W06 |05-26-2020| Differences in Emotional Expressivity
My mother, knowing I was interested in Asian cultures, would come near me whenever I was learning or enjoying something related to those cultures and she would bow, act very serious, and say "my bowels are full of love and emotions towards you my son"(sometimes she would add more to the speech). One could see her tight lips contained while laying bent down. Seconds after, she'd start laughing. That was her joke about low emotional expressivity and her way to mock me a little.
Growing in Venezuela means having a high emotional expressivity tolerance. From that point of view, you just look down on the scale. It is great for feeling the warmth a community can give you, but it is dangerous in times like this world pandemic. Even dough, I have always been an introvert, so in my own culture I always lacked a bit of expressivity. In my country, you have to say hello with a kiss on the cheek, a hand shake plus a partial hug, or a full affective expression. Less than that was considered weird and cold.
One of the beautiful things about this high tolerance was to easily become a stranger's best friend in times of need. Just during five minutes you could interact with this person, help him in ways a close friend would, and leave without knowing his name. I have seen those moments happen millions of times all around me; strangers become momentary friends and help each other.
The other great thing about Venezuela is one could see many people of different cultures interacting. This is a country of immigrants too, so one would grow surrounded by Colombians, Brazilians, Peruvians, Arabians, Asians, African descendants, European descendants, and more. We have a bit of everything, and it feels normal for us.
How is it in your countries? Is it similar? How do you express emotions in public?
I try to use this background for opening my mind to a future multi-cultural language classroom in which I would see this mentioned diversity and all kinds of emotional expressivity levels. I would not be like my mother because students deserve respect about who they are, but I would certainly bring to my students' attention this factor and welcome how they want to express while showing understanding of that event. If there is a way to create a integrated and peaceful world, it is by allowing "different" to be free among us.
TESOL 103 Class Assignment - BYUI