Saturday, September 29, 2012

Getting Together Culturally

We recently had 3 Nicaraguan families over for a brunchy kinda breakfast thing. Overall, it was a lovely morning and all the kids (7 in total) had a great time. It definitely helps that our three kids are bilingual-ish. However, there were awkward moments of silence and some dead-end conversations. I realize that at my current level of Spanish, I am more like a conversation ender. Yet, I found that even the conversations between our Spanish speaking friends, were a slight bit awkward at times.

At a more recent gathering in our neighborhood, I was able to ask a Nicaraguan friend about my observations. I asked if “getting together just because” was a part of Nicaraguan culture. She informed me that, in general, it is not. People will certainly gather for birthday parties and church events, but casual get-togethers are not common. If I understood correctly, having “deep conversations” are not necessarily common either...especially not with 'foreigners.'

These cultural insights were helpful to learn. While Jeff and I are not overly social people, we do enjoy having a few friends over to share a meal and talk. I don't think we will stop having "get-togethers" with our Nicaraguan friends...but it is good to be aware of the “strangeness” they may feel experiencing a “different culture.”

I had the opportunity to share with one of our original brunch guests about how I had just learned, after-the-fact, that casual get-togethers are not part of Nica culture. I somewhat apologized for the cultural blunder. But she said that it was a good experience and she was blessed to get to know another guest from that gathering.

Always learning. Always growing.