Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Upstate New York, The Beautiful

Chris and I took a daytrip to Chris's childhood hometown, Oneonta, here in upstate New York. There are times when I feel I know Chris as well as I know myself, and other times it just hits me that it really isn't the case. As we were driving around Oneonta and its surroundings, Chris was telling me about his prom night. He showed me his favourite library, the places where he used to play baseball, and the beautiful house he used to live in as a child. We drove past a real drive-in movie theatre. He told me about having gone to (a different) one with his family when he was a child, wearing his pyjamas while sitting at the back seat, falling asleep in the middle of the movie. I had never even seen a drive-in movie theatre before today. (Chris tells me that the drive-in movie theatre we drove by is one of the last remaining ones in upstate New York.)

Like probably all international couples, occasionally Chris and I run into cultural and language-related misunderstandings. Those times we sit back and try to make sense of each other's preconceived notions, funny phrases and habits. It is hard for me to watch Chris turning right when the traffic light is red, and the way I use my knife and fork reminds Chris of the way cowboys eat their pork-and-beans in old Westerns. (I am not exactly sure what this says about my eating habits.)

There are times when I forget that Chris is an American who has lived an American childhood. There are times when I forget how different everyday life is in different countries, and how differently we see things because of our roots and our realities. It comes down to small things: that for Chris it was perfectly natural to have had to address his neighbours "Mr and Mrs So-and-so" when he was growing up. I grew up calling our neighbours by their first names in Finland.

Upstate New York is really beautiful. The rolling hill tops seem to go on forever. Small farms and a-hundred-year-old houses sit next to lush meadows and narrow creeks. Even trailer parks have a view worth a million dollars. Compared to my current surroundings, Finland seems small. But I miss the summer daylight reaching way into midnight, and I miss the dry air. I miss being able to walk in a forest, without having to worry about "Private Property, Keep Out"-signs. Luckily I don't have to wait too long. I received my authorization to travel on Monday, and will be able to visit Finland come midsummer.

Dress: second hand / Salvation Army
Shoes: Bronx
Seahorse pendant: second hand / America's Attic
Bag: MaxMara Weekend


Modesty is Pretty said...

Yay! for getting the authorization! Congratulations Waves, and you look amazing, I love this outfit, the dress pattern in great and those heels definitely give it an edge. The pictures you posted remind me of my childhood, I lived a few years in Mexico and it was green everywhere, I could see hills and mountains from my house's balcony, the balcony reminds me I got a few serenade, how romantic=D
It's something that definitely doesn't happen here. Anyways, you look great!

Anonymous said...

Love the Seahorse-pendant! I just bought this beutiful piece of seahorse fabric the other day... And I've been doing a lot of walking in the forests (kielot on täydessä kukassa), and by the sea in Helsinki...Soon you'll be with me here!!!
ps.meil on liput :)

Sal said...

My husband is from the U.S. and so am I. We've been married nearly 8 years and sometimes still have those moments when we realize how little we know about each others' pasts.

And your post made me miss upstate.

FashionTheorist said...

Even for two people who both grew up in the same country, there can be amazing culture clashes. My husband and I grew up less than 75 miles apart, but sometimes it feels like we're from completely different cultures. It sometimes even feels like we speak (slightly) different languages! I can only image how protracted that sense of difference can get for a couple from two different continents. Ah, well - amor vincit omnia, right?

I'm glad you got cleared for travel! That must be very welcome.

wardrobeexperience said...

congrats on getting your authorization!

awesome outfit and amazing shoes!


Charlotte said...

Congratulations on getting the travel permit, Waves! I know that makes you happy. Upstate NY is very beautiful. Though it's just over the border from PA, it looks different--the hills, the towns. If you had to leave Finland (smile--I know you chose to leave) then you landed in a pretty nice place! My husband and I are both from Georgia (though we met in NYC). It's strange when your own home state feels like a foreign country, as ours does now.
I covet your shoes.

Eyeliah said...

Oh I see a seahorse ;-) Yes, I dated someone from Mexico once upon a time and those cultural things are interesting…. I think it makes the relationship a bit more fun/less predictable. Lovely panorama shot!

NYC Fashionista said...

My husband and I are from total opposite in cultural backgrounds. It definitely helps the more you can understand the culture, but I always found that this difference was such an amazing advantage, rather than a difficulty. It just makes the other person that much more interesting! And it's also good to remember that in the end all humans go through the same emotions, motivations, ups and downs...regardless of culture.