Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Rose by any Other Color....

It is said that Asia is steeped in culture, and tradition (and perhaps superstition).  For example, one should never give a clock as a present because it means the receiver's time is limited.  Being raised in the United States, I was unaware of this code of conduct and was thus prone to committing social faux pas.  Here are a few things I have done without intending to offend:

--Gave my uncle a bowl of raw rice for dinner (it was supposed to be funny, but I disrespected the man of the house)
--Smiled and laughed during a period of mourning (disrespectful to the deceased)
--Stuck my chopsticks straight up in my rice bowl (someone at the table is going to die)
--Bought knives as a present (I don't know what this meant, but I know I got in trouble)

My worst infraction was intended to be a thoughtful gesture.  My aunt (uncle's wife) from the motherland came here to have a brain tumor removed.  She brought with her a brother's wife who, along with my mom, took care of her while she healed.

Mother's Day was soon upon us, and I went to a florist that had only three roses left.  I bought all three and returned home.  I gave one to my mother, one to my aunt's sister-in-law, and then I quickly bound up the stairs to give a rose to my ailing aunt.  As I handed her the flower, her face went pale, and she refused to accept the rose.  I went back downstairs to tell my mom of aunt's odd behavior when my mom saw that the flower I had offered her was white, the color of death and mourning.


clueless said...

Hmmm... I may have been the recipient of one of those knife purchases. If you ever find out what it means, don't tell me, okay? I am grateful for the conspicuous lack of white flowers...thanks for that!

Lar. said...

I remember that. I too, was confused by that.. at the time.