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My name was Ngan, who was a Vietnamese girl in our scenario. My boyfriend was Ahem, who comes from India. We knew each other via Facebook. A month later, I invited him to come to Vietnam to meet each other and introduce him to my parents.

In my family meal, my mother cooked many delicious dishes and invited him to eat caramelized pork and eggs which were a favorite food of all members of my family. Until now I knew he could not eat pork because of his religion.

The pork was a popular dish in Vietnam and other countries. There were so many delicious foods which made from pork. For example, a square glutinous rice cake, which filled with green bean paste and fat pork or caramelized pork and eggs. These were the Vietnamese traditional foods, especially in Lunar New Year.

Secondly, My family was she ate with the fingers that really made my mother angry.

In my culture, using chopsticks to eat is a long tradition in Vietnam and other Asian countries. Vietnamese chopsticks were often made from wood or bamboo because they were typical of the Vietnamese village culture such as the pictures of bamboo. We use chopsticks to enjoy food, including rice, noodle or savory pastry.

As far as I knew, Europeans used knives, forks in their meal. That was the way of eating imitated predatory animal lived underground. In contrast, the way of using chopsticks of Asian was imitated birds. Vietnam was a tropical country where was suitable for birds such as stork, crane. These birds were attached to the life of the farmer and appeared in songs, verses. They became images which were inscribed on a bronze drum. It was the symbol of ancient culture. Because of that connection, chopsticks appeared on the Vietnamese meal. It became a beauty culture which Vietnamese people were extremely proud of that. Without author: (“Doi dua net dep truyen thong – am thuc Viet”, 2015).

In Vietnam, using chopsticks showed the subtle concern and share.The chopsticks are also the metaphor of solidarity, internal strength. When people started the meal, especially in a traditional meal, they used clean chopsticks to get food so that they invited people around tray before they pick up the food for themselves.

In the other hand, Ahem ate with the fingers. In India, as well as other parts of the world, eating with your hands is part of the culture. There was, in fact, a skill to it and manners to follow. There were also several health benefits of eating with your hands such as improving digestion and prevention of diabetes. There was also an even deep significance as to why eating with your hands is so important according to Indian culture.

According to the article that I read, the practice of eating with the hands originated within Ayurvedic teachings. The Vedic people believed that our body is in sync with the elements of nature and our hands hold a certain power. The Ayurvedic texts teach that each finger is an extension of one of the five elements such as space, air, fire, water, and earth. When you ate with your hands, you were supposed to do so by joining all fingers together. This was believed to improve our consciousness of the taste of the food we eat. Not only are you feeding your body, but also your mind and spirit. Besides, eating with your hands was respectful. When you were invited into the home of an Indian family for a meal, it was a mark of respect for the host and god to physically touch your food when eating. Without author: (“Why Indians eat with their hands”, 2015).

Ahem smiled when my young brother ate with the left hand. Because the left hand was considered to be unclean in India. The left hand was for wiping your bottom, cleaning your feet and other unsavory functions while the right hand was for eating, shaking hands and so on. (David Abram, 2003,p. 53)

Besides, The pork was a popular dish in Vietnam, but Ahem could not eat it because he was a Muslim. As I know, the pork is taboo based on Islamic laws and it is one of those forbidden foods in Muslim. The pork is not dirty, but rather regarded as impure, unhealthy and harmful to humans due to the fats, toxins, and bacteria. (“Why pork is forbidden for Muslims?”, 2012)

All that was the difference between Vietnam and India culture. This was a problem that made cultural conflict. My mother thought that Ahem was impolite, not respect her and not accept him. My father kept his head, listened to Ahem. He said that When I was young, I traveled many places. I found it difficult to understand and learn a new culture.

In our scenario, I loved Ahem, so I accepted his culture. I explained Vietnam culture to him and he really wanted to learn and change so that he could get along with others and adjust to the new surroundings in Vietnam.

I persuaded my mother and explained India culture. I said that the reason Ahem could not eat pork because it was a forbidden thing in his religion. Moreover, he ate from his hand because it was the cultural specificity in India. We always love our culture. He could not change immediately from the first time.

As a matter of fact, eating with the fingers was not only the Indian culture. It depended on foods that people had different manner. Eating by hand was the way of eating that was instinctive so that anyone or any nation could apply when they needed.

Therefore, The mother understood and sympathized with Ahem in our scenario. Now I think we love our culture that is deeply engraved in our minds. When we visited a new country, we would learn about its culture to adjust. If I visit India, maybe I will be feel like a fish out of water and need to get used to new foods or environments.

Every country had a different culture and own beauty. It could be obviously known as the differences of lifestyle, language or celebration. The differences between cultures could make it very difficult to adjust to the new surroundings. In my opinion, people come from another country who have the right to keep and proud of their cultural identity.



Comments  
Was this posted somewhere else? It's a nice story.