Friday, July 9, 2010

Acceptance

We were entering the dressing room in a clothing store in a certain town that has a larger Russian immigrant population. The attendant's name-tag said "Yelena," and my mom ratted me out in pointing to me and announcing, "My daughter lives in Russia!"

To which Yelena responded by asking if I spoke Russian, and I said, I did, a little bit.

Anyway, we chatted for a few minutes in Russian and by the end of the conversation she knew I was a missionary and had invited me to the Russian Baptist Church nearby. She even wrote down her phone number, labeling it "sell phone." I don't know if I will make it there for a visit or not...

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The thing that feels comfortable when coming back to the States is not so much that I know all the rules. I feel pretty awkward with some of the customs, but I feel at ease because of the diversity. It isn't weird to have had some sort of cross-cultural experience, or to wear funky clothes, or to cook exotic foods that might look or smell unusual (but probably taste delicious).

It was interesting that Yelena had become fluent in English and been able to find a steady job, but maintained the connection with the Russian Church, a little piece of her homeland.



When I was visiting my brother and his wife in D.C., we were visited by some Congolese (her nationality). They probably faced some challenges getting through the week in a new culture, but weren't afraid to wear their typically colorful apparel on the streets of America.

And none of this means that in another country the acceptance is absent, or that recent arrivals in the U.S. won't miss home bitterly or feel the loneliness of isolation. It is just an aspect of life that I appreciate here, the cross-cultural openness.

3 comments:

  1. Liz,
    I don't know why - it almost brought tears to my eyes. It's so cool!!!
    I'm curious if you end up visiting the church (hehehe...if it's a Russian Baptist Church - you know that they'll feed you :)

    Btw, you speak a lot of Russian :) It's not just a little!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. For some reason, when I open up my mouth, "чуть-чуть" pops out.

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  3. I also really appreciate this aspect of the US....and would love to see it even more multi-cultural (the melting pot can get pretty boring).

    When I open MY mouth "чуть-чуть" also pops out but in my case it is oh-so-accurate!

    ReplyDelete

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