East meets West: politeness and social conventions

The very first time our families met, one of my sister and nephew greeted my sister-in-law with the traditional french la bise . Basically they went straight to her and hit each of her cheeks against theirs quite quickly. She was totally taken aback believing she was getting french kissed for greeting. Continue reading East meets West: politeness and social conventions

Galette des rois (three Kings cake)

In France everyone eat a special dessert on the day of epiphany to commemorate the visit of the magi bearing gifts for new born Jesus. When dessert comes, the youngest around the table go bellow the table and assign each piece of cake to a member of the party. Inside the cake is a surprise (usually a tiny China figurine but in older days people … Continue reading Galette des rois (three Kings cake)

A 17th century view of cultural differences

On a recent trip to Blue Rigde Parkway and the Smokey Mountains, we entered theĀ  Cherokee Indians Reservation. I had planned the trip relying solely on the NPS website for planning our visit and did not put much thought into it until we arrived and it became evident that Cherokee was a different cultural territory than the rest of North Carolina. When you enter you … Continue reading A 17th century view of cultural differences

Weird custom… not so much anymore

I have mentioned in a previous post that when both our families are together some topics were very off putting at first. Things that seem obvious in the french lifestyle like serving a 4 course meal with wine and meat to your guest followed by a cup of coffee (espresso to be specific) is neither natural nor self explanatory to other culture especially for Indians … Continue reading Weird custom… not so much anymore