Brianna Jentz
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Invisible Backpack

September 12, 2010 @ 9:51 AM | Permalink

 

I'm in Scotland!  I'm in Scotland!  I'm in Scotland!  This is a very momentous moment in my life.  I'm discovering fish and chips, that bathroom stall topics are "what do men really wear under their kilts?", and constantly converting pounds into U.S. dollars in my head.  I am in a new country.  Oh my gosh, I am in a new country.... What if I say something wrong?  What if I fail to walk on the correct side of the road?  What if I'm too "American?"

To some people I may be over-analyzing the fact that I am not longer in the comfort of my mid-west way of life, but I think it's a big deal.   There is so much of the world I haven't seen and so many concepts of which I am not aware.  For instance,  I didn't realize that women in the United Kingdom do not wear tennis shoes, but instead prefer flats.  This is just a minor culture change that I have experienced.  A main part of examining culture are the symbols.  For me, words are a major symbol of the culture.  Scotland has a very distinct English language from that of American English.  In Scotland "a wee bit" substitutes "a little."  "To let" means "to rent."  Even the way we express ourselves when we are being fooled is different.  I was on the bus on my way to Edinburgh when a mother and her two young children sat down in the seats across the aisle from me. It wasn't a minute after the bus recommenced it's journey that the three year old son and the older daughter were making a ruckus. Squirmy as he could be, the son twisted from his mother's grasp while the girl stamped on her mother's foot. Well the behavior that I was watching wasn't too shocking, but I was amused to hear the mother say “I'm not that daft.” For some reason these few words made me chuckle. My mother wouldn't have responded this way, but it is true that one shouldn't judge cultural differences in parenting based on a few. There was also a young father who looked bewildered at the crying screeches his newborn was making. Instead of dealing with the situation on the bus, he precisely pressed the button and got off of the bus as soon as possible. I'm not certain if this was his stop or not, but either way he did look quite irritated.

Another part of the co-culture here is public transportation. I am not certain this is the case in all of Scotland, but in the Dalkeith and Edinburgh area it is a major way of transpiration. Even more crucial about public transportation is the way that many people communicate. Back in Bloomington, WI, Ma's Bakery is the place to exchange news and gossip. From what I have experienced thus far in Scotland, the bus is a very important way for people to see each other. There are many who are accustomed to riding the bus everyday and friendships are formed through this. I also observed two old friends (who hadn't seen each other for several years) randomly running into each other on the bus and reminiscing about the “olden days.” I am coming to realize that the bus plays a very specific role in the cultural communication. It has also been a way for myself and other housemates to become accustomed to the new culture we are experiencing.

Another instance of intercultural communication that caught my interest is the resent plan of a Florida parish to burn Korans on September 11th . Terry Jones, the Floridian Pastor, has stated that this is to protest the building of a mosque in New York. General Petraeus has warned that this may place soldiers in Afghanistan and the remaining troops in Iraq in harms way. This is also an excellent example of how there are many misconceptions between cultures. The horrors of September 11 have added to the stereotypes against the Muslim world and have increased intolerance and persecution. Even if this church does not agree with the teachings of the Koran and is greatly angered by the previous events, it should try to show some respect. Like any other group, the Islamic community has the right to build a mosque near ground zero. Still many people associate terror with the teachings of Muhammed. The Koran is seen as a holy book to many people and it is in poor taste to burn it. Religion is primary in looking at a culture. Many celebrations, relationship, and customs are derived from religion. The link to the article is provided below:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/09/07/florida.quran.burning/index.html?hpt=T2#fbid=zMLIVHhglr3&wom=false

When I started this blog, I wasn't certain how the potential Koran burning would play out. Today September 11, 2010 and the pastor has stated that “not now, not ever” will his church burn Korans. Either this was a great ploy to gain media time or he was serious about the whole plan. Luckily, public opinion was able to educate this congregation on the importance of respecting other cultures. This is also another example of how apathetic most are. They do not care to learn about new cultures. Instead they are angry over people dressing “funny” or for eating “weird” foods.

I know that my experiences in Scotland will strengthen my understanding of world politics and will also help me understand different nations reasoning. My “bathroom stall reading” has reminded me that I must first describe, then interpret, and then try to evaluate the differences of Scottish, American, and all other cultures.

 

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Posted on 9/12/2010 by

Brianna Jentz

Brianna Jentz

Please disregard this post and read the one titled "Invisible Packback 2" for a better representation of grammatical correctness.

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Please disregard this post and read the one titled "Invisible Packback 2" for a better representation of grammatical correctness.

Brianna Jentz on Invisible Backpack 2010-09-12

I apologize for a very grave error that I included in this paper. The right for women to vote came in the 19th amendment which was passed in 1919 but ...

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