02 April 2006

This is no time for faux-pas

One of my dearest friends' father just passed away. It was not without warning, but I find myself feeling acutely unprepared. Q was able to be there which means he's halfway around the world right now. It never occurred to me to ask if his family observes any customs particular to his country after the death of a loved one, if there's anything friends of the family normally do. It's not like there ever would've been a good time to ask such things, I'm just wishing I already knew the answers.

It just clarifies what I don't know about his family, like if his mother reads English or what his other brother's name is (I knew them both once but have forgotten the elder's). These concerns are trivial in the scheme of things, I realize; I just don't want to make things any harder for Q by doing or asking anything inappropriate.

In revising that last phrase, it became ridiculous somehow. I am not so inept and he would understand if there's cultural stuff with which I'm unfamiliar. I just want to be thoughtful and considerate, and I wish I was able to be there more for him.

What I need to do is look up what precisely the obscene time difference is and figure out what to do with the extra numbers in an international phone number.

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  1. Sorry to hear about your friend's loss, Claire. If you e-mail me the country name, I can likely give you some information on cultural observances. (Between me and my Foreign Service friends, we can give pretty good advice on customs the world 'round...)