I live in a city with a number of different cultures. Toronto has been named the most diverse city in the world several times in the last decade and anyone who visits here can easily see why. We truly are a melting pot.
There are some people that might say all these different cultures meshed together don’t work, but I’m not one of them. I think it works just fine and it certainly keeps things interesting!
I live in what’s known as Greek Town or more formally “The Danforth”. I think there used to be a larger Greek population in this area a decade or two ago, but as the population ages new people are moving into the area, like Chris and I, and there are now at least four main cultural populations in the area. Greek/Macedonian, Muslim, Asian and of course Canadian. By Canadian I guess I generally mean people that were born in Canada and or have several generations of family in the country.
As a nurse working in a community hospital I’ve learned quite a bit about the many different cultural populations in our city. I gradually learned the best way to approach certain people. Just like dealing with people of different ages, there are things that you can do that are ok and others that would seem offensive. For example, in some cultures a woman shouldn’t handle a mans shoes or perhaps it was that as a nurse I shouldn’t handle their shoes as it was considered lowering myself or being a servant?
Anyway I’ve never had any problems dealing with people. Not in my neighborhood, the city in general or in any of my jobs. Hey, I get along with everyone!
The only major difference that I’ve noticed since we got a dog is that the Muslims that would usually pass my house, sometimes smiling or waving to me as I worked in my garden now literally run by if I’m outside with my puppy.
I believe this is because to Muslims dogs are thought to be unclean. I haven’t looked it up, but I know back when I was single and lived in an apartment two Muslim men were very nervous to come into my apartment when delivering a new futon because I had my sisters dog there. They said they would have to pray more if they got dog saliva on them. I’m sure there’s a longer explanation or more to it than that, but that’s what I was told.
Perhaps someone that knows more than I could explain what it is about dogs that’s so bad?
Anyway, I understand why the people who formerly walked by my home in peace now scurry by, but it kind of hurts my feelings too. It makes me feel as if I’ve done something wrong.
When I was outside this afternoon a young Muslim girl was coming home from school. Midnight had just defecated on the grass in the boulevard in front of my house. I was stooping over to clean it up and keeping Midnight close to me at the same time as I knew she didn’t want the dog to get near her by the way she slowed down and by the look on her face.
I stopped what I was doing and pulled my Lab even closer to me and said “don’t worry, I won’t let her touch you.” Yet the girl still ran by, skirting away from us as far as she could. I think I tried to make it clear that I understood she didn’t want the dog to touch her and that I was doing my part to keep it from happening … yet she still ran by.
It made me feel bad.