Archive for the ‘Cross-Cultural Ramblings’ Category

Aborting Future Infertiles?

Friday, April 24th, 2009

I just had a phone conversation with a Chinese woman, Bing, and the topic of Wee P’s missing kidney came up.  Bing was clearly very interested and began asking me lots and lots of questions about exactly how and when the condition was diagnosed.  I explained that the problem was missed at my 20 week prenatal ultrasound and detected at a 30 week ultrasound.  Bing wanted to know if I thought Wee P’s doctors had made a mistake in reading the initial ultrasound images.  I told her it’s possible a mistake was made but that I didn’t blame the doctors, because a) it’s possible that they mistook an adrenal gland for the left kidney (I understand that at such an early gestational age, that’s an easy mistake to make) and b) it’s possible that the kidney was actually there at 20 weeks and then stopped developing for some reason.  Besides, what difference would it have made if I had found out ten weeks earlier than I did?


Home, Sweet Home.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

We’re finally in our apartment and can tell already that this place it going to feel like home really quickly. P loves her new bedroom and is having a fantastic time setting it up to her specifications. She’s currently in the living room watching Dora the Explorer in Mandarin. The kid is in heaven!

While I’m on the topic of P, this morning, she brought me a piece of paper and asked me to write her name on it. She then went into her room and came out a few minutes later to show me this:


On Deserving the Chinese Finger.

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

I’m fascinated by cross-cultural differences in non-verbal insults and found a great website that presents a number of the different ways in which people from around the world use their hands to demonstrate their displeasure with others.  What I find interesting is that although insulting hand gestures differ (e.g., Americans give the middle finger, the French give the forearm jerk, and the Brittish give the palm-back V sign) all are intended to, in some way, symbolize the phallus and all share the same general meaning – “up yours” – except in China.


Cursing – Interdependent Style.

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I just finished reading Matthew Polly’s book American Shaolin and, oh man, how I loved it! Polly took a leave of absence as an undergrad at Princeton to spend two years at the Shaolin Temple, the purported birthplace of both Zen Buddhism and kung fu, where he set out to transform himself into bad-ass while researching his senior thesis. The book is a memoir of Polly’s time at Shaolin.


Death: It’s All About Me.

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

I was watching the televised coverage last week of the plane that safely landed in the Hudson River and I happened to catch an interview on Larry King with one of the passengers, Alberto Panero, a young medical student.  My ears perked up when Larry asked Panero to describe the thoughts he had as the plane was going down.  Here’s how Panero responded: