A Cross Cultural Comparison

The other day I wrote about the retirement party1 Don and I attended.  It was a very nice party, appreciated by all.  Don and I had attended another retirement party in January.  This one was held for George Ann, the director of Central College’s Yucatan2 program3 for many years.  Since Don and I taught in the Yucatan Study program3 many times and consider George Ann one of our good friends, we wanted to go, help her celebrate4, and see old friends again. 


The parties were similar in that both had attendees5 that wished the retirees6 well.  However, many more people attended the party in Yucatan.  Whereas about 60 people were invited (the same number as at the U.S. party), there were about 300 people there.  As people in Merida7 heard about the party, they decided they wanted to come too and knew that they would be welcome.  The college house was packed full of people, the patios8 were full, and the yard too.  The person in charge of the party, being Yucatecan9, knew there would be more than had been invited so she saw to it that there was plenty of food and drink.  The food (wine and little open faced sandwiches10)  was all purchased on a college budget11 and catered12 in; in contrast, the food at the Iowa party was brought by the faculty friends who hosted13 the party and reflected14 different tastes15. 


At the Yucatan party, there was much hugging16 (ABRAZOS as the hugs are called in Spanish), even though people might have already seen each other that day.  There was also a group of musicians strolling17 around the rooms and yards, playing and singing typical Mexican songs.  That is an important and expected part of a Mexican party, one that I thoroughly enjoy.  In contrast18, we had no music at the Iowa party. 


The Iowa party started at 6:30 PM and most of the people came at around19 that time; the Merida party stared at 8:00 PM, with many people arriving much later.  We left both parties at about the same time around 10:00.  Most of the people were probably gone by 11:00 at the Iowa party; on the other hand, George Ann told us the next day that many stayed until 2:00 AM  at her party, a typical20 hour for a party ending there.  Both parties were really typical of their representative18 cultures.



1. retirement party n. a celebration held in honor of a person who is leaving work, or will soon stop working (为即将退休的人举办的聚会).

2. Yucatan: one of the 40 states in Mexico and a peninsula in southeast Mexico (墨西哥的一个州,也是墨西哥东南部的一个半岛).

3. Yucatan (Study) program: a study abroad program administered by Central College, Pella, Iowa, through the International Studies Office of the college.

4. celebrate: honor somebody or something by festivities which are not a normal part of daily routine (庆祝).

5. attendees: people present at a given place, meeting, or celebration, etc. (参与者、与会者)

6. retirees: people who have left their career work or job, and who no longer are fully Employed (退休者).

7. Merida: the name of a city in southeast Mexico, the capital city of Yucatan (Yucatan的首府,位于墨西哥的东南部).  This city was established by the Spanish after their having settled in this area and defeating the Mayan Indians who previously lived in the area.

8. patios: the inner courtyard open to the sky; a porch without roof, typical of Mexican Architecture (室外闲坐处).

9. Yucatecan: of the people who live in the state of Yucatan in Mexico (Yucatan).

10. open faced sandwiches n.  single slices or pieces of bread with meat, cheese or other foods on top of the bread (一边有面包的三明治).

11. budget: the plan or money provided for a given activity or office of a corporation or institution such as a school, etc. (预算).

12. catered: provided a supply of food, service and drinks which were not prepared in the kitchen of the place where the meal is held (提供酒菜).

13. hosted: provided a place or facilities for an event, function, or party etc. (主办).

14. reflected: brought about a specific or characteristic appearance of somebody or Something (反映了).

15. tastes:口味

16. hugging: hold tightly, especially with ones arms around the person being greeted (拥抱).

17. strolling: walking slowly and rhythmically in no given pathway through an area or a group of people (悠闲漫步).

18. In contrast: 与之不同(的是)

19. around: approximately (大约)

20. typical: common or usual (典型的、通常的)

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