March 20, 2011

Social Norms

People from other countries interact significantly different from those of the United States. On Friday, I went to the TSU to microwave my food. Standing in front of the microwaves, I saw this Korean exchange student that my friend knew because she was part of this welcoming committee at school. I remember she introduced us to each other. We greeted each other. Then, I offered him some muffins to him because I had a plate of muffins from my supervisor. Sitting down, I had a slight chat with him. Asked him a bit about Korea. Told him nothing about me. We had this kind of big language barrier because he doesn't speak English that well whereas I do not know any Korean.

After awhile I realized that he nodded a lot. It was then when I realized that he probably didn't understand much of my English. I tend to talk pretty fast as well as mumble. Only my closest friends would understand or even hear me when I mumble. So, I started quizzing him. I know, this is not the best method to befriend anyone. I asked him if he knew what I was saying before. He shook his head. Oh the horror. I felt so horrible. So, after I talked a bit, I'd ask him whether he knew what I meant. Like, I asked him if he knew what "psychology" was. For awhile, he was stumped. Then, I asked him what he did in Korea. Apparently he was a reporter. Pretty cool, right? So, that's why he's a Radio-TV-Film major.

Anyway, I didn't know what else to say after awhile. Also, he stopped eating. In a huge plate of muffins, he ate half of them. Well, all the muffins were cut up into fours, so he probably just ate like one and a half muffins. I didn't know how to say good-bye. So, I told him to join me to fold cranes for this fundraiser that would help Japan's relief. He said no thanks so that was that.

Walking outside of the TSU Courtyard, we bid farewell to each other and went our separate ways.

Anyway, getting to the point of this post, the next day on facebook message he writes this cute (sounds so Asian) message:

hi! Liny~~
Thanks yesterday~I will stop by the woman center on friday later~
let's hang out after exam~^^

Ah, cute note, right? I didn't know that people still write thank you notes these days. I use to write thank you notes all the time--well on Facebook. When people gave me a ride home, I'd write a note of thanks. I tell them thank you in person the next day. All those shenanigans that it probably got annoying.

I guess after awhile, I stopped writing letters of appreciation. I just assumed that people would know that I am thankful of them. Sometimes I forget that people want to feel appreciated. I think most people aren't exactly grateful of me as a friend. I complain a lot. I unintentionally judge strangers (behind their backs). I assume a lot. Sometimes I am rude. I'm not exactly the greatest friend in the world. So, I am grateful for those that manage to stick with me through the thick and thin.

I guess it is somewhat of a social norm for some people in different countries to always give thanks. I'm going to try to remember to give my thanks to everyone around me. Thanks for being there. :)


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