Cultural mixups and confusions happen more than we all think. Our first guest blogger, Avisha Soheili, presents the Cultural mix-up she experienced!
Guest Blogger: Avisha Soheili
As an Iranian Dental Hygienist who deals with the public everyday, I frequently come across funny, amusing, shocking cultural moments with my patients. I can probably write a whole book based on all these moments in my life and some of them just make me smile every time I think about them.
One aspect of my career is to educate the public regarding the health of the their teeth and gums and this is usually accomplished by visiting public schools. On one of my trips to an elementary school, I was faced with a class of 40 first graders.
They are so cute at that age and I usually prepare some visual learning materials related to hygiene for them. And so, I demonstrated proper brushing with a puppet and then moved on to flossing.
So I got a long piece of floss out and held up with my two hands and then asked the class if anyone can tell me what that was? A lot of hands went up, but there was a middle eastern looking girl whom I assumed was Iranian by the name of Sara whom was very eager to answer and was almost jumping out of her seat. Of course, I picked her. She got up and said “Yes miss Avisha, I know what that is.” “Ok Sara, so what is it?” And she said….”That is what my mother uses at home to take the hair off her face!”
She gave me this cute smile, showed that she was very satisfied with her answer, and sat back down. The room was silent since no one had a clue what she was talking about but I was laughing so hard inside! I got it right away. The poor girl was referring to threading the face with a string which is a long time tradition in our country and culture. I thought that was SO funny and has a clear example of how cultures can get intertwined. Clearly, there was no flossing going on in that household but plenty of hair removing.
I was just secretly hoping that since there was already one good use out of the floss, the next good use would be to use it for their teeth!
So, what do we learn from this aside from the multipurpose uses of Floss? Different cultures view different things in different ways. However, we can all learn from it and find the benefits in each!