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Strange, surreal moments, and false prejudices.

June 6, 2008

After eight long years of speaking with her on the internet (yes, it has been that long), and at least one failed start, Ashley and I finally got to meet face to face tonight. I really wasn’t quite sure how to act (and the fact that I don’t know Southern customs doesn’t help). Fortunately Ashley’s always been a decisive sort of person, so much delighted talking and some hugging followed.

Contrary to some people,s fear, she and I get along very nicely, pretty much as well as we ever did online. Which is to say, we had a great deal of fun on the way to the diner (and on the way back, and during the parts of the diner we sat next to one another (she, of course, had to sort of sit a bit at every table. It’s sort of what happens when one’s the center of attention).

My english’s really coming along nicely. On the first day I had to ask almost everyone to repeat a few times what they were saying. On today, I didn’t have to do it nearly as often – and I talked to a lot more people today than the previous days. Though to be fair most of them were capable somewhat french speakers as well, so it might be that they mentally adjusted. (We did not speak french much. John – the groom – is about the only I actually exchanged a few words with in French. I do plan to do it a little bit more tomorrow – mostly because it should be an effective way of teasing Ashley.

It was amusing being at a table with people who speak french, and discussing languages. Apparently, Quebec nationalists aren’t the only ones annoyed about how common english expressions are in Quebec French – french-speaking americans are, too. As he put it, “I finally get my brain into french gear, then the radio hosts go and say something in english on me and snap me right back into english mode)

Much to my surprise, the Mexican dinner was really rather nice. I mean, sure, I wouldn’t eat that every day, but I wasn’t breathing fire at people by the end of it – far from it – either. Either I was misled about how spicy spanish food is, or else I’ve just really gotten more used to spicy-hot than I was before. Probably both, at that.

And again, I cannot help but go back to earlier constatations on how minor the differences we make so much of between various cultures really pale against the similarities. Ashley described the dinner as “a typical southern family party”*, but honestly? It was almost to a tee the same as a Quebec family party/reunion. Just the food and the music were different (this one was Mexican-themed, as noted above), but otherwise, the atmosphere was what I saw at, say, my uncle and aunt’s…30th(?) wedding anniversary, a while back.

The people here, in general, seems warm and nice – the driver on the shuttle and I talked quite a bit about a lot of things, and the people at the party were quite nice too (granted, that could have been Ashley’s work).

Of course, there are differences – the people here are undoubtedly very religious (see, that’s the whole “BIBLE” part in Bible Belt) – but ultimately, whether you go to latin america to help as part of an effort sponsored by your church or as part of an effort sponsored by some non-religious charity…you’re still a good person. If you’re intolerant, does it really matter if your intolerance stems from religion or from your political viewpoints?

(Yes, I know, I can be intolerant at times. It’s one fault I do want to improve. Which is one reason why I’m glad I made this trip. It helps bring home the fact that the scattered “good religious people” I met to date, might not be so rare as I once thought.).

It’s not what you believe that define you. It’s how you act. Religion just helps some people make their choices in life – whether good or bad.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 7, 2008 4:42 am

    You’re coming along nicely

    Hey bro, our dear mother left this page open on the computer and, when i saw it , i decided to refresh it. I just read all your post. Glad to know you enjoy your trip, i hope you have a lot of fun with Ashley (I want that damn pony already!) and with a lot of new people too.

    Btw , i really liked those few comments about religion and etc.
    I agree with you , a person should be judged by his action. Keep up the smart thinking instead of yelling around year-old arguments that we don’t even listen to anymore.

    You just take care of you ol’ self mah man aight!


    Laurier , aint no silverblade tough

    • June 7, 2008 4:13 pm

      Re: You’re coming along nicely

      Clown 😉

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 8, 2008 4:07 am

        Re: You’re coming along nicely

        You’re calling me a clown? It sounds even worst in english than in french…and that’s already pretty bad!

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