Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Weight Watchers

So, are you fat...or just pregnant again?
After hearing this in Croatian I had two questions for the recipient (my wife) of this comment:

     A. Is that really what she said?!?

     B. How did you manage to keep your composure?!?

Disclaimer: This blog is called "Culture Shock" not "Generalize Croatia".  Many, many, many people would not make a comment like this to my wife.  

On the other hand, let me tell you two reasons why there is a greater chance Petra will hear this question again in Croatia rather than in America (besides the fact that we don't live in America):

1. Eastern Europeans often tell it like it is.  I've gained more weight during Petra's 3rd pregnancy than she has.  And if  it weren't for some of my friends, I really wouldn't have known.  I saw a mother publicly rub her daughter's belly the other day and tell a bunch of people how her daughter had been gaining weight.  It didn't seem to phase anyone within earshot - except me.  From what I can tell, the mentality is that if you can see it, why not comment on it?  While certainly not flattered by such a comment, Petra's used to it.  Simply put, if you gain weight in Croatia, you'll hear about it.  On the positive side, it's not that big a deal - people just aren't as sensitive about their weight.

2. While being pregnant for the 3rd time within 4 years is not the norm in the States, it's absolutely unheard of here (unless you belong to the Roma community).  There's a good chance the person asking the question was being more critical of Petra's pregnancy than her weight gain.  But that's the reason Petra didn't get nasty - she's happy to be pregnant again and as far as pregnancies go, she's done very well throughout the first 2 and-a-half.  In fact, as we look back we realized the other day that since her pregnancy with Enoh (our first) she's been pregnant more of the time than not.  Some have called her brave, others - crazy.  The fact is she couldn't be happier.

So go ahead, make the weight comments.  It's just the latest item on the long list of things I'm no longer shocked by.


Milo Wilson said...

don't know why i missed reading this post a month ago, but it was a great one. I love your blog. Love you guys! said...

hi guys,
nice to read your posts,living in Croatia 7 years now from the uk.
Culture shock, the only culture shock
i had was how better it was in Croatia rather than the uk.regards to your family keep up the good work.