Thursday, August 22, 2013

Taking a look at my culture and family

     Like a fish in a bowl, I hadn't realized that the world was so big. I had such a distorted view from inside my bowl, and someone had to lift me out for me to see the world as it really was.

     It had been 7 years since I had visited my mother country. While I was somewhat melancholy about leaving my friends and Western comforts, I was somewhat excited; I thought it would be just like America, but as a "developing" country it would have primitive bathrooms, etc. What I found was something completely different.

   In America, the primary personal unit is the individual; in many cultures, it is the family. While I originally thought it was annoying to have family constantly around you, I realize that I never quite understood the meaning of the word. Family sticks together through thick and thin even when friends leave; this cohesiveness allowed Pakistanians and Indians to recover from devastating earthquakes. By stepping out of the fishbowl, I have learned that while independence has its benefits, family is definitely beneficial as well, in its own way.

   I also feel 'out of the fishbowl' on arranged marriages. Now, I know what you're probably thinking. "This is the 21st century! Haven't we moved past these old customs?" Well, part of "developing" means that my country has held on to some older traditions. This is definitely not a bad thing. Imagine someone just out of college, looking to find their identity and place in the world. It's tough to suddenly be living on your own, while also looking for a job, and while also worrying about dating.. .Now imagine the same person, with a spouse in the same situation. As they find their place in the world together and support each other, both their loads are lessened greatly. Additionally, two separate families are united in helping them. My parents had an arranged marriage, and their love for each other has only grown as I have.
       I could go on and on about things I love about my culture and others, but here's the bottom line. I am still in my mother country, and I love how much different so many things are: it opens my mind up to both sides of other situations. I will bring my culture back with me, such that I will never truly leave.
Which culture can you learn from?
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