Posted on | May 29, 2012 | 26 Comments
One thing I like to do, as an expat mom, is read other blogs written by other expat moms. I like to compare notes, and see what experiences other women have – especially when they’re in a cross-cultural marriage, and raising kids in that cultural mix-mash.
You know what they say – misery loves company.
So, it’s no surprise that I love reading Rachel’s Rantings in Rio. I really am surprised by how many similarities there are between her experiences and mine – I wouldn’t have thought of Rio de Janeiro’s ”carioca” culture as having much in common with the Lima’s “criollo” culture, but there it is. And I had to laugh as I read her recent post about things that annoy Brazilians – so much of it was similar to here. So I’m going to steal her post, and add in a few things of my own that really drive Peruvians crazy.
1. Tell them Pisco is from Chile.
This is heresy in Peru – I’m surprised that it’s not against the law to say such a thing. There are a few other things that are similar, like saying ceviche is better in Ecuador, but unless you’re looking for a fight, it’s best to leave Chilean Pisco out of the conversation. Unless you want to opine on how bad it is – then go right ahead!
2. Show up on time to a party.
It doesn’t matter what kind of party – holiday, birthday or whatever. If you show up when you’re told to, you’ll end up having to wait at least a half an hour for anyone else to show. If it’s a party and the invitation says 7pm, don’t go until 10pm. Our last New Year’s Eve party was dead until AFTER midnight, then went on until 7am!
3. Go barefoot anywhere.
When it’s warm, I like to go barefoot in the house. The tile floors are cool and feel good on my feet. My mother in law has done everything in her power to get some sort of shoes on my feet. I’ll go barefoot outside to get the mail, and people passing by will stare at my feet. It’s about 5 steps from the front door, in my own yard! My maid said she knew it was time to drag the quilts out of storage when she saw me put socks on.
4. Leave a baby uncovered if it’s under 90F degrees.
My MIL actually cried because I wouldn’t put a sweater on a baby – a baby that was sweating from the heat already! When people take their babies outside (and this is up to about 2 years of age) in a carriage, they’ll be in mittens, hats, booties and wrapped in blankets – and it’s like 80+ degrees out! (That’s over 25C)
5. Tell them you don’t care about football.
Despite the fact that Peru has a world class women’s volleyball team, world class surfing, world class boxing – none of it matters compared to futbol, despite the fact that the futbol team is less than stellar, when it comes to it’s performance on the world stage. Also related – tell them you prefer Alianza Lima over Universitario, or vice-versa (depending on who they like).
6. Tell them the Peruvian National Anthem sounds like most other national anthems to you.
Someone, somewhere, once mentioned that they thought the Peruvian Himno was one of the most beautiful they’d ever heard, apart from “La Marseillaise” from France. Most Peruvians can’t tell you who actually said it or where, but they darn well believe it!
7. Tell them their favorite food didn’t originate in Peru
Somewhat akin to the Pisco issue. Many Peruvians are of the opinion that every food eaten here is native to Peru and was never served anywhere else. While they have a good point with quite a few native foods like the potato and quinoa, the story gets a bit sketchy when it comes to things like arroz con leche (rice pudding) and pollo a al brasa (rotisserie chicken). I know a few Peruvians who had a hard time believing that pretty much every culture in the world has its own version of rice pudding!
8. Drink cold drinks.
Cold drinks are the work of the Devil, sent here to make us all sick with sore throats and tummy aches.
9. Keep butter out on the counter.
This might just be my husband and his family, I’m not sure. But I like butter that’s soft enough to spread – they want it to be kept in the freezer. Not in the refrigerator – in the freezer. Then they slice it like cheese to eat on their bread. My husband complains on a weekly basis about me leaving the container of butter (it’s covered!) out on the counter to soften. Yet oddly enough, they see no reason not to leave food out of the fridge all afternoon. They’ll eat chicken that sat out for 6 hours (albeit wrapped up), and then blame the upset stomach they get later on the ice in the Inca Kola.
10. Don’t serve a large meal in the middle of the day.
Lunch is considered the main meal of the day, and it’s a great tradition. I much prefer it to cooking and then having to clean the kitchen in the evening. When the boys had classes in the afternoon however, I switched our routine and cooked a big dinner for when they came home. That made me a “Bad Mommy”. I was tsk-tsk’d by the Abuela, by other moms at the school, by the teachers… Hey, if they wanted to come to my house and cook a huge meal at 9am, they were welcome!
How about you? Is there anything you’ve done that seemed perfectly normal to you that seemed to upset the natives around you?
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