Our Little Culture Clash

The other day we went to a Christmas party.  The hosts were a couple who live in a beautiful and peaceful neighborhood.  This couple are naturally two calm and quite individuals with no interest for loud music or noises.  Living in a condominium does also give this couple extra concerns about the noise that might cause any inconvenience for their neighbors.
The couple introduced us to a family member who had just come for a visit from Iran.  This visitor was here in Vancouver for the first time.

As the evening was unfolding and we were enjoying the great food, we could hear this quest talking about life here in “Canada.”  His comments were interesting and made me to listen more carefully.

This quest made a comment about the quite life here in Vancouver.  He meant that people were not visible out there.  He said that he did not see much life here.  He had expected a bar on every corner of every street.  He had expected seeing people dancing on the streets.  Finally he had thought that life in a free country such as Canada must be more exciting.  People who were around started talking about the activities here in Vancouver and how citizens spend their evenings if they wish so.

However, in my mind we were talking about the level of personal freedom in relation to societal resources.  This conversation made me realize how much the busy traffic in Tehran and the overpopulation has become a normal life.
This man told us about all his music instruments and electric equipments back home, as a way to tell us about his passion for music. He added that all evenings long he could play his instruments and sing along. I thought that was a very good hobby, the healthiest I could think of. However what he meant was that he could play loud music and people are generally happier. This last statement made me however a bit concerned, because every time we Iranian say this whole big general concept, it means we are exaggerating. If people were much happier in our home country, why millions of us have migrated? Anyhow, I did not feel like making any comment. I just thought of how much our reality is complicated.

This quest reminded me how much the social restrictions back home make people to look for excitement elsewhere, whatever it is.  Now in this case playing music is the best you could do for you to keep your mind intact.   I am wondering about the rest of us, those who are less fortunate compare to our friend who can play music.   Most probably the peace and quite on the streets here in Vancouver was heavy for our friend, because back home peacefulness is an far-fetched idea.

He mentioned that in Iran families get together almost regularly and partying; this is what people (like him probably) do. He meant that this is the most exciting thing that is occurring because life out there is a jungle.

Listening to this man, I was thinking how much our values have changed.  This was not and will not be the one discussion about how everywhere is compared to Iran.  Listening to these comparisons between here and there make me always think of the big culture clash among us. Immigration has touched us all very hard. We have hard time what to believe. We come here and forget how things are back there. Still, we are trying to adjust by comparing, contrasting, and hoping all the time. This is good, I guess. We can learn too.

Jan 3, 2009

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