Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Southern California evenings

Sometimes I wonder what I would have been like if I had stayed all my life in Southern California. I find that I'm definitely not as laid back as most of my family is, nor as inclined to just sit and relax. I must seem like a compulsive worrywart to people around me here. I wonder how much of this is personality, how much is summertime thinking, how much is Japanese influence. The daily sleeping in and sitting on the porch listening to the birds is relaxing to a point but there is no schedule set for the day. In Japan usually I have my week planned out in hour increments. Here someone mentions going to the mall or out to eat and then I jump to it, sit clutching my bag and ready to go while everyone else starts a new TV program or decides to take a shower or something. I put my bag down and maybe 45 minutes later someone will say, "Ok, shall we go?" and I jump up again. The phone rings and we all go into hold again for another 15 minutes. The same thing happens in reverse. "Ok. Time to head home." and I've gathered up things and am ready to start out to the car when a new conversation starts or something in a store catches someone's attention and it's another 20 minutes before we get going in a specific direction. I can just picture Tetsu in the throws of irritation over this and it throws me for a loop too. That's not to say I'm not relaxing. I've usually got a book open but I feel like I need to keep myself on call in case someone makes a suggestion.

We spent the evening with some family friends and I made a few observations there too. First of all, one of Marcy's friend's daughter who is about Leiya's age, came over to spend the day. I was a little surprised that this very bubbly teenage girl who had never met Leiya until the day before would warm up so much and be so willing to want to be friendly. What I'm saying is that I don't think Japanese teenagers would be so easy going about making a new friend. This girl has got her own friends and life, why would she want to put out the effort of getting to know Leiya? Anyway, we decided to go to the mall. Just as we were leaving, the family friends (neighbors) called to invite everyone over for fish tacos so my brother and nephew went but we girls went shopping and picked up the neighbor's daughter too, promising to stop by later.

After shopping, all of us went back to the neighbors' s house where everyone was sitting around the pool chatting and eating. The husband deep fried some of the fish that they'd caught a couple of days ago and there were tortillas and salsa and cabbage and cheese and it was a serve yourself meal. The "party" lasted until 10:30 and candles were lit, the children were swimming, someone brought out a guitar, a bit of singing began. The neighbor's teenage son was there as was Leiya and the girl who had spent the day with us (the other kids were all 12 and younger). I just thought it nice and a bit unusual that these teenage kids would sit around on the porch with their parents and parents' friends listening, singing, talking about school and part time jobs, just being friendly and social. What's unusual? Well, I don't think too many Japanese teenagers would feel comfortable participating in the mainly adult conversation nor would they be expected to by their parents. I know when my kids were in Japan I always made Takumi and Leiya greet guests but they didn't stay around and socialize. Ahh!!! Southern California evenings!

Nothing in the way of pictures. Here are some shots of the bougainvillea around my mom's house. The one in the pot she just bought a few days ago and my brother came home and looked horrified!
"Not killer bougainvillea!? That stuff is deadly!"
He is referring to the fact that he can't seem to kill the bougainvillea that grows up over the roof of the house every couple of months.
"But it's so pretty." my mom says.
"Then you go out with the chainsaw." he mutters under his breath.


anne bebbington said...

That sort of relaxing evening sounds just the ticket and so nice that the teenagers would want to be part of it - not sure if it would happen in the UK, probably not because of the weather, my Sarah would happily stay and join the chat, not sure about her mates though, suppose some of it's down to personalities of both the adults and the kids

Connie W said...

I think the laid-back attitude is not confined to Southern CA. The behavior you described is common with people here. Can I reach you on your regular email address? I need to ask you something. Thanks!

Shelina said...

I was brought up the way Leiya was as well. I think it is not just a change of the culture, but also a change of the times, that children are now treated as little adults, and are welcome to join in adult conversations. Here in Ohio, the children are part of the conversations as well, although they can disengage when it gets too boring.
The waiting part sounds like me too, although I have gotten to a point where I am the one who keeps Sushi waiting when she is ready. She's gotten to a point where she understands that she can generally wait for the third "let's go" before she actually has to get up. LOL
I can see in my Japanese guest that she does get nervous whenever I talk to her, and asks Sushi to repeat what I say. I do try to make my words clear and my sentences short, but I think she just feels more comfortable with Sushi.

Quilting Journey said...

I am delighted, Tanya, that you were able to figure out both your brother's computer and connecting to your blog so easily! It is just wonderful to be able to read about your impressions of the culture here in comparison to what you have grown used to. And tell your mom, her flowers are gorgeous and I'd let them grow too! Also, your Wonky Word quilt is phenomenal! You do Tonya R. proud... and she sets such a high bar, too! I just LOVE it!!!