Cultural Lesson – Family Dinner

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And now it’s time for Cultural Lessons with Nae, the part of the blog where Nae points out a cultural lesson…
What’s a dining room without dining? Is it saved for major holidays? Is it just a room in your house? What is dining if you’re dining alone? I often eat alone; although there a several people in the room right beside me. I have yet to see more than three people eat at one time together. I think it’s a culmination reasons. One being, we don’t have enough utensils for the entire family to eat at once. I suppose the more money a family has the likelihood of them eating together increases but since everyone seems to be economically closer (middle class doesn’t really exist here), i cannot attest the validity of this. All of our utensils fit in one blue cup. I entertained the idea of getting my mom a full kitchen set of utensils as a goodbye gift but I’m not sure our kitchen has the space. 
The second reason is because of schedule conflicts. My sisters and brother are home from school at noon, my host mom can be gone any time from 1 to 7pm, and my older host sister has a newborn so she comes home immediately after work. I have seen them all eat but at different intervals. The only person who seems to have structure is me. Part of me Is afraid to try to eat at other times of the food I see, because I could easily accidentally eat someone’s dinner for tomorrow. With limited means of income, food, electricity and water is monitored and used carefully. Another reason is I know my mom is paid to feed me, I just don’t know what in her mind is food for me and food for the family. The last reason is there are more people than chairs. This house holds 8, our table holds 5, maximum of 6 people. So when I (and many other volunteers) think of family dinner, I think of me, sitting at my table eating while my host sister sits in another chair at the table doing homework, my mom sits in a rocking chair in our living room talking to my sisters about their day and my host brother watching Disney channel. Family is what makes the event, not necessary us all partaking in the event simultaneously. 

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