small culture shock

Oh, this is awkward. Only for me, but still. An uncle-in-law is dying, which is the usual bummer that a death in the family is. But beyond that, I like this uncle and his family, and there is literally nothing I can do. No really, literally nothing. In the States, there would be little things. I’d send flowers or a card, I might call the wife or son and say how sorry I am, and if there’s anything I can do, please let me know, but here, none of that is appropriate. It’s just not done. And I don’t want to step on any cultural toes, so I won’t do or say anything, but it just feels wrong to me. Like I’m telegraphing indifference. Of course nobody here would see it that way, but I’m still operating on American assumptions, so I’m uncomfortable. Awkward.

Speaking of awkward, today’s song du jour is Frank Sinatra’s rendition of Old Man River. Seriously. What was he thinking?


3 responses to “small culture shock

  • amy

    I’m sorry. And it occurs to me that perhaps my friends who did disappearing acts over the summer inexplicably obtained German blood?

    I really am sorry for you, your uncle, and his family.

  • alala

    Yeah, see, that’s just it – when they disappear, it looks like they don’t care, right? And that’s not how my in-laws see it, they don’t think I’m being indifferent, but I feel like I’m showing indifference, and I’m really uncomfortable with that. Even if it only has meaning for me.

  • follow-up « alala

    […] in bummer at 2:40 pm by alala The uncle died last night. The funeral will be on Saturday. DrBob will go, of course, but we don’t know […]

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