I was recently tagged by Blue of the blog bluelightful, bluelicious, bluelovely to complete a meme on “six unspectacular quirks.” I was a bit hesitant to do the meme, at first, ’cause I figured I’d already done the whole “personal life” update post, and, really, there’s only so many times a week I can talk just about myself before I start making Aditya’s life miserable with a swelled head. “Where’s my tea & biscuits? I need caffeine to post. This is important, Aditya. I’ve been tagged!”
Then I thought about it a bit more, and realized that if I couldn’t come up with six intercultural-type quirks about myself, then all those people who’ve talked about having me committed to an insane asylum for being crazy (I prefer “quirky,” thank you) would be proven wrong. And I’d hate to make so many friends, relatives, and coworkers look bad, so I guess it’s time to roll up my sleeves and show just how quirky in a interculturally-relevant-but-not-culturally-insensitive way I can be. Of course, the qualifier of “unspectacular” means you all will be be missing the good stuff… Anyways, the rules of the meme are as follows:
- Link the person who tagged you.
- Mention the rules in your blog.
- Tell us about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
- Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
- Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.
Now, without further ado, let’s get on with goats in sweaters, and five other quirky things.
- For me, India = a goat wearing a sweater
This isn’t meant as a big metaphor, where the goat stands for stubborn, hardy folk with sweet sides, and the sweater is the many religions and traditions of the people, all woven together to protect them in their lives, or anything inane like that. No, for me India will always be mentally associated with a goat wearing a sweater because that’s the first scene I saw there that really struck me as, well, different. Or at least the first thing that I saw while not nearly dead from jet lag. At the time I was zooming down a road in Calcutta, the day of our wedding, serenely watching the morning activities on the street, trying to ignore the fact that I’d soon be dead from a fiery explosion when our driver misjudged his margins by a few centimeters. Then, well, a goat caught my eye. But it wasn’t just any goat. It was a goat in a sweater.* My world flipped.
- If I find an excellent ethnic restaurant, I’ll return again. And again and again and again…
I guess I’m just a little OCD when it comes to my food. Or, at least, my ethnic food. If I find a good ethnic place (bonus points if they’re take-out), I’m perfectly happy eating there every night of the week, and order the exact same favorite dish. I would, too, if Aditya didn’t stop me. When we were living 1000 miles apart during my final year of college I took advantage of his absence to order over 100 pounds of TastyBite. I feasted on precooked Indian food every day for over a semester. Now that we’re married, though, he doesn’t let me get away with such stunts – meals at my favorite places (Kabob Palace!!! and the taco!!! place) are carefully rationed.
- I get a bit of evil pleasure when people try to connect my last name to my skin tone. Actually, a lot of evil pleasure.
When we got married, I took on Aditya’s last name (my nice, short, Germanic last name got pushed into the middle spot). And, while Aditya’s family name is not one that shouts “Indian!” to all that see it, it’s certainly one that shouts “brown!” (it also apparently shouts “mangle me as best you can!” to everyone). I always get a kick out of watching people when they find out my last name, and try to understand how this seemingly white girl could have a brown last name. The best is with other South Asians – they know my name is Indian, but it’s not a regional- or language-specific name, so they can’t just casually bring up a city or area during conversation. And there are Anglo-Indians out there with as fair as skin as I. One of my Indian doctors this past week during the hospital visit was so curious that he came back to my room just to hesitantly inquire “… about your last name? It’s…?” He was a cool dude, so I just told him the truth, rather than playing dumb to continue my fun.
- I enjoy watching cricket.
“What?” you might be saying, “Watching cricket is not a quirk! Over a billion people enjoy watching cricket.” This is true. With its diehard support in India, and lessor support in all of the other former pieces of the British empire, cricket is not a sport which lacks fans. But, Mr. (or Ms.) Smartypants, tell me how many American women who didn’t grow up watching cricket -or even knew anything about the game until they were adults – enjoy watching cricket. Pretty rare, eh? At first I just tolerated the hooting and hollering at three in the morning as India got a 6 (it’s like a super home run). But then I started watching the games… And now I’d say that cricket is now one of my favorite sports, in a three-way tie with football & football.
- My favorite outfit to lounge around the house in is the cheap inexpensive salwar kameez I got at Big Bazaar
Big Bazaar is like the Indian version of Walmart – cheap prices, huge selection of about whatever you need. Although they’re a bit classier than Walmart, so maybe Big Bazaar is the Indian version of Target. Anyways, the salwar kameez is a beautiful deep blue-green color with gold embellishments, and totally looks like it cost more than the $2.50 I paid for it. It’s also magically both loose and comfy AND nicely form-fitting so I don’t look like I’m wearing a big green sack. It’s like wearing classy pajamas!
- I love drinking in rural German bars, but dislike most American ones
As some of you might remember, I spent the better part of a year in between high school and college working in Germany. Before I went, I had done some drinking, but mostly around my parents, and never that much. Well… In Germany, you can start drinking pretty much as soon as you hit puberty, and no one bats an eye. Of course, you can’t drive until you’re 18, and by that time most teenagers have gotten past the “let’s drink until we make bad decisions” stage**. On the whole, I find it a much more civilized system. Anyways, once I arrived in Germany, the local teenagers (& adults) took me under their wing and taught me a bit about alcohol. (And I’ve been ruined for American beers since.) My favorite part about the whole experience was going to the local bar, where we’d spend the evening playing cards, slowly drinking good beer, and just chatting until no one was sober enough to remember who had won the last hand. It was a very warm, gemütlich atmosphere, and one I’ve been unable to reproduce here in the US.
So there you have it. Six somewhat intercultural unspectacular quirks of mine. Oh, and I tag cagey, Mallika, Mirchi, NeoKalypso, Quirkybook, Quizman, as the last six people who commented here with a public blog (that I know of). Have fun, guys!
* I actually think it’s really sweet that the owner of this goat had put it in this sweater. While I’m not a fan of animals in clothes in general, the balmy 70 degree winter weather was cold to Calcuttans, and I’m sure the owner was just trying to keep his goat warm. Still it was one of those things I had just never imagined before, then boom, there it was in front of me.
**I really do think that the Germans have a much better system with regards to alcohol than American do. Children grow up with the idea of drinking socially (they even get their own little malt “beers”), typically start drinking when their parents are around to supervise, and never feel like they need to sneak around or hide their beer or anything. It’s not a way to rebel, so you don’t see the dangerous binge drinking nearly as often as you see in the US. While it takes awhile for teenagers to learn their limits, they’re typically doing this in a safe environment, where there are older people around who can recognize when to cut someone off. And by the time you’re 18, you’ve already had the experience falling off your bike onto sharp cobblestones once or twice to drive home the message of no drinking & driving. So there are very, very few drunk drivers in Germany (also helps that if you’re caught driving drunk, your license is stripped, never to be returned).