American “Core Values”

Living in a home with both American and Cambodian values has put me in a position where I can draw experiences from both aspects. In Peeradina’s article, he mentions that for most Americans the home is a private sanctity whereas for foreigners it is more of a place for visitors. Growing up, my home was just that. I lived in a house with ten people and  my uncles also lived a few houses away; we pretty much had a whole neighborhood filled with people we knew. It was a very close knit community almost like the one Peeradina described.

However, as I got older, our families moved out of that neighborhood; we became private and only had guests over for specific occasions. When I visited my family in Cambodia, it was a lot of different. Guests came over constantly and if someone walked by, they would be invited in for dinner. If we had older guests come over, the children would have to properly greet them, for Cambodians this means the hands are in “prayer” form  and the words “Chum Reap Sou ” , the proper way to say hello, are spoken.

Even though our family doesn’t have guests over as often, we interact with our neighbors often, something our family members don’t do. Our families would host joint barbecues and invite each other over during football games or birthday parties. Although Peeradina talked about the American home being more private, for our family, it’s a bit half and half. Growing up with both values isn’t too bad.

2 thoughts on “American “Core Values”

  1. Reading your post definitely made me think of my own culture. I am not sure if Laos and Cambodia have the same cultures, but I have experienced the informality in Laos, and I agree! The friendliness and openness of the culture is tough to balance out with American culture.

  2. Though my home has never been as crowded as yours, I did experience something similar with it. My aunt lived extremely close to us so we would always go eat dinner there every night. For our family, each one of our homes belonged to the other, so this was quite common in my cousin’s families as well.

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