March 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
As the international community disputed how best to deal with the Libyan crisis, a conglomerate of world citizens dined quite peacefully, bickering only on what adjectives would best describe the wine. The four Germans suggested “flowery” and “cherry-like”; the Spaniard said it was “a good mark”; the two Moroccans were impartial; the Frenchman, our resident oenophile, deemed it “boisé”. As Ban-Ki Moon called on the UN to impose heavy sanctions against Libya, we gave our sanction to eggplant with goat cheese, spicy stuffed peppers, and lemon-mint strawberries. As refugees seeped through borders, we sat, discussed, and digested. As Gaddafi places a deliberately paltry amount of importance on the value of human lives, we sincerely bid each other a parting “salama”.
True enough, sometimes intercultural communication does not flow easily. I am still trying to make progress with my research project, but my expectations seem to be very different from those of my host organization. Spending hours on terraces and bicycles had given me a bit of a sunburn, which I rarely get. But as my landlord remarked, further illustrating my current dilemma of culture expectations, “well you ARE in North Africa, ma cherie.”