July 11, 2008

Because I grew up in Vanuatu;

I prefer summer to winter
I’d rather swim in my clothes than in a swimsuit
I can sing two national anthems in two different languages
I wear thongs (flip flops to Americans) all the time, until it gets too cold
Because I wore thongs while growing up I have broad feet so it’s hard to find shoes that fit
I hate talking one on one with men/guys
I’m much more comfortable in skirts than pants
I do not question authority
I like to find the most inconspicuous place in the room and sit there
I raise my eye brows when I mean ‘yes’
I love doing actions to songs in church
Black sand doesn’t strike me as weird
I lower my head when I cross a room (In Vanuatu I would bend double but I learnt long ago that gets you weird looks in Australia)
I know the difference between coconut juice, coconut milk and coconut cream
Sitting on the floor is more comfortable than a chair
I believe all children should spend some time in a third would culture
I can use a bush knife
I can not say ‘no’ to anyone
If I have a problem with someone I never go to them – I go through a third person. I wish people would do the same when they have a problem with me.
I don’t have any problem when everyone in the room starts praying out loud at the same time.
I have tension in my body clock between Vanuatu time and Australian time
The minute someone comes over to our house I feel like I need to feed them
I never approach a group of men, I will walk around them
There are times when I really wish I didn't look so anglo, so then people would know straight away I'm not your average aussie girl.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post - although I would disagree that it has all come from growing up in vanuatu. You know the whole nature/nurture debate? Well I'd say some of it comes from growing up in Vanuatu (nurture) but other parts are just you! (nature).
There are some things that you have listed that I identify with even though I've grown up in Australia.

Erin said...

:), Elise I can so tell you have studied education.

I do understand what you mean. I think what I mean that while I know some of those are to do with who I am, I think that these things have become (almost crippling) instincts which in Australia I have to second guess.

Take the not being being able to say 'no' to anyone. I know it's part of who I am to not be able to disapoint anyone. Yet at the same time my sense of submitting to authority is instinctively strong I find it really hard to ignore, something I know comes from the culture and expectations I grew up with.

Say I had been asked to babysit for friends and then someone like my minister asked me to do something for him at the same time; even though I would hesitate, I am unable to say 'no'. Saying no, even for a legitiamte reason, is the height of rudeness. I have been asked to do both things, I have to do both things.

I would agree to both things, then have to work out how to do both at the same time. If it is not possible then I pull out of the one from the person who had less authority. A few years ago I would backed out of babysitting (generally by saying I was sick or something) because the person who asked that had less authority in my mind than my minister even though they had asked first.

Now I am better at doing it the aussie way and would just go home, and ask someone that we both know to go and say to my minister that I was unable to do what he had asked.

Does that make sense? I don't think I'm explaining it very well.