Monday, July 25, 2011

Explanations, Weddings, and Clean Socks

It's 3:55 pm here in Malaysia, and man do I have something to blog about. Well, quite a few somethings.
Let's begin with the idea of blogging. Let's not think of this as a blog, but as the preparations for a Thesis. Since AFS has become the life of so gosh darn many returnees, in Education, Volunteer Work and Careers, my host father pointed out that this experience should be cataloged for future use, not as a blog or a measly school project, but as a Thesis, because apparently I'm going places.
My natural father thinks so too, he even sent me a link to Harvard's School of Witchcraft and- wait, no. It was the JFK School of government. Still at Harvard. Talk about pressure.

So, moving on to Weddings. I love weddings in the West, and in New England they are these beautiful, elaborate, picture book things that cause everyone to just forget their woes and join a nice, natural party. Sure marriage is a dying institution, seeing as how 1 in every 2 marriages ends in a divorce ("So It'll be you or your wife" ~famous comedian). And sure, also, that it fosters a commitment that would otherwise not exist and cause a psychological barrier to both parties, but the actual ceremonies are good, clean, fun. At the post-ceremony festivities I attended, the guests were to seat themselves at different tables and in one case be served via buffet, and in the other the food was on a Lazy Susan on the table that presumably kept the food warm. The food was delicious, and was the first time I tried a few different things. I'll post pictures later, I'm having a little bit of trouble uploading them right now. I took pictures of the food, the family I'm staying with here and their family, as well as flowers. Lots and lots of shots of flowers. Also the atmosphere in the room was photographed by yours truly. It's really upsetting to me that I don't have the photos here for you. Maaf (sorry in Malay)

After the second wedding (because there were two this weekend), I went with my eldest host sister and eldest host brother to a family members house where I met all the important AFS Malaysia people. It's really a family affair with these ones. I'm so great full to have such a large family involvement here, they already know what the things are that go wrong and go out of their way to address them so I don't screw up. It's like having every great friend by your side pointing out your mistakes and telling you the dire consequences they could lead to if you continue to make them. Very very helpful :)
But for real, I'm eternally greatful. I am equally greatful to my host uncle who took the time at the post-wedding gathering to explain to me the social repercussions of Islam and it's practice in Malaysia. Getting to talk to someone who knows how it is in the US and has taught classes of students here in Malaysia was really eye opening. I understood so much more about the culture I'll call home for these next 11 months. I'll make sure to go into it later, it's such a heavy subject.
Speaking of heavy subjects that require explanation, my host father kindly explained the... uhm... exhibition at school. I'm still uncomfortable, but now I can understand it a little better. It's all to do with religion's influence on the society here. Again, more detail later. I'll save these stories for when school and life here stops being so actively engaging.
Clean socks. Everybody loves clean socks. This is the philosophy on which I will base my life. Think about it- have you ever met someone who doesn't like clean socks? No. Neither have I. Even children realize they don't like walking into a bit of spilled water in the kitchen in socks. They freak out. Even cultures without the daily use of socks appreciate on those rare occasions to have access to clean socks. This is a big idea- we all crave the same clean simplicity. Even though we might wear dirty socks from time to time, nobody enjoys it for long. We have basic human desires for love, compassion, understanding, something to believe in. When something fails and you are denied one of these things, it's not just that the washer is broken. It's that there's no soap in the house. Do you understand? So let's all just forget weather we prefer Argyle or plain whites, knee-highs or ankle cut, or even if we wear socks to bed, because in the end, everyone likes them clean.
I'll get those pictures of the wedding and of me in a traditional costume and of the house soon. Until then,
~Peggy

1 comment:

  1. So, did you wear clean socks to the wedding? ;^)

    ReplyDelete