“I would like to cordially invite you to my place this saturday evening at 7pm onwards for an evening of home cooked indian dinner, with some drinks and great company”
The invitation instantly triggered all this questions in my head.
“What to wear?”
“What to bring?”
“How to behave?”
“What to talk about?”
When going to a dinner at a friends place I was raised that you should bring a gift , a bottle of wine, flowers, something saying “Thank you for having me”. Due to three midterms this week I barely had time to get myself dressed for this event. Therefore I was going through every cupboard in the apartment searching for a proper gift. After ditching the idea of bringing washing powder, hat, photo of myself or note book, I decided to go for a tray with painted swedish horses (sorry mom but it is absolutely horrible) and a grapefruit.
On my way in a cab with tray and fruit I must say I was a bit shaky. It was not the nervousness that occur before an exam, this was better, a weird version of excitement.
I always find it interesting to meet new people and try new things. Keeping an open mind have given me so much in terms of experiences and new friends here in Singapore. This dinner party was no different. If you boil it down it dose not matter where you are from, what color your skin is or what you believe in. We all find happiness in similar things. It does not matter if you celebrate christmas 24th of December, 25th of December or do not celebrate christmas at all. You can always adapt to the way they do it where you are at the moment or keep your own tradition if you prefer.
From my experience what do matter is the reality we are raised in. In Sweden it is natural to asume that everyone is born equal and free to do what they want with their life. To me it seems that most times this is not the case here in Singapore. Young people are under a lot more pressure to do well from a very young age (referring to the school system) and later on support their parents and sometimes grandparents. If I decide to go for an exchange on the other side of the world or if I decide to get a girlfriend instead of boyfriend my parents are expected to support that decision, even if they do not like it. Not every one had the privileged being raised during this “free” conditions. But they probably love their parents as much as I love mine any way.
My evaluation is that if you always keep in mind that people come from homes with different conditions and accept that fact, you will gain a better understanding and there will be no intercultural conflicts but more intercultural experiences. Which I believe makes your life richer and you will become a better person.
Sometimes Singapore makes me feel like Tarzan, he is quite cool though, so I guess it is alright.