There is a point at which, (and for some of us that’s multiple times a day) we become acutely aware of our own idiosyncrasies. And nothing brings that into sharper focus than interacting with those from another culture.
Especially we Americans.
This isn’t any sort of guilt trip, but Americans do tend to take up a lot of “space,” physically, verbally and emotionally. It’s deeply rooted in our culture.
Having married into a Chinese family, I can practically reach out and *touch* the Americanisms.
For me, the greatest of those has become my love affair with idioms. I speak in them, I breathe in them and I probably even shower in idioms. Similes and metaphors are what I consume and regurgitate for every snack and meal. Now I just went back and read what I wrote and realize that of course, I did it again.
As I’m writing emails to my Chinese partners who are producing the lion’s share of all materials related to the books and the books themselves, I find myself writing emails, then having to go back and rewrite dozens of times to be more direct and transparent.
These brilliant humans who are speaking and emailing with people all over the world take on the daily challenge of communicating with people who are NOT Chinese.
And I just don’t want to give them an email filled with literary landmines, thereby making their day more taxing than it has to be.
As you can well imagine, this is extremely hard for a writer.
So I *try* to take off my writer hat and put on my straightforward business hat.
And from what I’ve experienced over the years, Chinese people are so SO gracious. And kind.
I mean, my in-laws have embraced this loud, expressive and passionate American. My mother-in-law speaks of me with fondness. That, my friend, is not me. That is God’s influence in what could be a very divisive scenario. Interracial marriage isn’t for the weak at heart. But it IS for the heart of God, because bridging differences is what He does best.
So as I’m writing to my Chinese manufacturing company, I’m trying so very hard to keep it “business-speak.” I expressed to my liaison that I was nervous about the project because there were a number of moving parts that were new to me.
Mr. Kevin Lau fires back with this:
“Don’t worry, Sara, I got your back.”
Did he just write an American idiom?
Mr. Kevin Lau, sir… you have just opened up the floodgates.
Game is ON. This American is now firing on all idiom-ic cylinders.
From Tianchang, China to Phoenix Arizona, it is now a war of attrition.
Little known fact: Plenty of wars have started for lesser communication breakdowns.
If it came down to an actual war of words, I’d be killed outright.
I’d spend far too long loading my chamber.
So many words… so little time.
While you wait for me to reload, please enjoy this cute picture of Abacus, who is now a stuffed plush. And he will be one of the “rewards” in our Kickstarter campaign in March to raise funds for printing.
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