Friday afternoon I saw a cousin of mine I had not seen in over twenty years. She was in town with her son for a convention. She's not from around here, she lives in Lebel sur Quévillon. She doesn't come to town that often. Walking around Montréal with them, made me realised just how different we were.
I've been wondering how different I would be if I had grew up and stayed where I was born. Talking with my cousin, she told me something that kind of surprised me: "You were always very open". What surprised me was the fact she actually saw I was open. She thought I was special to have a best friend, in high school, who was black. I can't help but wonder if the fact of growing up in town made me that way by being exposed to more. We're lucky in Montreal for that, our city is a big melting pot, I think every nationality is represented. That's what I like about it. Living downtown it's even more apparent.
After we dropped them at the airport on Sunday, Hubby and I talked about how different I felt from them. I've always been curious by nature, but I've been wondering (since Friday) if that curiosity was brought on by me being exposed to more things in town, by the education I've received or simply because that's the way I am. I do know I received a good education (private school). I've always been interested in seeing and knowing about the world. Was that because I went to school with kids from all over the world? I thought, because of the Internet and all the "toys" available to the kids, they would be curious about other cultures and such. Talking with the boy over the weekend, I saw a kid from a small town, who was close minded about many things and with not much interest in the rest of the world. At his age I had pen pals from Germany, Spain, Greece and France. When my cousin asked where was my husband from and I answered he was Hungarian. The kid asked "what is that?" I was, to say the least, surprised. Not to know that Hungarians are people from Hungary is... is... wow. I'm not expecting a sixteen years old boy to know where it is exactly on a map, but at least to know of it and to have an idea of Europe.
I actually took them to a Lebanese restaurant (because they didn't feel like Italian, didn't want Chinese, didn't want fast food) by their hotel. They had never tasted that before (nor did they know where it came from), and weren't even willing to try something as easy (for the taste buds) as hummus. They ate their chicken brochette (because they could identify that) and their potatoes and that was it. The comments they made on what they saw at food counter were actually making me a little embarrassed. By the time I went home I was feeling somewhat in shock, frustrated and confused.
We might be from the same gene pool, but I'm thankful I'm not so close minded. They are missing so much. It saddens me. And yet, they are happy. Or at least they say they are. Good for them. I guess it's true what they say about a pig being happy in shit...