Learning about cultural differences the hard way Continue reading Do You have a cold heart?
Note: I am an American expatriate living in Peru. Living in another culture offers the opportunity to see things from another angle. We have much to learn from each other. LP I have a student who is a successful businessman in Lima, Peru. He is a thoughtful, intelligent person. His work is important to him. Even more important is his role as a father. His love for his son and his care for his boy’s upbringing has impressed me. We meet two hours a week for an advanced conversation class in English. We often talk about the raising of children, … Continue reading Raising a Child in Peru
“American men like to fix things. They love to do home repairs.” I was listening uncomfortably, glass in hand, to a know-it-all Brazilian lady who had lived in California for many years. “Sure,” I told her, “many American men do love to tinker in the home. Look at the great success of businesses like Home Depot. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. A tool in my hand is a dangerous weapon. I promise you that I will do more harm than good whenever I try to fix something. Instead of a fixer upper, I’m a fixer downer. I destroy things. … Continue reading Handyman Blues
Educado or educated Two words. One in Spanish and the other in English. They appear to be the same, but have completely different meanings. I have learned by living in Peru that there is an important gap in understanding between the cultures in this respect. We may use very similar words, but mean something completely different. Does it matter? Yes, it does. In English when we say that someone is well educated, we mean just that and no more. They have received a good education at good schools, maybe even a prestigious university. As a result, they know a lot. … Continue reading Educated or Well Mannered?
Dear Reader, the other day I went to check my email and found this letter on my computer. I thought you might be interested. Larry Hi Cousin, Thanks for the letter. Isn’t this dog internet great? My brother Falcor and I think that you have a perfect life on the farm, chasing sheep, and even catching a rabbit once in a while. Yum. Barking at the moon at night also seems like great fun. In comparison, life in Barranco seems quite dull. (note from Larry: Barranco is the District of Lima, Peru, where we live) The best we can do … Continue reading One Dog’s Life in Peru
MEDITATIONS ON CRUNCHINESS I love bananas, and Peru has a number of varieties that were new to me. Taking advantage of the situation, I’ve tried every type of banana I have come across. In doing so, I have found that there are lots of distinctive tastes in the banana family, but I haven’t met one yet that I didn’t like. So, in a short time, I have made a considerable dent in the national banana supply while I’ve been living in Peru. However, since we humans are fickle, my loyalty has recently waivered and my current favorite fruit is the … Continue reading Meditations on Crunchiness
The little girl, five years old, walked up to me. She could see that I was having difficulty walking. An old injury had flared up and I needed to use a cane to get around. It was difficult and painful for me to walk and she noticed. “I’ll help you,” she said to me. She grabbed my hand and we proceeded to walk down the street. All the while she was also engaging me in conversation. Maybe she wanted to take my mind off the pain of walking. Then her six year old brother came up and took over until … Continue reading I’ll Never Walk Alone
Lon looked at his watch once again. “They said it would start at 1:00 PM.” He looked at the crowded, jammed freeway with frustration. “We’ll never make it.” I shook my head in amazement. Lon has lived a good part of his life in Peru. He is an American and that is the problem. I told him that he ought to know by now it is rare that anything starts even close to the designated time in Peru. That is true. He ought to know it, but the American value of punctuality has been so deeply ingrained that he feels … Continue reading Locked in Time
I won’t pretend to be an expert on being a foreigner. That is a very personal experience. I also wouldn’t want to give the impression that I know how anybody else feels. However, I have been a foreigner for much of my life and in a number of countries. So I know a little about myself being a foreigner. Unlike others who find themselves refugees from climate change or political unrest, I am a voluntary foreigner. We are called expatriates. First and foremost, to me being a foreigner means freedom. Staying in one culture all your life means restricting yourself … Continue reading To Be Foreign
My dog and I were walking the streets of Barranco , district of Lima, Peru, as usual. A woman with a young child approached from the opposite direction. The little girl hid behind her mother’s skirts. She wanted to pet the big dog, but was a little scared. Her mother encouraged her ( in Spanish, of course). “Go ahead. It is OK. He is very gentle.” Falcor, my dog, seemed to understand. He approached the little girl and nuzzled her softly. At first she backed away. Finally , she reached out and stroked the soft fur of my dog. … Continue reading The Touch
Independence isn’t what it cracked up to be Continue reading STANDING ALONE. ARE YOU SURE?