There are a few things that I think pretty much cross cultural boundaries.
* In one respect, my mother in law is much like Marie from Everyone Loves Raymond. Marie’s greeting was, “Hello dear, can I get you something to eat?” I have learned every variation of “Aren’t you hungry,” to fill an entire phrase book on this theme alone. And if My Sweet’s father were still alive I am sure he would be asking how the car is running and slipping him a bit of money every time we went out – for “emergencies”.
* Soap operas have a magnetic appeal. Right now my mother-in-law is drawn to some that come from Korea. Even though I understand neither Korean nor Japanese, I knew that Baby-Face guy loved both Doe-Eyed girl and All-Business gal, and struggled to know where his heart was. And it took no interpreter to understand what DE’s mother was saying when she thought BF had spent the night with her daughter (don’t worry, they had fallen asleep studying).
* Kids are cute. They just are, no matter where you go. The kids here are not too shy to look at the tall, blond, plus size foreigner. When I say hello to them, they usually hide behind their mother. But sometimes they will introduce themselves to me, being brave enough to shake my hand (or bow). Each time My Sweet whispers in my ear, “Aren’t you going to eat them?” He’s a bit strange sometimes.
* Though the amount expected to be spent differs, gift giving is important in society. And, it is usually left up to the women to take care of it. My Sweet says he doesn’t care, but I see him considering what we should bring from California for people. (FYI CA wine can be found here. We had gotten a bottle of Ironstone Wine and she already had a bottle. So much for hoping that a $10 bottle would be mistaken for something much more expensive. Yet another lesson in humility.)
Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!