Thursday, 16 June 2011

Mannerisms.

I suppose something that has become very obvious to me this year is the difference in mannerisms. There are some things which I've come to realise are very specific to the UK, European Culture. And people here just really don't understand them... But as well as this, there are some mannerisms which I've discovered are very specific to Mauritian/French Culture and I probably can never hope to fully understand.

First there are the fairly innocent ones. No one seems to understand the meaning behind "X x x" at the end of a text or card. It honestly never occurred to me that this would confuse people. It's just naturally something most of us do in the UK. I suppose the Mauritian equivalent is "Gros Bisous" (Big Kiss). Nevertheless it is extremely amusing when people ask me about the 'peculiar X x x' at the end of my last text - "Is some of the text missing?".

On a different end of the spectrum. We discovered early on in our year that there is a big difference in the meaning behind simple hand gestures here. For example the simple 'go away' wave* in the UK means completely the oppsoite here - 'come here' wave*. You can only imagine the confusion this caused us at first, "What? You want us to come? Yes? No? Make up your mind!".

Then there are the slightly more annoying ones... It's seems that in the UK we are quite anal about the 'queue system' - and I'm very grateful for that. In Mauritius, when it comes to queues, the attitude is very "ME FIRST". I've got my elbowing and shoving techniques down - yes, it can get violent. But otherwise, you're always last. Which can have disasterous consequences if the next bus doesn't come for another 20minutes! I'm just worried about going back to the UK and everytime the bus arrives running at it like a screaming Viking prepared for battle. And then everyone will look at me like, "What the hell is she doing!?".

And then there are the ones which are generally quite nice. Like the oh so lovely 'bisous'. So, in Mauritius there's a French influence which explains the language and 'bisous'. The 'bisous' is something I've really learnt to like. At first it seemed quite awkward kissing a person on both cheeks as a greeting and farewell. But it's very friendly, polite and final. Whereas in the UK we have, the awkward wave, the awkward hug and of course the awkward, "So, I'll see you later!". However, what can make the 'bisous' slightly awkward is when a child tries to purposfully lick you on the face everytime you drop your gaurd (just one of many normal occurences at SOS Children's Kindergarten) - thanks Surya.

Surya, looking quite innocent.

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