Looking at yourself through others’ eyes

29 04 2012

One of the most interesting thing I have realized while being an alien in the US is how my culture or other similar cultures are viewed and how history is interpreted differently depending on the point of view of the host culture.

It is interesting to find how others see your culture and how their and your perceptions change with knowledge and exposure to others. You are so used to your culture and your language and when you hear how other’s see it, Read the rest of this entry »





The Power of Words

25 01 2009

I believe that words have the power we give them and just that.

I come from a planet where what you say is important but how you say it is just as important. So the words may have different meanings depending on the intention given when they are used. calling somebody fat can be offensive or a term of endearment.

I sometimes find myself repressing what I am going to say because I don’t know if I may be offending somebody. This country’s political correctness might be too repressive for my taste. You can’t say fat, it has to be overweight, no blind but visually impaired. Why are we so sensitive to words that we created?

We go as far as to have a funeral for a word and forbid people to use it. To me that gives that word a lot more power. That word is so powerful that people only dare to say N-word, only a certain group of people are allowed to use it. If anybody else uses it, the entire society goes up in arms. It is absurd!!

I went to a training to understand gay issues and I learned so much about what they go through; but one of the things that strikes me the most is that they told me that the were reclaiming the word “Queer”. They told me that this word was used to offend gays and that they were reclaiming it to take away that offensive meaning. I thought that was brilliant!

If we took away the meaning of words, that are not even the real meaning of those words, that were just  meanings given by people that were trying to make others feel angry, offended, minimized, we would be taking the power away from them.

Recently I got a comment to a posting called Illegal Immigration-Mexico’s double talk… this comment used the word “Beaners”, I responded back asking what that means, I know is a derogatory way of calling Mexicans, Latinos, Hispanics, illegal immigrants, I am not sure if is some of those or all, usually people that use terms in that way would not make a distinction between groups.

I am not offended because beaners doesn’t have any meaning or value to me, but I am curious to know what he was trying to say with that.

From my alien point of view, we should stop giving words so much power and start being more honest and open. We cannot be liked by everyone and we are bound to either offend or feel offended by what another person does or says. Let get rid of the egg shels and start communicating for real, lets clear the miss understandings and stop assuming.





Learning a new language

10 06 2008

So you speak English, why would you want to learn another language? 

People tell me that English is the international language and that they don’t need to learn another language. I specially hear that the US is the big superpower and that others should learn English…This is just a little tiny bit arrogant, do you think?

Granted that English is a global language and that has been at the head of globalization. But that is changing, the new face of globalization has people speaking several languages, do we want to be left behind?

I decided to learn French next, so people at work ask me why do I want to learn more languages. To me learning another language is more that just learning grammar, learning another language opens new windows in my mind. When you learn another language you learn about a different culture, how they communicate, how they think, and why do they do things the way they do. It helps you get in the mind set of other people, what if we all spoke more than one language, and were able to understand instead of fear the other one? That would be tremendous. Language communicates thoughts,  a way of life and gives us a new way to experience the world.

Why learn another language:

  • Communication, it helps you communicate with people all over the word as well as in your home town. I was so excited when I was learning Italian and started chatting on the net with Italians, that was awesome.
  • Develop an understanding of another culture and its people.
  • It might help you improve the knowledge of your own language.
  • It would give you a global perspective, the world would no longer be limited.
  • It is empowering
  • it is also good for you mind, to keep your faculties and to improve your brain activities.

Expand Your Horizons!!

Please share your experiences with other languages.

 





Alien mishaps

14 04 2008

These are a few amusing anecdotes  

 

  • My friend went to get a driver license; they asked him ‘do you want to register to vote?” He was an Alien student, he could not vote, so he thought they were asking if he wanted to register (get a license) to drive a boat. He said sure…. needless to say he won’t be voting or boating any time soon.

 

  • A girl Alien friend needed help with some packages, she asked a man at the store to help her, once he was done trying to be polite she said “I am sorry to have molested you”. The guy looked at her funny and left. She did not understand. The same word ‘molest’ in Spanish means to bother, she wanted to say “I am sorry to inconvenience you.” She was so mortified when I told her what she had actually said.

 

 

  • I met an Alien that did not like the food here at all and would not try any US food. One day she told me she had tried a dish that an Indian coworker had prepared, a dish that she loved, she praised the spices the flavor and Indian cuisine, the name of that dish was Riceroni…

 

When you have an accent most of the time, the words sound good in your head, but not when they come out of your mouth.

