Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Name is Not Elise

My name is Alissa. It rhymes with Melissa. For some reason people in older generations can not get my name right. The old lady that lived next door when we bought our house called me, "Elise". I corrected her the first 5 times, then decided if she wanted to call me, "Elise" that was fine. Really how often did I see her? Not very often. 

It turns out it's not just an older generation thing. Mica has some really good friends from Ethiopia. They are such nice people. All of them call me, "Elise". Their oldest son loves Travis. Travis helps him at the Lowes Clinic at times. Their middle child loves Mica. He's in Mica's class. They chat all the time about this and that. Travis and I have joked about how they have a bromance. Their youngest adores me. She drew me a picture, and gave it to me the last time we saw them.

They've had us over for dinner a few times. Generous indeed. It's not necessary to have us all over, but they do. It's part of their culture. I invite them to go to Lowes Clinic, we've had them over once, and recently we invited them to go to an arboretum. 

When we got to the arboretum the kids ran and ran. I'm ok with that. That's what parks and arboretums are for. Isaak got left behind, so I was waiting for him. He went to jump over a stream, and landed in the water. Then he was all tears. Isaak: "Daddy's going to be mad at me! It looks like I peed my pants..." When Isaak starts in on his whine, good luck ending it. I told him that he was not in trouble because it was an accident. I still heard about it. The Mom seemed genuinely concerned about Isaak. 

Later on their middle child got dirty. The Mom said, "I just washed those. Oh no!" I said, "Kids will be kids." 

The Mom got bit a few times by a mosquito. She freaked out and said, "Oh no am I going to be ok?" She grabbed my bug spray and said, "Can you squirt this on me?" I squirted it on her. While I was doing that I thought...This is going to do nothing to help your bites. It's to prevent bites. Then I thought...The Placebo Effect. If it makes her feel better by having me spray bug spray on her after she's already been bitten great. When I got home Travis said, "You mean to tell me you didn't tell her what bug spray is for?" I said, "No. The thought of telling her what bug spray is for didn't even cross my mind. All I thought about was that it was making her feel better." 

That's not the first out there thing that's happened. During the winter Travis went to pick up the boys. He passed their middle child - Mica's best friend on the sidewalk. Travis said, "Hi how are you doing?" He replied, "Fine." After Travis picked up the boys, Mica's friend was still standing in the same spot on the sidewalk. Travis asked, "Is something wrong?" Mica's friend said, "My mom doesn't want me to get snow in the car. The 3 or 4 foot grass patch had snow on it, and it was in front of their car. Instead of telling them that snow is just water, and that it wouldn't hurt their car Travis walked off not really knowing what to say, or do. Travis said to me, "If Mica's friend wasn't so heavy I would have picked him up over the snow, and put him in the car. But he's too heavy for me to do that." 

These kind people need us to tell them what's up...I'm thinking. Hanging out with someone from a different culture is all new to me. I've worked with people from other places, but never hung out with them.  I did have a grandma from the Philippines. She did things different than my inner family did. I just let it be. She was older than me. I was a kid. I hope if I tell them how things work they don't get offended.
  • I should let them know again that my name is not Elise. I get their different names right - they should get mine right to. 
  • I should let them know that I love hanging out with them. That it's not common to hang out as families in the US. Part of friends getting together is to give the parent(s) a break from that child for a few hours. 
  • It's ok for kids to get dirty. Yes it's more laundry, but kids are kids. 
  • Bug spray is to prevent bug bites; not to heal them. 
  • Snow is messy, but fine for a car. It's simply frozen water. If you don't want it in the car, put plastic bags or towels down to collect the moisture. You can't really get away from it.

I'm sure if I lived somewhere different than the US I'd need a little help understanding how things work. BTW this post is no way making fun of Mica's friends. I enjoy them. They have kind of an innocence that we don't have here. Much of what I like about them is what I'd be correcting them on. That's part of why it's so difficult to correct them.


~ Noelle said...

I know what you mean. I still have relatives that call me nicole. Name had been Noelle my whole life. I finally gave up on correcting them.

Eat To Live said...

That might be cool to start hanging out with people from a different culture and teaching them the ropes. You would be good at it.

Masshole Mommy said...

My name is pretty self explanatory, but my last name....well, forget about it. It's actually easier than it looks because there are some extra letters in there. It's pronounced like Roo (as in kanga-roo) - wine. Roo-wine. Easy peasy, but it's spelled Ruehrwein and you would not believe all the weird things I've heard.

Ai Sakura said...

They sound like really nice people and I don't think they will get offended when corrected. I would be scared that they feel embarrassed but I'm sure you'll be able to handle it well :) Part of living in a new country is to learn new things. It's better if you tell them now before they meet other people who may be mean and laugh at their mistakes.

Ai @ Sakura Haruka

Theresa Mahoney said...

I think showing them the ropes of how Americans do things would be wonderful! If they find out later, they may be even more embarrassed they continued to do it all wrong and you didn't correct them.

Charlie said...

If I was the foreigner, I would hope someone would tell/teach me so i wouldn't keep on doing things that weren't how to do them. I was that way with jobs too. Tell me when I am doing something wrong so I don't keep screwing up. I'd rather learn to do things the correct way.


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