Jan left a comment on the last post about cultural differences in relationships, whether they're a big deal or not, if it gets better with time or if it adds crispy freshness to every serve.
The short answer is: It's a two sided coin. Yes it is refr.. well interesting and is a relatively limitless source of amusement. At the same time it can be kind of frustrating and a little sad that we can't share the stories, jokes, knowledge or experiences that I have with other Australians. It's why I need to go home for such long stretches when I do and surround myself with people who knew me when I was young and why those from my hometown have become that much more important to me. With them, there are many things I don't have to explain, that I can refer to obliquely and still have them laugh. On a very basic level I know that they "get" me in a way DrH never will.
Now, I realise I could just hunt down all Aussie expats here to try and find the same thing, but I deliberately avoided that until about 6 months ago and it still isn't something I want to immerse myself in too deeply. Expats amongst themselves and integration is something I'll get into in some other post.
Soooo. That's my side of it. How I deal with DrH not being of my culture. What about the other way around - me not being of his?
This is also tough. I don't know really what his teenage years were like, for example. I've seen pictures, I know some stories, I know how schools etc work intellectually, but I never experienced it myself. I don't really know what the formative influences on him in these times were: what were the trends or fashions, music, pasttimes, local or world events which had an impact on making him the guy his is.
Do I really need to know this? No. but it makes that basic level of understanding that little bit more difficult. Sometimes I just really don't understand where he's coming from. I expect he feels the same.
Now to the point of: does this get better? Will you ever know each other well enough that these differences don't exist. I can't say for sure but I'd be betting on no. I've been here almost nine years, I've been with DrH for six of those. Sure they've lessened, but it is still always there hovering in the background.
So: Doesn't it make it refreshing? The early years most definately, and it is still useful for a laugh. Now though, I do find myself frustrated from time to time, wishing I didn't have to explain myself so often and getting snappy when I do. Again. This is why I need to immerse myself in Australia occassionally. It's like releasing a breath I've been holding onto for two years, where I can just be me and know that those around me understand it.
Okay, this has turned into a long-winded, and surprisingly negative sounding, rant and there are still a few points I haven't discussed yet: not being as home in Australia as I was, being around Australians who do get the being abroad thing, getting integrated into Germany etc etc etc.
The summary is: DrH and I still have cultural differences and that probably won't change. However I'm with him for the guy he is, and he's that guy also because he was raised in a different culture to mine. It can get annoying sometimes, but I have things in place (visits home, other expats) to temper it. We have a damn good relationship going and compared to more fundamental problems relationships can have, our cultural differences are minor.