On Friday we painted Easter eggs. I’m not sure if all of them understood why exactly we were doing it, but I think they had fun nonetheless. They were befuddled by vinegar. Must have thought it was foul-smelling water. Haha. I’ve noticed that they all take much interest in having personal property and possessions that explicitly represent them. When we took photos to them weeks ago they sorted them into piles according to who was in each picture and claimed the pictures of themselves. They didn’t smile in pictures. They all wrote their names on all of the eggs they painted. Nothing more, just their names. It seems that the point of creation to them, whether through taking photos or painting eggs, is not to capture a moment in time or create something to be enjoyed for what it is, but rather to preserve themselves through an unchanging medium. While at first I interpreted this difference in our behavioral objectives as a difference in culture, needs, and wants, I’ve thought about it more and arrived at a different conclusion. Even though individualist cultures like America are characterized by a certain directness, I think most of us have a roundabout way of expressing and understanding our motives. For example, Facebook. While we can claim that we take and post pictures in order to show our memories to others, sometimes I feel that there’s an underlying, unstated truth to it all that we do understand but fail to confront. We only post the “good” pictures of ourselves, and if they are not flattering-good, they’re comical-good. We use our creative property to preserve our selves, but in a biased way– we preserve the aspects of our selves that we find favorable. We present them to the world to validate ourselves and to confirm that what we find favorable is favorable to others. So I think that our refugee family is simply more honest about it. Sorry for the rant. I’ve been reading a lot about how self-preservation plays into our behavior and I can see, through our family’s actions, that by comparison we are clearly, for some reason, embarrassed about these natural impulses. We’ve begun referring to them all using Nepali words. It’s easy to see that they appreciate us making an effort to speak their language.