Friday, February 16, 2007

massive cultural gap

I was talking to a friend the other day about why I get along better with my grandfather than my grandmother.

The average conversation between me and my grandfather goes something like this (in Taiwanese, of course):

me:Hi Grandpa, I'm glad to hear that your hip is better.
gf:Yes, but my eyes are still not very good. How about you, how's work? Are you very busy this month?
me:No, it's not bad right now, I just had a deadline last week.
gf:What are you doing for exercise these days?
me:I've been playing in a basketball league once a week, and my team practices once a week, also.
gf:Do you have any fun upcoming plans?
me:Yes, I'm going to Hawaii with my friends, and we are going to hike and kayak and maybe go windsurfing.
gf:Maybe it's best if you don't go windsurfing; it's dangerous.

The average conversation between me and my grandmother goes something like this (again, in Taiwanese):

me:Hi Grandma, how is everything?
gm:Good. Are you getting married soon?

Okay, I exaggerate. But it's not far off, I swear.

My friend was saying that she has a similar problem with her older female relatives as well; they tend to be concerned primarily with whether we have boyfriends, when we're going to be married, and whether we're planning to have children soon. In contrast, our older male relatives are interested in our careers, our hobbies, and our daily lives.

We concluded that the cultural gap between American 21st century women and Taiwanese early 20th century women is much, much larger than the typical gap between grandparents and their grandchildren. Having that realization made me a little sad, but it doesn't stop me from feeling irritated when talking to my grandmother.


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