This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Seeing your own culture

As someone who enjoys studying history, I am mostly fascinated by ordinary day-to-day living. Yes, I pay a little bit of attention to Kings, Empires, wars, that sort of thing. But mostly I want to know the small details of life, like what did they eat, what their etiquette was, that sort of stuff. To me, that's culture. And the one thing I know about culture is it seems to be something that only other groups of people have, as one's own personal culture is simply *the way things are done*.

I live in Arizona, and grew up in Minnesota, so I can see the culture of these different places. I've noticed that people who have never moved away from where they grew up don't see their own culture at all. Where there are culture clashes are when two groups disagree on *how things are done*.

The holidays are a great time to examine culture. Today is Thanksgiving, and what people eat today will depend on their culture. Since it's a time when families get together, and often travel great distances, it's also a time to see culture clash. And it's always about the tiniest things, like whether potatoes should be served with turkey, or whether turkey should be served at all. And forget the cranberries? It simply isn't done!

Culture, of course, includes etiquette, and this where there can be serious clashes. Who sits down at the table first? Should the guests bring a bottle of wine? Is alcohol acceptable? The list goes on and on, and can be extremely difficult to navigate for someone from a different culture, even a slightly different one.

If you don't believe that you have a particular culture, you simply aren't seeing what other people see. And if you believe that everyone in the world shares your culture, you will probably have a tendency to become impatient with people who don't know *how things are done*.
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