22 November 2004
I chose to do my research on the customs and lifestyles of Pakistan and their people. It took me quite a while to get in contact with someone who lives there, but once I finally did, I made a friend for life! I was very curious how the Pakistani's felt about Americans, and if I could get an honest answer from someone there. My friend "Hussain" assured me that although there are extremists, just as there are everywhere, who take their hatred for America, and for any other country that they feel "threatened" by, and use it to destroy innocent peoples lives. For instance, like the suicide bombers that we hear of so often, they would be considered "extremists". As far as the "common people" as Hussain put it, they understand that our government (meaning President Bush and his administration) is doing what must be done in order to protect the citizens and/or the "common people" of America. I didn't have as much time to correspond with Hussain before this research paper was due, as I would have liked too, I look forward to continue learning about the lifestyles and customs there. It's amazing to learn how different people's lives are depending on what culture they live in. I had so many questions for Hussain, but I was also afraid that I would overstep my boundaries by asking certain questions, therefore I tried to be very careful in the way I worded things. It's very easy to tell even through an e-mail that he has a very distinct accent, however, he does speak good English. He told me that he was married and had 3 children. He was born in Sindh, Pakistan, which I later found out that Sindh is a "State" like "Oklahoma". He got his education and graduated in 1991. (He did not say whether or not that meant high school, or college) He was married in 1994, through an arranged marriage. His parents picked out this young lady for him, and he said that through time, he did learn to love her very much, and that he was grateful to have a "success story". He did say, however, that his wife was NOT educated, and therefore it was difficult for her to do anything, as far as working, outside the home. She stays home with the children. His oldest son is in the 3rd grade, and the younger two have not yet started school. Something that struck me was when he told me that he and his family lived in a "Joint Family System". His parents and brothers/sisters and their spouses if they are married, also live with him. He said that living in a joint family system is the most common style of living in their Country. Wanting to learn more about "Joint families", I started researching, I was absolutely amazed to find how common it is, even in the United States. Dr. Sushma Mehrotra, Psychologist talks about the pro's and con's of living in a Joint Family. (1) According to Dr. Mehhrotra, "Not every family is a happy family." "Atmosphere is the most important issue in a joint family. If the family members are congenial, and respectful to one another, it can be virtuous. However, if there is tension and conflict, constant "back-stabbing", undermining one another, it makes life miserable for all involved. On Dr. Mehrotra's website, she had a link where you could post a comment or a message. I was amazed to find that most of the posts were from women who live in joint families here in the USA. The general consensus was that of bitterness. There were a very few that was happy living in their joint families. They enjoyed the camaraderie, they never had to "hire a babysitter". They had people that lived in the home, that loved their children as much as the parents do. But for the most part, the other women were absolutely miserable. The biggest complaint was no privacy. In most situations, the family home was that of the parents. (Grandparents) Actually, to be more specific, when a couple gets married, they move in with the husbands...
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