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A Whole New Idea of Privacy


Sometimes John and I have arguments. Gasp!—yes it’s true. Our last really big one was on a Saturday. Most of the big ones seem to be on Saturdays as John’s actually at home on those days. A very bad thing about that is that the woman who cleans for us comes on Saturdays. I sort of feel like a prisoner in my own home with no place to go to discuss whatever it is we’re arguing about. This Saturday I was really upset about something and the only place we could discuss it was on the balcony as the floors were being mopped and swept. We were hashing it out pretty good and I was beginning to feel trapped out there, cut off from the privacy of my own home, when a man swung by! I suddenly saw this rope dangling in front of me as I looked out from the balcony with an angry, tear-streaked face. A curious man happened to be suspended just above us and I simply let out a burst of exasperation as this noisy man tried to observe our argument that was taking place on a fourth story balcony. I hid in the corner where he couldn’t see me and John left me there to chill out before bringing my red face into the house. Before I completely got under control, the curious maid comes poking her face out and asking me what’s the matter. Oh, the aggravation of being in a culture that doesn’t understand how much Westerners value their privacy! I told her that I didn’t want to talk about it and hurried inside, locking myself in the bedroom.
Soon after, everything was resolved between John and I and I was thankful for the lock on our door to give us the privacy we needed to come to a place of agreement. Just a wee picture into my struggles with privacy.
Another cultural issue with privacy is rather funny though it drove me crazy at first. Our neighbours across the hall from us don’t have a fridge and have been using ours occasionally for the past several months. I think the wife, who is a very sweet lady that I wish I could communicate better with, is originally from a village. Hence, she has a different idea of the privacy of one’s own home. She almost never knocks or rings the bell, but simply comes right in! I’ve mostly gotten used to it though I still occasionally jump when she suddenly appears at my elbow in the kitchen. She’s been embarrassed a couple of times as John likes to walk around in his boxer shorts and I’ve seen her blush beneath her dark skin, as she ducks her head and hurries out. Guess John’s white legs are quite the sight.;-)

3 Responses to “A Whole New Idea of Privacy”

  1. Rae
    July 27th, 2006 12:19

    I bet they are! Wow, Rachel, this sounds hard. I felt like that even in the flat, in our own culture, as Chinua and I were battling it out in the office and people kept wandering in and out. How hilarious that a man swung by on a rope!

  2. John
    July 28th, 2006 11:50

    EXCUSE me! I happen to have quite a tan for a white guy!!!! Sheeesh.

  3. Rachel
    July 28th, 2006 12:00

    I must admit, John’s legs are pretty tanned, especially compared with mine! But hey, how’s an Indian supposed to know that?
    Rae, I’d say you handle community living better than most Canadians would. Much love to you and your fam.

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