Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cultural Confusion

We got it. Cultural confusion, I mean.
And yeah, of course, we've got it going on on many levels, big and small.
But really, the one on my mind this trip, is the bizarro factor of trying to explain both the whole Disney deal to Marta AND how to explain Halloween.

I knew I was going to have to figure out the whole Halloween explanation to her, by the end of the month at the latest right? But, oh dopey me, I hadn't remembered that Disney does a whole Halloween extravaganza for the holiday...milking every last shiver and shriek they can out of it. And I know they have a holiday of sorts in Ethiopia where kids go door to door asking for candy, but really, that's where the similarity to our holiday ends. No costumes or horror or pumpkins even, that's American.

So I had a double whammy of explaining to do. I think I failed miserably. I tried, really I did. But I saw it all with new eyes: foreign no language eyes, to be exact. And frankly, really, its awfully weird. Both the Disney and the Halloween...but combined: bizarro world. I'm just saying, what else can it look like but bizarro world?

Think about it: you go on rides where you are scared out of your wits thinking you're going to fall out or be crashed into walls or fly right out of your seat...and then everyone gets off jabbering and laughing and hooting with silly grins on their faces. I know, some of that adrenaline rush doesn't need language. But some does: the "Are we having fun yet?" factor. Add to that the visual of every bit of the park is decorated, as only Disney can do, for the ghoul factor of Halloween (thankfully however, minus the more modern fascination w/ gore). But you've got skulls and cobwebs and big spiders hanging from every nook and cranny; skeletons and ghosts and spooky music and witches. Scary stuff, if you don't know the holiday behind it. And if not scary, well, really really weird.

Then you have the lack of cultural immersion is Disney-ana. I am not sure at all about how much Marta realized was real and not real. We stupidly forgot our dictionary, so it was hard to say, "those hippos and crocodiles on the Jungle Cruise are fake, dont' worry. Those pirates aren't shooting at you, it's not real, don't worry." No wonder Pirates of the Caribbean ride was NOT a hit. Aw.

Anyhow, so that's some of the cultural confusion we've been surfing through (in honor of our beach locale) this week.
Almost unexplainable weirdness.
Hopefully, someday soon she'll understand that we don't make a habit of decorating with skulls and cobwebs and skeletons here in America.....but that we just like a bit of goofy silly fun.

3 comments:

Julie said...

This post made me laugh with recognition. I had to walk up to a stranger's porch yesterday so Meazi could touch the fake spiders and realize that they were not dangerous. What a strange place this must seem to them.

Zoe said...

Somehow I think the secularization of All Hallow's Eve/All Saints' Day is easier to explain than Disney. I'm sure you did a fine job. And God bless you for even "doing" Disney!

Sarah and Davis said...

Disney scares me on lots of levels! Way to go, Super Coffee Mom, for tackling what is chaotic as it is - apart from cultural confusion!