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Cultural Differences

How I Saved My Party
by Ben; March 23, 2008



Since I settled in Canada, I have never felt any of the happy moods I was used to having during the Lunar New Year. Suddenly, a terrific inspiration came to me! Why don't I hold a potluck party myself in our apartment's lounge on this occasion?

Seventeen guests were invited, some Asian and some Caucasian. I decorated the lounge with splendid candles, fragrant flowers and played soft music.

In order to provide sufficient food for the party, I woke up very early in the morning to cook many courses of delicious food—beef, prawn, fish, salad, noodles—were displayed for the guests to enjoy. I expected more dishes would be brought to the potluck party by my friends, so the food would be far more than enough.

Something happened outside of my expectation because some of the Chinese brought chicken wings, chicken feet and guts. These kind of foods weren’t familiar for the other guests, so they merely touched it, and said, ”My God! What is that?”

More surprisingly, most westerners came with chocolates or beautiful flowers instead of food, which were piled up all over the tables, and made the lounge look like a floral and confectionery shop. A Chinese boy whispered to me, “Why did they bring flowers that I can't eat?”

I replied to him with a smile, “Many westerners prefer pursuing a romantic atmosphere during dinner.” Fortunately, I had already personally prepared more than sufficient food—all on big plates. Otherwise, those guests would have had only flowers to chew for New Year's dinner.

The next day, I received lots of calls from friends to express their deep appreciation. From this potluck party, I learned that, although easterners and westerners are different in many ways culturally, they can blend together harmoniously—that is the spirit of Canadians.