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    (August 2, 2004)


Meiling illustrates one of the difficulties of adapting to a new culture: different values regarding hanging out clothes.

Hanging Up the Clothes by Meiling

      I collected all my dirty clothes, put them in a basket, and went to the laundry room on the very first weekend in Vancouver. There were three washers on one side and three dryers on the other. I inserted $1.25, added detergent, and then began to wash my clothes. Outside, it was very bright, the sunshine filled my balcony. What a beautiful day! It won't take even half a day and my clothes will dry completely with that sunshine smell that is my favourite, I thought.

     I found a rope and tied it up in the balcony to prepare to hang up my clothes. 30 minutes later, I got my clothes from the laundry room and picked them up for hanging up outside—on the balcony. I hung up a red t-shirt, blue blouse, green sweater—whatever I had in my basket. After a while, the colourful clothes filled the balcony. I was satisfied by what I had done.

     When I was preparing my lunch, someone knocked on my door. It was the apartment manager. She said: "Meiling, we don't allow the tenants of this building to hung up clothes on the balcony. Your are supposed to use the dryer to dry your clothes." I wondered, why? In my country, China, everyone does what I had just done. People there believe that the sunshine can kill germs; this a good thing for everyone.

    But here, in Canada, people think differently about it. This was the first difference between cultures that impressed me very much.




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