Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trip to Iowa

Cultural Awareness – An interview with Ling

Cultural Awareness – An interview with Ling

I conducted an interview with my friend, Ling, who was original from Thailand, about
her personal experiences in American society. Her cross-cultural marriage with her
husband, an Italian American man. I’ll explore some of the most challenging aspects of
her cross-cultural marriage, her relationship with her husband both inside America and
outside America, and how they tolerate for the difference in religion, the food they eat.
Ling is original from Bangkok Thailand, she studied in Bell Uinversity. She
met her husband in the restaurant where she worked after school. After she married
to her husband, she experienced some of the challenging of her cross-cultural marriage.
First, the preference of the food , the food they ate was different. She cooked Thai

food at home all the time, she liked spicy food and curry chicken. However, her

husband didn’t like Thai food at all, he didn’t like the smell of the curry, he would ask

her not to cook inside the house. He let her cook in their backyard. Ling didn’t like

American food at all, she even didn’t like to give herself a try, when it came to the dinner,

her husband ate at his mother’s home, Ling only cooked for herself. Secondly, Ling’s

religious was different from her husband. she believed in Buddhism, and her husband’s
religious was catholic, she would not want to go to church with her husband, she said

that her husband didn’t try to Americanize her. After her daughter was born, her mom

came to help her taking care of baby for 6 months. Later, she spent $1000 applied for

green card for her mom to immigrate to the US. Her mom refused to come, the reason

was she couldn’t find a temple to worship here in our city. She would rather stay at

Thailand. Ning was upset, she didn’t talk to her mom after that.

Thirdly, her husband first visited Thailand disappointed her. Her husband didn’t want

to try any Thai food during his visit in Thailand, all he wanted was hamburger and

mashed potatoes. She had to go to the American restaurant to buy hamburger for him

every day.
Furthermore, Ling could not get used to see her husband “going Dutch” with his sister
and his mother when they were eating out in the restaurant. This embarrassed her. She
thought that her husband should buy the meal for his mother and sister instead of going
Dutch with them. In her culture, to show respect to the elder, son or daughter always
paid for his/her parents meal when eating out in the restaurant.
Finally, she got all sorts of questions about not changing her married name, when she
got married, she didn’t change her last name and take her husband’s last name. when
people asked her why she didn’t want everyone to know whom she was married to, she
said yes, but her name had nothing to do with it. She still kept her original name.

Ling and her husband should realize that when you married your spouse, you married
his or her culture too. This is both the challenge and opportunity of cross-cultural
marriage. Though from a different culture, You and your spouse are joint as one. This
shared identity, enabled by honest communication, transforms your differences from
liabilities to assets by leveraging cultural strengths. Your marital diversity covers one
another's weaknesses, broadens your ideas, models healthy conflict resolution.

The Day My Nephew Died

I was never more terrified than the day I lost my 19-year-old nephew in a motorcycle accident. He was my uncle’s grandson; a fine and delightful youngster. He was my best friend even though I was 10 years older than him. We all believe that he died of medical accident. In the past years, there have been an increasing number of medical accidents in various places around the country. My nephew was one of the victims.
The winter of 10, October, 1994 was the most unforgotten day in my life. I was waiting for my nephew, Yongzhu, to come to see me in my office, as he was supposed to come to have dinner with me in a local restaurant at 4:45pm. He didn’t show up as schedule, so, I called home several times but no one answered the phone. I waited until 7:00pm and still he didn’t come. Finally, I gave up and took a bus home. When I got home, my mom had already prepared dinner for me but I just didn’t have an appetite.
My two sisters weren’t home which was strange since they never went out at night. I asked my mom, “Where are my two sisters?"
"They went to the hospital to see your nephew, “replied my mom.
“What happened?” I asked with fear.
My mother replied, “His mother said that he was hit by a bus and he fell off of his motorcycle on the way home."
“Was he taken to the Xm hospital?” I asked. I asked this because the hospital in our town is worthless.
“He was lying on the road for an hour after the accident because the bus didn't stop.” Mom continued, “People found him and called the ambulance and the ambulance sent him to our hospital since it was the closest one. It would take another one hour to get to the biggest hospital, and they were afraid that time was running out, it would be too dangerous for him. “my mom said.
I rushed to the hospital emergency room; there were many friends and family members standing in the hall outside the emergency room. When dashed in, in front of me, I saw my nephew lying in a small bed, wearing a blue jacket. His blue jean was worn out; His face was as pale as snow; His lip was dry and pale; His eyes was filled with pain and sadness; I held his hand and he smiled at me; he always had a sweet smile. His hand was cold. There was a hole in the right side of his head just next to his right eyes, from that, I saw the blood dropping from the hole running down his face. He breathed rapidly trying to gain more time to see his love one. His body was trembling and the fishy smell of the blood filled in the air. Tears running down my chin, I prayed in my heart “Oh, God, please save him!” Suddenly, I heard the nurse saying that “There is no blood in our blood bank,” continued the nurse, “We have run out of the medicine and we are waiting for the medicine to stop his bleeding.”
“Where is the doctor?” I heard my cousin scream.
“Please save my son, he is dying. He has been here for an hour. Do something about it. I beg you!” cried Yongzhu’s mother.
The nurse said “We don’t have the brain surgery doctor here and we cannot move him to another hospital because he might die on the way to the other hospital.” The nurse said, “The medicine is on the way, hope we can stop the bleeding using that medicine.”
Yongzhu was getting weaker and weaker; his hand slipped down from my hand. Gradually, he closed his eyes. My heart was aching, “Oh no, God don’t take him away from us.” I prayed even harder. “He is gone,” said the doctor, “Please prepare for his funeral.”
“Wake up, son!” cried Yongzhu’s broken-heart mother. She still could not believe her son was gone. At that moment, I knew what the “broken-heart” really meant. Deep in a world of my own, I heard from far away, a voice saying goodbye. It was my nephew saying goodbye to all of us. He had been fighting for his life for more than 3 hours with the bleeding from his brain. He tried to delay the arrival of the death to save more time for him to wait for his love one.
Yongzhu could have saved if there was good doctor and enough medicine. He could have lived to marry with his beloved girlfriend and had his family if he was sent to the best hospital. It has been 16 years since Yongzhu died; I am still troubled by the medical accident happened to my nephew.