being ethnicized

(no name) ((no email))
Wed, 14 Dec 1994 17:48:59 EDT

I have found that even a short period of fieldwork in other countries can
radically change your habits. i did fieldwork at archaeological sites
in france over the years, but even after the first 6 week trip, i found
my eating habits had changed, as did my attitude to travelling by train,
which while never a pleasant experience in canada was delightful in europe.
i was amazed to find that the french used "parking", "weekend", "camping"
and several other english words (which the quebecois would have shunned)
in every day parlaiance. i now use them in my french too. as for shopping,
it is a rare week that does not see brie or camberbert in my cart.
bordeaux has spoiled me for most other wines. and a number of french
menus have joined my meager cooking repertoire.

but you don't need to leave home to be ethnicized. when i was younger i lived
with a hongkong-born chinese guy for 7 years. during that time i adopted
many of the cooking and eating habits typical of the chinese, esp. the
cantonese variants. i still do cook a lot of chinese and purchase numerous
sauces, dried foods, etc that few non-chinese would use. and i learned
cantonese and mandarin (badly i admit) to be able to speak to some of his
relatives. this has produced some very strange results. i can go into
a chinese restaurant or grocery and say a few polite phrases (about all
i really remember well enough to use prperly) and shock the hell out of them.
i use chopsticks and eat from the bowl in a way that often offends my non-
chinese friends. and chinese grocery clerks can't believe their eyes
when they see what i buy.

food for thought.