Friday, September 21, 2012

Culture Shock

     Athas aditch!  This is a Cu Tailte greeting meaning approximately "Joy to you!"  My name is Keena Mythweaver and last week I began writing a series of posts for this blog at the invitation of Christine Dorman and SOBS.  I am a Faerie who lives in the human town of Baile Eile and I "work" as a healer.  I think of it as service rather than work.  Christine and SOBS have asked me to share what it is like to be a Faerie living among humans and to tell a bit about my homeland of Cu Tailte.  It's a little difficult to talk about what it's like to "be a Faerie among humans" because I have been living in the human world for so long that it seems natural to me now.  I guess I've become acculturated.

     Recently, though, my niece, Siobhan, came to visit me.  Siobhan is my sister Keira's daughter.  She came just after the start of Beltane (about Mid-May) and stayed for two moonsongs--oh, sorry!  I mean two months.  Sometimes when I'm around my family or even think about them, I slip into Cu Tailte expressions.
Siobhan felt prepared to interact with humans.  I had given her a book of human fairytales when she was seven and she has been interested in humans and their world ever since.  As she grew up, she searched through the thousands of books in the Cu Tailte Basic School Book Keep for more stories by or about humans and read everything she could find.  So she felt quite the expert.  As soon as she stepped out of Ghost Sprite Grove and into Baile Eile, however, culture shock hit her. It started with something as simple as the way I was dressed.  I wore a lightweight summery blouse, a lavender skirt that came to my mid-calf and sandals.  Nothing unusual for a "middle-aged" human woman.  But Siobhan had never seen anyone dressed like this.  The people in the fairytale book illustrations dress a bit like the residents of Cu Tailte.  It is customary for Faerie women in my homeland to wear skirts that go to the ground and shoes that encase the whole foot.  Outdoors, most Cu Tailte residents--male and female--wear cloaks with hoods.  The hoods are left down except in cold or inclement weather.  My hair shocked my niece as well.  Cu Taitle Faeries only trim their hair to keep it healthy and neat. Although the women may wear their hair up, they never cut it short.  I, however, have cut it to just above shoulder length and I've put a permanent wave in it for body and bounce.  Although clothes and hair are superficial in themselves, they still can communicate many things about a culture.

     My sister, Keira, gave me a couple stern warnings about Siobhan.  She didn't want her daughter wearing short skirts or becoming "too human" during the visit.  Well, I dealt with the first edict (Keira's my older sister) by introducing Siobhan to jeans, which she quickly came to love.  The not letting Siobhan become "too human" part was harder to control.  Siobhan felt a bit awkward at first around human teenagers, but she soon began to enjoy hanging out with them.  All of the technology--cell phones, DVDs, the Internet and YouTube--were as magical to her as anything in Cu Tailte would be to a human.  Did she become "too human"?  Probably from my sister's perspective, but at least I kept her from cutting her hair and getting an Emma Watson "pixie" cut!


More stories next week.  For now, two questions.  What run of the mill human thing do you think a Faerie would find magical?  Can you imagine anything that would be culture shock for you if you  moved to live with Faeries?

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