|the cultural divide...|
- Friday, March 18 2011, 0:17:40 (UTC)|
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Taruf sums up the problems we younger ones had when brought to the West by parents who still had one foot in the Old World and who expected us to live divided lives: we had to learn and assimilate quickly in order to catch up and then keep up, but when we went home Nanna still expected you and your friends to kiss anybody and everybody in the house, both coming and going.
In high school in the 60s I befriended the proverbial cool teacher, in this case English Lit. he was notoriously tough on grades and behavior but if you got a good grade from him you knew damn well you earned it...he was a Bohemian...graduated college and took a motorcycle trip through Mexico...he was an excellent teacher and we became friendly...so much so that he would invite to his house on weekends. I had a mad crush on his wife...we ate and drank wine and talked about everything.
The first time I was asked to stay to dinner I of course said, "oh no, I really couldn't POSSIBLY"...at which his wife said, "too bad, we were hoping you could join us"...and that was that....I left wishing like hell I could have stayed.
Later when I knew her better I recounted this incident and told her about Taruf...she blinked at me and said, "if I honestly didn't want you to stay, I would not have invited you". Our Taruf implies that those we use it against must be liars, or insincere...which kind of tips our own hand.
Simple...straight forward honesty...where did Persians get the idea that honesty is unbecoming?
As my high school Jewish pal said when told that my grandmother insisted on being kissed, as a sign of respect...."I don't kiss my own grandmother, why should I kiss yours"?
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