Now here's a little story about cross cultural understanding! There's a teacher at a bible school in the village I work in just up the street. The teacher is a middle-aged American guy, who clearly has been teaching in strict Catholic schools for way too long, and I guess he had a hard time embracing one aspect of Karenni culture, which is that they have no problem with horkin' up a fat loogie.
SIDE NOTE: Actually it was pretty hilarious, a little while ago I was talking to one of the girls at work. Imagine a beautiful young woman with long hair, who is soft-spoken, shy, and has a smile that'll make your heart melt. Half of the men here have fallen in love with her. Anyway, I'm talking to this girl and I'm in mid sentence when a snort rages through her sinuses that I was worried would start a land slide. She turns to one side and drops a huge wad on the ground that would have filled a shot glass. Personally, this is one part of the culture which I think is amazing! and I have fully embraced the spitting ways! I can't wait to play the culture excuse card whenever I wanna hork back in Canada.
Okay back to the story. This teacher starts punishing his students every time they spit because he thinks it's rude, and it's not like they do it inside the class or anything, they just walk over to the window when they have to spit. The kids are at a total loss, having no idea why they're being punished. Eventually, one of the other adults at the school explains to him that in Karenni culture it's considered rude and quite disgusting to sniffle and then not spit, because that means you're swallowing it. So this guy felt like a bit of an jerk at the end of all that.
As of today the office is closed for Christmas. I've got a few fellow volunteers that are coming up to my place for Christmas. Some are staying with me since they're coming up from Chiang Mai, so it'll be a full house which should be fun. Merry Christmas!