Culture Clash

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Culture Clash is a story of two families from different backgrounds, culture trying to live in harmony. They are trying their hardest to understand each other's customs and traditions. One of the family is your typical middle class American family, Ellen and Ben Matthews, owners of a home, a small business, two cars and three kids. The other family are refugees from Vietnam. Kim and Quang, Vietnamese newly weds in their 20's fleeing their own country with Kim's two sisters, Lan and Minh. This book is written through Ellen Matthews's point of view about their struggles, differences and how they coped with them. Ben Matthews was in the military and served some time in Vietnam. In this service time he has gained some experience dealing with Vietnamese people and he has a rough understanding of their culture and customs. He also has some unconscious guilt about America abandoning Vietnam, which is one of the reasons why Ellen believe he has signed up to sponsor a refugee family.

The two families first met in August of 1975 at the refugee campsite. In their first couple of months, aside from the obvious language barrier, there were many misinterpretations, misconceptions, miscommunications and misunderstandings. One of the first misconceptions that occurred was that Kim and Quang, and most Vietnamese people thought that all Americans are rich. This misconception was likely brought forth due to the many good second hand items that were donated to Kim and Quang when they first arrived to America. Many second hand items that were donated included a black and white TV and furniture. In their homeland these items would've been considered good only for the rich, but it's not the same in America. There's an old saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure". This couldn't be truer in...