A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more. "Every hour is saved from that eternal silence, something more, a bringer of new things." – Tennyson

Six Little Ways Non-Western Cultures Have Made My Life Better

asdfsdafThis is a quick (not exhaustive) list just for fun:

1. Japan, ramen noodles. Need I say more?

2. I’ll list only one other item of food gratitude (otherwise I’d be here all day): Thai food. It is THE BEST.

3. Botswana (in Africa): reading about this country and culture through Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series has dramatically opened my eyes to the fact that not everyone in the world rushes around all the time like we Americans do. When I pick up one of those books, I get to sit and drink tea with Mma Ramotswe, and I’m inspired in my real life to slow down and listen to birds, look at grass, and breathe and reflect.

4. Russia gave life to Tolstoy: the more I dig into his works, the more I find them enlightening, moving, thought-provoking, engaging, and most of all, inspiring.

5. The rainforests in Brazil and other South and Central American countries, although I’ve never visited one, have been a source of fascination to me ever since my third-grade teacher led us through a semester-long study of rainforests, complete with our own elaborate paper-mache rainforest. The dense flora and brilliant fauna there are sources of continual enchantment to my inner-child mind.

6. Singapore gave me a good friend in a time of need when our paths crossed once, years ago. She’s not reading this, probably, but just in case: thank you, Raadthie!

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9 comments on “Six Little Ways Non-Western Cultures Have Made My Life Better

  1. emilievardaman
    May 15, 2014

    All good except the Ramen noodles! I would take Mexican culture/food/music/Day of the Dead/pyramids etc. over those noodles hands down.

    Like

    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 15, 2014

      Haha, I knew someone would say that! I love Mexican food too. It’s probably my second favorite ethnic food, after Thai. But I couldn’t not mention ramen noodles. I don’t mean just the brand called Ramen, but all the brands of instant noodle bowls/soups. They are so helpful for me.

      Like

  2. Emily J.
    May 15, 2014

    I love McCall Smith’s books. Have you read his Isabel Dalhousie series?

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    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 15, 2014

      No, I haven’t gotten to his other serieses yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to them!

      Like

  3. lucindasagemidgorden
    May 15, 2014

    For Japan I’d pick sushi over ramen noodles. I only saw the Singapore airport. Never read The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, but I saw one of the movies. It was fun. I’d pick Greece for many reasons. The origin of theatre is there, one of my passions, and I loved the food. France for the artwork, Australia for the friendly people, and our friend Rick. And I’m with Emilie. I love Mexican food too.

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    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 16, 2014

      Thanks for the thoughts, Lucinda. These all sound like good choices! Really, I want to visit every country and every culture—and not just visit, but thoroughly get to know. Sadly, that’s impossible! I’ll just have to visit as many as I can in person, and the rest in books, I think! 🙂

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  4. stacilys
    May 15, 2014

    Yeah! You mentioned Brazil. You are more than welcome to come for a visit :-).
    I like what you mentioned about Botswana too. Having traveled extensively, and being that I am a YWAM missionary, I absolutely love experiencing other cultures. That’s what initially made me want to read this when I saw it in the Reader. An interesting tidbit of information for ya. There is a huge difference in the way of living between hot-climate and cold-climate countries. Hot-climate countries are more relationship oriented, and not placing as much of an importance on tasks. This is why things get done much slower in hot-climate cultures and people are lot more forgiving with being late and such. In fact, being late is expected. Cold-climate cultures are more task oriented. For a person from a cold-climate country, the emphasis is more on ‘getting things done’ and production. As a Canadian, my husband used to tell me, in my earlier years in Brazil, “Staci, people are more important than the work”. Interesting, don’t you think?
    🙂

    Like

    • Sarrah J. Woods
      May 16, 2014

      Thanks, Staci, that’s really interesting. I hadn’t put that together before—the distinction between hot-climate and cold-climate cultures. I wonder what the reason is? I guess in cold climates people spend more time indoors and thus separated from each other, and perhaps there’s also more instinct to work in order to survive through the cold. This is great food for thought.

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      • stacilys
        May 16, 2014

        Hi Sarah, yea, actually there’s a whole book on it called, Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot and Cold Climate Cultures”, by Sarah Lanier. One thing she say in it is, “I have a theory that the whole world was at one time much more “hot-climate” and that only with the industrial revolution and the artificial imposition of structured time did that change in certain societies.” I think that she could very well be right.
        🙂

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This entry was posted on May 15, 2014 by in Discoveries from Living and tagged , , , , , , , .
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