19 March 2009


Friends and conversations

Last week we had Dutch friends who live in Marche visit us for a couple days. As this was Andre and Carlien's first time in the Cilento area we had the opportunity to show them some of the sights we have discovered in the short period we have been here and they enjoyed taking in Paestum, some of the mozzarella farms and drives along the coast. The time together also afforded us the opportunity to talk about our shared experiences with why and how we moved to Italy. It was interesting that we were also able to discuss some of the cultural differences between Americans and Dutch, as well as many of the similarities.

One of the things we have enjoyed about living in Italy is being able to experience and connect with different cultures, not just Italian, as we meet people who have moved here or travel here from other countries. I don’t just mean differences in foods or language but how people view simple things like how you should greet someone for the first time. The little things you won’t see unless you live in that culture. This provides an opportunity to see how other countries view America; I think this is something many living in America have limited access to.

The twenty years we lived in New Mexico gave us our first in-depth glimpse at how stark cultural differences can be as that state boasts a strong tri-cultural society: Native Americans, Hispanic and Anglo. We have friends in all three cultures and were able to see how the Native American and Hispanic cultures have some unique differences to our own Anglo culture. We are all Americans but we found many Anglos did not appreciate or take the time to understand the cultural differences, sometimes coming across as rude and arrogant.

Living in Italy has given us a wider exposure and understanding of other cultures and their views of Americans…both good and bad.

No comments: