A Basque in Boise

Cultural differences

It’s interesting how the very same attitude that can ruin someone’s evening would most definitely make my day. Those were my thoughts a couple of days ago as I read through Hellabasque’s Dirty Old Basque Women blog post.

For starters, I don’t like them being called dirty, but that’s probably because I’m definitely on my way to becoming one of them. Just call me a dirty middle age Basque woman for now. Obviously, cultural differences have everything to do with the way she and I feel. For example, we have a very different take on personal space. As in there is no personal space in the Basque Country. We don’t even have the concept, much less a name for it. People are all up in your face, both literally and figuratively, and nobody cares. You can always push them away or ask them politely to shut the hell up when you’ve had enough.

However, I understand that it’s hard to relinquish your personal space if you grew up pinky-hugging – that’s what they’re teaching the kids at my children’s school. I get all riled up every time I think about it. What a stupid rule. It could always be worse, I guess. At least they’re not required to sanitize their fingers with Purell beforehand. Yet.

I miss the blunt honesty of the people back home, even when it borders rudeness. I rather somebody say to my face that my sweater is hideous, than behind my back. They want to weigh in on my relationship status? Go ahead. “It’s not your business” is in my vocabulary and I’m not afraid to use it.

I must say, I am overly sensitive these days. Christmas time has always been difficult for me since I left Bilbao. Even though I make the best of it with my kids and friends, the holidays make it painfully clear that my family is 3000 miles away and won’t be joining me for dinner on Christmas Eve. I will miss my sister’s birthday again, the following day, I forget how many years in a row 2013 will make. And don’t get me started on missing out on my mom’s chocolate cake!

On that note, I think I’m due for a candy bar. Chocolate makes everything better when it’s too early for wine.

Thanks for passing by: ↓

maria jesus jimenez Diana Donald Steven Roosevelt

5 thoughts on “Cultural differences

  1. Diana

    Sad to say, but give ’em time. Soon Purell will be mandatory before and after pinky-hugging. I also miss touching, kissing, and hugging people without expecting to be charged with assault after doing it. And, by the way, your sweater is hideous.

  2. maria jesus jimenez

    No te preocupes hija, sabes que estamos muy lejos pero siempre pensando los unos en los otros.Tú disfruta de tus niños que son lo más precioso que tienes y el día de Navidad para el cumple de tu hermana estaremos juntos aunque sea por el ordenador .Te queremos muchísimo.

  3. Steven Roosevelt

    I know the feeling. My parents have passed on and my children all live in California. 600 miles is as far as 5156 miles (Boise to Bilbao via great circle route) when it comes to being alone.
    One of the advantages of having been raised by members of the greatest generation (and being of a certain age) is that I can call Bravo Sierra for what it is.
    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a wondrous New Year.

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