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Posts Tagged ‘Cindy King’

Last week I was honored to be included in a group of Cross-cultural and International Bloggers to Watch in 2010. This week as the guest curator in a review series at SheWrites, I’m pleased to note a few fellow expat bloggers. Members of the Ning network’s blogging group can read it here.

I’m drawn to the subject matter of these writers (and many others who I hope to highlight in the future). Posts seem compelled by the daily negotiation of expat/immigrant/exile identity. Shaped by unfamiliar environments. Inspired by moments when belief systems are challenged or uprooted.

You’ll recognize fiction-writer Catherine Yigit as a contributor to the Expat Harem anthology and the group blog expat+HAREM. In Skaian Gates, the Dublin native writes with a wry sensibility about “living between the lines” of culture and language on the Straits of the Dardanelles. She takes us through the gauntlet of getting a Turkish driving license. Although prepared for the exam, she discovers she’ll have no control over the vehicle since her examiner has a lead-foot on the dual-control pedals! Even if we learn the rules and practice the gears in our lives abroad, we often sense we’re not in the driver’s seat and we have to be okay with that.

Professionally-trained artist Rose Deniz lives in an industrial town near the Sea of Marmara, a body of water named for its marble-like surface. Her spare blog reflects deep ideas and personal geographies, like the trouble with being the kind of person who visualizes color, numbers and forms in the midst of a chaotic Turkish family setting; and finding the art in life outside the studio. Her real-time, online 2010 discussion series in which “art is dialogue and the studio is you” will be hosted at expat+HAREM.

Petya Kirilova-Grady, a Bulgarian who lives in Tennessee with her American husband, writes about bi-cultural misunderstandings and shares her embarrassment over a recent gender role snafu. The only way to explain why  the progressive young woman “couldn’t be bothered to do a ‘typically male’ task” in the domestic sphere is because Bulgarians are traditionalists at home. Petya writes of the realization “I can’t remember the last time I felt as Bulgarian.”

Expat bloggers flourish when we face a fresh appreciation for not only where we are but where we come from — and what we’re made of.

Who are your favorite expat bloggers and why?

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“Manners are your passport to the world,” the Gilded Age writer of American etiquette Emily Post once opined. The mid-century sage also said etiquette isn’t a strict code of socially correct behavior we need to memorize — it’s simply how our lives touch other people. Respect.

Although more a proponent of Miss Manner’s sharp-humored good sense, I’m intrigued by the premise if we behave thoughtfully, politely, discreetly we might float around the globe in a delicate cloud of social grace, doors opening everywhere.

Yet, are manners culture blind? Can the deportment of one society truly transcend the culture of another? Just like etiquette isn’t a code, what passes for propriety in one place may not have the same meaning in another. We need a non-formulaic equation for the cultural layer in these global times.

A recent tip by Cindy King about not appearing too self-centered in international situations caught my eye.

Isn’t “self-centered” culturally relative? For a person like me born under the sign of the ruler in both the Western and Chinese zodiacs and raised in “the Me Decade” of California, it can sometimes seem like the definition — and curse — of life itself. If one aspect of my demeanor is going to doom me worldwide, it’s this one.

King, a cross-cultural communications coach, presents a series on the role of respect in building trust. “Self-centeredness can be perceived as a lack of respect to others,” King writes. Her advice: become more curious about the other person’s perspective. Individualistic Americans will have to work over-time.

Which manners travel best for you? Where in your disposition, and on the planet, do you need to improve?

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