Apples and Oranges Still Make Good Juice

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When Jay and I first met, I was shocked at the differences between us. I grew up in a small town with less than 90 people in my high school graduating class. Jay lived in a town with more people in his class than in my entire school. He was born in another country and had traveled to dozens of places I’d even heard of at that point. When I first got to know him I actually thought he was joking when he told me about his life. Were there really people so privileged with travel? My family had never even left the country! The more we talked, the more I fell in love with Jay’s experiences. I loved his knowledge of different areas of the world, his passion for travel, and his ignorance (for lack of a better word) about certain aspects of American life.

Jay and I both have loving families and had good childhoods, but he was a little more privileged with his vacations and resources. Every year he went on a month-long vacation to Singapore, South Africa, Dubai, or some other cool destination and ate exotic meals. Meawhile, I sat at home eating my Hot Pockets and watching non-cable television. Whenenver we talked it was apparent that we had plenty of differences.

I think those differences are what brought us together. I found myself fascinated by his lifestyle, the ability to travel so often has always been a dream of mine. I want to eat the Peking Duck and see gold vending machines! I also love learning about his Dutch background. There is so much I didn’t know about Europe and travel. Jay taught me an incredible amount and he stills does to this day! While I was living vicariously through Jay on his vacations, he was learning more about the average American life from me. He was surprised by how few people lived in my town, how limited our sports selection was in high school, and how little I knew (and still know) about geography. We talked about our own lives and learned from each other.

One thing that really bonds Jay and I together is my lack of worldly knowledge. I remember the first time Jay asked me about the countries in Europe. He wanted to see how many I could name on a blank map and I think I got three correct. Whenever we discuss a topic I am clueless about and he thinks I should know, he’ll find a YouTube video to help teach me! Now I’m significantly better at geography and he’s not totally embarassed by lack of knowledge on the subject. 🙂

One of the things I help teach Jay is American sports. He grew up watching field hockey (dudes play it in Holland) and football (better known to us ‘mericans as soccer). I brought Jay to Fenway to watch the Red Sox and helped teach him the rules of baseball. You know how if there’s a no-hitter happening you’re not supposed to draw attention to it? Well I failed to mention that to Jay and one of my friends still blames him for ruining the no-hitter that day. He was simply being observant by saying, “Have there been no hits?” The next play ended the no-hitter and confirmed our superstitions that you should never ever say anything about a possible no-hitter!  While Jay learned about baseball from me, I learned about soccer from him. I never got into soccer before college and failed to understand the rules. Jay helped teach me and even helped me choose a team to follow. Now we support eachother’s team (unless our teams are playing against one another) and each have a better understanding of other sports!

Sometimes it really is true that opposites attract. I’m not sure I’d say that Jay and I are complete opposites, but our upbringings certainly lacked similarities. We understand that our standards of living might be a little different, but we don’t let that stand in our way. We both have a thirst for knowledge and want to learn more about what makes eachother who we are today. Jay and I choose to embrace our differences, which is why we have such a strong bond between us.

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This post was inspired by the LDRBN blogging prompt: Opposites

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