Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Still Adapting

Just today Ginger and I were made aware of a Polish custom that we had been totally oblivious to in the last year. To further push our language acquisition and to practice Christian hospitality we have been inviting families, from our church, to the apartment each week. This always proves to be an enjoyable but tiring experience. By the end of the night our heads our hurting from all the Polish conversation. For Ginger this is compounded by the pressure of hosting and preparing the dinner. So when our guests talk about leaving we inwardly jump for joy and help them to the door. During our lesson today we learned that this is horrible on the part of the hosts. In Polish culture, when your guests mention that its time to leave, it is the host's responsibility to follow with "no, please have tea or coffee, and stay longer." This little exchange is supposed to go on two or three times for another half an hour to an hour. The funny thing about this custom is that if you are the guest, you need to start mentioning your desire to leave a good half hour before you actually want to leave. Having learned of this custom just today, an awkward experience from a month ago was suddenly made clear. Our guests mentioned their desire to leave and I proceeded to help them get their things together, while doing so I remember being a little unnerved by the look on their faces. So I get the dunce cap, and we realize once again that we are still learning about the culture.

1 comment:

Amy Blackburn said...

Wow, that must have been an interesting lesson to learn. Who would have known? Here it is the polite thing to walk someone all the way out to their car, stand outside and wave as they drive away. I did find out that the polite thing for me to do, since I live in a flat (apartment) is to stand on my balcony and wave one last time before they leave. (I hadn't been doing that but hey NOW I know.) Foreign cultures - always a learning experience!!