Cultural Differences

Forums Out & About in Greece Culture & Lifestyle Cultural Differences

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Katelijn 5 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #155229


    Okaaaay…. Things have gone a bit slow. So coming out of what we were saying in the Why Greece thread about cultural differences with husbands just thought it may be an interesting topic. I would say quite a large proportion of us are married to people with different cultural backgrounds from our own and so wondered what differences people had found the most tricky to come to terms with / what issues caused the most clashes etc.

    I know, opening a can of worms! But I think it is a fascinating topic. I would do a poll on it but have to get a few ideas from you guys first before I can come up with the options. Also people could be having real problems with certain issues for all I know and hearing that others have been going through the same thing may just help a little bit in making them feel like they’re not crazy.

    As said by greenhouse before (well I’m paraphrasing a bit here, sorry greenhouse) one of the biggest differences is general attitude to women’s liberty, freedom to be themselves etc. etc. Having a long slow introduction to Greek culture before actually settling here permanently (we lived abroad separately and together for a long time before actually moving here) I was able to ease into this. But my husband doesn’t have a problem with this (after all he has known me a long time now and knows that it is not going to be beaten out of me!! 😆 ) so it’s not really an issue for me. But loads of women who met their husbands abroad have told me how much more “Greek” they have become since settling back here. Issues that were not a problem in the UK or the States become ones when they assume they can act the same here as they did there.

    One biggie for me has been Greek Attitude to Health. I find the hysteria and anguish that the average Greek se
    ems to display when they (or their children or their grandchildren) develop a cold or a cough to be way out of proportion to the actual illness concerned. Makes me wonder how they cope when something serious goes wrong with them?? 😯 I still have disagreements with husband/in-laws about over-use of antibiotics and general over-reaction when the kids get sick.

    Another topic which I can’t think of a grand title for – maybe Planning for the Future. If you try and arrange a get-together more than a day in advance people think your slightly weird. My husband is ok on this because we have kids but it also comes out in issues like insurance etc. We have not got house insurance and after the fires I was suggesting that possibly we should get some? No. I don’t quite get this. How many of you have household insurance? In fact that is a whole new topic.

    Ok enough rambling for now. It’s Friday and I’m bored.

  • #172617


    Interesting about the children issue Domino, I am not a panicker in any way, shape or form and when we lived with the outlaws (yes, I did somehow survive!) as soon as there was a snivel, sneeze or a slight temperature they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t rushing to the doctor with the poor child. Also discipline for the children was a major issue, my father-in-law & I came to blows frequently about it, usually resulting in a no talking situation sometimes for as long as 2 months when we were living in the same house and my poor Mother-in-law frequently took my side and bore the wrath too. Best day of my life when we signed the contract for our own house!! Just to let you know, I wouldn’t recommend living with the in-laws, no matter what nationalities you all are!

    When my husband Harry was diagnosed with MS in 1999 all the relatives came to the house as if someone had died and sat around drinking coffee, talking in low tones. I snapped & pointed out very loudly that people do not die from MS, life is difficult, but not life threatening in the beginning and maybe for years, it didn’t help Harry to sit around moping and the last thing he needed was for them to wrap him up in cotton wool. It took them a while, but they have finally accepted it, although they will rush if they see Harry trying to lift something heavy and my father-in-law always turns up at our house if we mention that the tree needs a trim or even a light needs fitting.

    I could go on all day about my Greek family & I, especially as we started by not speaking for 3 years because their only son CHOSE a foreigner and didn’t marry who they wanted. But we have all relaxed a bit, although I have to confess to not answering the phone sometimes just to avoid answering the same questions again & again, if I need help with anything they always do their best.

    Why is it though that it is us women that have
    to change to fit in, an English guy I know who married a Greek hasn’t changed a bit!

  • #172618


    Well I take my hat off to you greenhouse for sticking to your guns and not running straight back to England when you got that diagnosis. Sounds like your level-headedness has kept things running smoothly in your family. Are your in-laws still on Kos? Reminds me of the time when my first-born was three months old and after the hospital insisting on carrying out tests for urinary tract infection when he just had a slight temperature we were admitted to hospital for 10 days and he was pumped full of intravenal antibiotics. It was a complete nightmare. The doctors and nurses were awful in that place and showed very little feeling for our little chappy. The night we were admitted I had such a row with my husband in the hospital foyer because I did not think he needed to be admitted and was convinced that they were over-reacting. Have since talked to a British Consultant paediatrician who said that they would not routinely admit in England for that condition (he was happy, healthy-looking and had not lost his appetite in any way) and would prescribe antibiotics that could be taken at home. Have since had more positive experiences with the health system but am still very wary of the tendency to over-react. Hope your husband is happy with the treatment he gets here.

    @Greenhouse wrote:

    Why is it though that it is us women that have to change to fit in, an English guy I know who married a Greek hasn’t changed a bit!

    Good question!! … Having said that though I think we have achieved a nice mishmash of combined cultures in our family now. But I know other women who seem to be completely subsumed into their husband’s families and culture.

  • #172619


    This happens in same cultures, too. I know of many cultural differences between married couples and my aunt had quite a time with her husband’s family. He was an American man married to my Aunt, a Russian lady, so I can tell you from experience, the answer is called compromise. It cannot be all one cultural, or it cannot be all one way, the child needs to be taught both cultures. It can get really tough at times, but it could be overcome.

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