I am going to come out and confess to you all a sad fact about Chris and me. We are not good neighbors. I would like to blame this reality on the limits of our language, seeing as how we don’t have much need to constantly inform our neighbors that we are American or to order coffee from them. But the truth of the matter is that we weren’t that great of neighbors in Alabama either. However, we have some friends here who are great neighbors. So great, in fact, they had some of them stop by while we were over the other night. The daughter spoke great English as she had just returned from a year being an exchange student in Minnesota. We got into a very interesting discussion about the differences between Taiwanese and American cultures. Over the past year, I have used this blog to describe to you the funny things about Taiwanese culture. I thought it only appropriate after all of this time to inform you what is funny about American culture according to our friends’ neighbors.
1) Americans drink a lot of milk. I mean, a lot. They drink it every night with dinner, every night! Don’t they get sick of it? It really doesn’t taste that good and it can give you… digestive problems.
2) Americans don’t go to the doctor nearly often enough. Our friends’ neighbor had a scratchy throat and begged and begged her host mom to take her to the doctor. The host mom said that she wouldn’t take her to the doctor unless she had a fever. Can you believe it? She had to have a fever to go to the doctor? All the host mom did was give her some pills she got at the store. The poor girl was very afraid for her well-being.
3) Americans eat cheese. There are few things less appetizing than spoiled milk dyed unnatural shades of orange. And, they put it on everything. Sometimes they even just eat it by itself. Eeew.
4) Our good-neighbor friends are also the ones who just had a baby and we found out that there are many things that Americans do that are strange when it comes to child-bearing. First of all, Americans let pregnant women eat cold things like… ice cream. Don’t they know that it will harm the baby? What is it with Americans and dairy?
5) American women go home right after they have a baby. In Taiwan, women take about a month and go to hotel-like places that are meant to take care of mom and baby in order to ensure that the first formative days of the baby’s life are stress-free.
6) Americans don’t even know what wine chicken is. In Taiwan, new moms eat wine chicken for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a full month after giving birth. (Wine chicken is basically chicken served in a white wine sauce. It’s pretty good but I don’t think I could handle anything for three meals a day for an entire month.)
These are just a few of the things that others find so strange about us. I am sure that there are more but these are the only ones that good manners allowed them to share with us.