by Nicole Cameron
OK. Pardon my ignorance. But I learned the following from my colleagues here at SUSI 2010 at OU.
1. In Finland, there is a sauna culture that has everybody basking in saunas....naked! Outi was filling me on the details recently. Then, because it sounded so interesting, I went and spent almost 3 hours browsing the net to get more details. I found out that Finland has approximately 2 million saunas for a population that is approximately 5 million! On average, that is approximately one sauna per 2.5 people! Wow! I also learned that the sauna is so ingrained in the culture that the military has a history of erecting one anywhere they go. Outi even said that they have interviewed naked politicians while they were in the sauna ...and showed it on T.V.! (They did not show the privates, so stop wondering!). Talk about a cultural difference. In my neck of the woods such a thing would be anathema for sure. It should be said though that there is nothing sexual about the sauna culture. It is all for utility. I definitely need to go to Finland! I wonder if their State Department has a Study of Finland Summer Institute (SFSI)?
2. Abijhit was telling me that in India, it is quite normal for grown adults to live with their parents even after marriage. He even blogged about it. Again, in my neck of the woods, we clamor to get out of our parents' house. For me, going off to University for undergrad studies was the first step and it was understood that I would never live with my parents again, which I was grateful for! Don't get me wrong, I love them to death (or to life?) but I wanted my independence, freedom and privacy. I dutifully call and visit often though. Come to think of it, I have not slept at my parents' house in six and a half years! Wow. I did not even realize it was so long. The last time I slept there was the night before my wedding, I went home to spend the last night of single-hood with my family soon to become my relatives. (Do you have the distinction between family and relatives?) Of course, I didn't really sleep. Who sleeps the night before their wedding? I was up until around 2 a.m. then laid down and prayed then thought about my future. Prayer is a must the night before one's wedding!
3. Somebody has two wives. In Jamaica only one wife is allowed but being the creative and innovative people we are, many men simply opt to have one wife and two or three mistresses "on the side" (reminds you of side dishes, doesn't it? A kind of delectable treat that you add to your main course. Mmmmmm).
4. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. Cool!