 

  • My mother in law has this problem when she orders tea she gets beer, when she orders beer she gets tea.

 

  • My Dad was looking to buy linens, he went to a store and again trying to be polite he said ‘can you please tell me what is the price of these shits (sheets)’ He could not understand why the lady got so upset and didn’t want to help him.

 

  • For some reason everytime I try to say soccer it comes our as sucker, I have settled to say the other football.

 

 

Never assume people don’t understand

 

  • My husband and a friend were walking down the street, a few feet behind two women, the guy were speaking Spanish, they were saying how much they liked the ladies’ ass-ets. One of the women turned around and said ‘Gracias’.

 

  • When I first  moved here I joined a conversation class. I made friends from China, Russia and Africa, my African friends spoke French, one day they were talking about me, how hot they thought I was and how much they liked my ass-ets, they assumed I did not understand; later I was giving them a ride and they forgot how to say turn right in English, so I said it in French. They looked like deer in the headlights, right before they got out of my car, one of them asked ‘do you speak French? Do you understand everything that we say?’

 

  • I used to have a coworker from Mexico, she and I would speak in Spanish most of the time. One day a guy was fixing her computer, my friend was smitten; she started talking about how cute he was and all the things she wanted to do to him, I tried to stop her, so I said ‘Luis, so how much Spanish do you know, he said ‘enough to understand all the things you guys are saying’, she disappeared until he was done and gone.

  

 

 

Lessons learned. I gave this post to a friend to review before posting, this is what he got from it: ‘Latinos and African men have the same taste for the junk in the trunk’. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 





Would racial relations change if Obama wins?

1 04 2008

Last night I was watching a political analyst talk about racial relations in the past, the current situation, and what could possibly happen.

He explained that the first immigrants to the US were White Anglo Saxon Protestant or WASP, and that the following waves of immigrants were forced to assimilate. They were discriminated against until they assimilated and blended with the WASP culture.

With the African slaves being freed they faced another problem as they felt this group could “tarnish their way of life”. After the Sixties and the civil rights movement most African American have lived in a parallel culture. This as well as affirmative action has created a lot of resentment among the conservative WASP’s.

I have notice this, I explained before that I work with mostly African Americans and for the most part they have a separate parallel culture. I agree that there is a lot of resentment from both sides.

According to this analyst the current fly in the soup is the Hispanic/Latino immigration, legal of illegal. Apparently the latest waves of migration are not assimilating.

He said that the proliferation of Spanish radio and TV stations sends a chill down the conservative WASP’s spine; and it is contributing to the anti-immigrant sentiment. The show’s moderator interjected that the second generation of Latinos speak only English and are assimilated. He explained that it is not fast enough.

He explained that there is fear that Los Angeles could turn into another Miami. For those who don’t know this, there are signs on store fronts in Miami that say “English spoken.”

The US doesn’t have an Official language, as I understand it has to do with agreements made when some of the south, southwestern and western states were incorporated. Because of the languages already spoken by the local inhabitants.

How do they manage in Canada, they have two official languages?

Of course I do not understand this fear, I am one of the Alien flies in the WASP’s soup. But I also think that I am also a fly in the  African American soup.

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Can anybody explain this to me, please? Looking forward to it!

Well this analyst said that the racial relations are somewhat weak and tense. He said he fears what would happen if Obama wins the presidency, and that very conservative groups could attempt against his life. I hope he is wrong.

How could racial relations be affected if Obama wins? Would they improve? Can having an African American president tip the balance in a positive way?

I have too many questions, I know. I need answers…





I LOVE POCOYO!!!

26 03 2008

One Sunday afternoon we found this wonderful animated show called Pocoyo. 

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 Pocoyo is a show for preschoolers, it is the cutest thing I have ever seen. We could not stop watching. This show is very well made, it is currently all over the world and translated to many different languages. What I liked the best was that it is incredibly innocent and enjoyable.

The show is about Pocoyo a 3 year old (dressed in blue) and his friends and their little adventures. His friends are Pato (duck in Spanish), Eli a Pink elephant, Lula a dog, and even an octopus.

Here is a link to their website and their official blog

For a taste of Pocoyo, I have a video here, and you can find them in different languages in Youtube.





Race-Ethnicity, can you tell who is who?

25 03 2008

These are from the Secret Asian Man…great comic strip.

Click on the image to see it larger.

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