All cultures have different customs, behaviours and rituals.
In my view, Rabindra has some very strange customs and traditions. And he perceives some aspects of my culture as very strange so it works both ways.
I shouldn’t call them “strange” because after all, it’s all in the eye of the beholder and how we’ve been brought up. We don’t know any different.
I was laughing at Jubee’s story about Chicken Pot Pie and hot milk and I couldn’t resist posting my views on Rice Pudding!!
Apart from all the obvious differences about clothing, culture, village life and religion, I wanted to share a few of the lighter, “oddball” type differences.
To be fair, part 2 will be all the strange things Rabindra perceives about my behaviours and practices.
1. To me, rice pudding is a dessert.
Like icecream. Like custard. But in Nepal they eat it for a main meal i.e FOR DINNER. The first time Rabindra suggested we make rice pudding, I thought that’s nice to have some dessert. BUT HE ACTUALLY MEANT FOR DINNER. Ok I was shocked, because first of all, he doesn’t really like sweet things and secondly, because he wanted this for dinner. BUT IT GETS WORSE. He then starts cooking a vegetable curry to go with it. He serves it up on the same plate (a mammoth amount of rice pudding and vegetable beside it) and eats a little bit of each as he goes. I couldn’t do it. To me, it’s like putting icecream on my plate beside my vegetables or chicken. So I ate my vegetables, waited, then had a very small amount of rice pudding after the vegetables. To me, it’s just too weird. This is not just a once off. He lovvesss rice pudding. So now I eat “dessert” as a dinner at least once a fortnight. Oh the things you do….
2. Breakfast, what breakfast?
In Nepal, people don’t really eat breakfast, they normally have tea or a biscuit in the morning. Then around 2-3pm they have a fairly large meal like rice or noodles. Then they eat a big dinner quite late, sometimes at 8pm, but usually, for Rabindra, not till 10 or 11pm. A couple of months in to our relationship we went on a holiday and Rabindra did not want breakfast so I didn’t either. By 1pm he still wasn’t hungry and I was starving. He’s the complete opposite to me. I need most of my energy up until 2pm so that’s why I have a decent breakfast, but I don’t need a big lunch or dinner. I’ve got him onto toast and cereal or fruit for breakfast which has been a small win. When I stay in Nepal, I’m going to have to get used to this change to fit in with his family. I think I’ll need to take a stash of muesli bars in my suitcase!!
3. Eat with your hands
Still on the food topic- OK so most people know, Nepalese people eat with their hands. But when I saw Rabindra eat with his hands for the first time, I was in awe of the technique and because I’d never seen anyone eat with their hands before (except little babies). It’s a very fast motion where they scoop it all up and slurp it into their mouth. At home Rabindra prefers to eat with a spoon or fork nearly 99% of the time. But sometimes I ask him to eat with his hands because I think it’s nice to maintain parts of his culture (and also so I can stare at that technique!). When his mates come around, a few of them ask my permission to eat with their hands. I don’t mind at all. I’ve tried a few times to eat with my hands but I’m very slow, I can’t get enough on there, and it’s just messy.
4. People choose not to use toilet paper.
We have always used toilet paper in our house and Rabindra prefers this, but he told me that even though his family is middle class, a lot of them do not use toilet paper. I can understand how very poor families can’t afford it but I didn’t realise many people chose not to use it even if they can easily afford it. I suppose I just think it’s unhygienic, but really I should not discriminate because it’s their culture and that’s why they use their right hand for eating and their left hand for the toilet. And in many ways, Rabindra is alot more hygienic than me especially with washing food before cooking.
5. Never turn your shoes upside down.
This is a big no-no and is considered bad luck. Rabindra noticed all my shoes turned over when we first lived together, he kept going around the house and turning them up the right way telling me it wasn’t good. How was I to know?? Anyway I’ve learnt my lesson.
6. To dress up or not
When we go out to dinner Rabindra doesn’t dress up. He just wears casual clothes and shorts. I like to dress up in my heels and straighten my hair because we don’t go out for dinner often and it’s a nice when we do go out for dinner. He says no-one we know will see us. However if we go down to the local Coles, fruit and vegetable market or just going walking around the city area, he dresses up in a button up t-shirt and nice pants cause we’re likely to see someone we know. This was a bit of a random one, lol, I don’t know why but it frustrates me.
These are just a few, I’m sure there are like a million more…
Please share any funny cultural behaviours and customs that you’ve found ‘strange’ in your partner’s culture or whilst travelling overseas.