Tuesday, April 27, 2010

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.

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