Nasser, my ESL partner, and I got to meet up today to talk about our spring breaks. Nasser was eager to tell me all about his trip, driving all the way to Houston, Texas. On his trip, he, his sister, his brother-in-law, and their children, all drove to San Antonio, College Station, and Houston. He told me how much he did not like College Station because it was way too small and had absolutely nothing to do. Although he is not a big fan of Fort Worth, Texas, he did admit that he likes it much more than College Station and is glad he goes to TCU instead of Texas A&M. Ha, me too!
Nasser enjoyed the River Walk in San Antonio and thought it was a great place to visit. He enjoyed the night life, and loved exploring a new city. While in Houston, Nasser explained that he didn't do too much, but that it was a much needed break and he enjoyed the vacation. Although he got stuck following his sister around while she shopped, he enjoyed his trip to the southern areas of Texas.
Nasser asked me why everyone was wearing green yesterday, and I was able to tell him all about St. Patrick's Day! He thought it was just so funny that everyone wore green, shamrocks, and funny Irish clothing. He really got a kick out of the crazy holiday that we as Americans amplify to such a great level. And when you do think about the tradition, it is rather humorous!
I was able to tell Nasser all about my trip to New York, and he was very interested to learn about the different landmarks in New York City, for he has never been there before. I told him all about the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, and the Plaza. I even got to tell him about the St. Patrick's Day parade that was in full swing on Saturday.
A "parade" was a new term for Nasser to learn and he immediately related it to "Carnival." I find it so interesting that there are things, such as a parade, that we deem as a normal term or concept, but when we are asked why we do such things, it is difficult to explain. Sometimes the easiest response is ..."just because?" But that of course is no help.
When I tried to explain why we as American celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I realized that I didn't even know myself. Why do we celebrate it? Why do we all wear green, and get pinched if we don't? It is in fact an odd concept.
By talking to Nasser, I have become much more aware of my own country's customs, and I have recognized that they are not exactly "normal." But what really is normal? I personally don't think there is a normal, but rather things we have been accustomed to, and accepted as tradition without questioning why.
Now that I am more aware of the fact that our customs and traditions are not universal, I am more eager to understand the true meaning of why we do certain things and why we participate in particular traditions. My ESL discussions have made me much more aware and eager to learn.
until our next laugh,