29 October, 2007

Culture-Crossing Couples

It's a cliché to say that the British and Americans are two peoples divided by a common language but often enough Lisa and feel like the living embodiment of this fact. We both claim to speak English but our cultures are much more different than is generally supposed. While this is most often a source of enrichment and expanded horizons, it can also lead to surprisingly difficult frustrations. For that reason we take special pleasure in the company of other cross-cultural couples, whether Anglo-Chinese, Indo-Norwegian or, as in the case of our dinner guests on Saturday, Italian-Korean.

Our Neapolitan friend, Chiara, introduced us to Clemente from Northen Italy last August but it took to now for us to meet his lovely Korean wife Myung Hee. As this was their first time as our guests we subjected them to our signature appetiser of escargots and the main course was pizza, partly contributed by Clemente. Much of the conversation was taken up with comparing notes on our various experiences in getting hooked up with a partner from another culture and how we manage the tensions that cross-cultural living throws up.

Our menu for the evening was conspicuously missing any contribution from Myung Hee's part of the world, so we quickly agreed that our next get-together should rectify that and focus on Korean cuisine. We hope it won't be very long at all before that comes off. As always the talk ran late into the evening and so it came about that, in the photo (taken right at the end of the evening), Lisa is checking the times of the last bus home with our guests: it had already gone, so a taxi was summoned forthwith!

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