Multicultural Experience

Once upon a time I was provided with the greatest opportunity to visit the tiny Georgian community that one of my friends lived in. It was actually during the holidays so that the whole family was celebrating together and I was lucky to discuss with them different issues. Some of those discussions touched the Georgian way of life and perception of the world.

Georgian culture, traditions and customs differ a lot from the Chinese ones. I was totally shocked by the friendliness and hospitality to a stranger. In China people are more concerned about themselves. Their attention is focused on themselves and they seem to care more about their relatives, friends and beloved but not about the rest of the world which might get in trouble and need help sometimes. We are less emotional and more shut-in people, so to say. It is totally opposite in Georgian culture. Georgian people seem to be extremely hospitable. When the guest is in the house the best dishes are on the table, the best clothes is on the hosts and the best sounds arise from the corners of the building. It does not matter whether the guest is Georgian or Chinese, or French citizen. Georgians treat everyone equally. Even Russian citizens whose country has attacked Georgia and at present supports the separatist movements in Abkhazia region, are warmly welcomed in Georgia. At the same time, they indeed have the nations they are in love with. Georgians share with them the same history and the same challenges that are faced by the countries in the modern world. This hospitality was quite a shock for me as I often thought of Georgians to be the people living somewhere up in the mountains. I considered that they should be tough, cruel and strict enough basically due to the at least environmental peculiarities of the region they lived in.

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In addition, I was amazed by the traditional dances and costumes. As you may know, each foreign citizen who somehow resides in the USA usually brings with himself the part of his tradition. It might be simply a flag, a bunch of soil, a shirt that carries the elements of national design etc. Despite the fact that I live in the country that has a wide and developed structure of Chinese Diaspora, and one is not really missing China as there are Chinese quarters in every city, just like any immigrant I also have the national symbols of my country. Focusing on Georgians, I would like to say that the elements of dances that were shown to me were rather emotional (just as Georgians indeed). The traditional national costume of Georgians is called 'Chokha'. It was usually worn by the people who lived far in Caucasus. It reminds me a coat of trapezoid form which is short as usual. Mostly, it has cuts on the sides and vivid decorations on the front side. Some of them refer to the icons or crosses.

From this experience I have learned a lot. First of all, I discovered that the immigrants are somehow similar in their way of treasuring the national symbols of their motherlands. I am from China and a friend of mine is from Georgia, and we seem to be completely different. However, we both have something that connects as to our native country and actually helps to differentiate us. In addition, I have found out that there are nations who can treat their enemies with the greatest and the warmest hospitability. The Georgian dances have also shocked me due to their sharpness, definite emotional context. One man said that it had to be useful to have a lot of friends who did not worship the religion of your own or who did not come from the same region/place as you did. He said it should be really interesting to see the dissimilarities and realize that there might be the other ways of life, of its understanding, different traditions, customs etc. Through this experience I have understood these words of wisdom by myself. It was just as someone let me travel to another country for a couple of hours. In my opinion, indeed, such situations of multicultural experience help to learn a lot more about the people whom you share a table during lunch or breathe the same air in the auditorium with.


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