as proud, independent individuals. And that history shapes how we relate: how we marry or divorce or never marry at all. As a country, we thrive on taking risks, forging ahead, leading. Relationships take a backseat.

Conversely, where America emphasizes individuality, Chile emphasizes the family. They thrive on being a part of a tight-knit community. To not have family is to be lost.

So how does this translate into basic socializing and then on to dating? In Chile, when you greet someone, even someone you don't know, you kiss them on the right cheek (establishing a tight-knit feeling from the get-go). Americans use a handshake to ensure distance. Chileans express their feelings the second they feel them. We can hardly say I love you to our parents, let alone to friends and lovers. In Chile, after a month of dating, you become boyfriend/girlfriend. A month! In America, you're just beginning to get used to having someone in your personal space.

That's why I think America is a country of cats, squirming and scratching the second someone tries to hold onto us too tightly or for too long.

To Chileans who make out in parks well into their fifties, the idea of not immediately being together, not immediately forming a tight unit, is impossible.

So here’s the question: who’s right? The one who jumps blindly into love? Or the one who never jumps at all?

I know. I know. Serious question. Anyone care to answer?

Que te vaya bien,

C in C

1 comment:

centro cultural virtual said...
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