Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cultural comparisons-moving houses

I thought it would be interesting of making a comparison between the Saudi and Finnish cultures every once in a while. They tend to be each others opposites sometimes!
These posts are not intended to be taken too seriously. I've written them with a dash of humor with them so please read accordingly!

This cultural comparison will be about moving to a new house and how the newly wed couples participate in moving process.

In KSA, typically the newly wed husband and wife will have lived in their parent's homes until they get married. The girl will usually be around 19-25 and the boys a bit older because they have to save up money in order to get married. It's required by Islam that the husband provides financially for everything. The couple will then move to the new apartment or house after the wedding celebrations called the walimah. At that point the house will usually be ready to move in, furnished, cleaned and renovated.

In Finland single young girls and boys will move out of their parents houses to live by themselves as young as 18 years old when they are considered legally adults. The rest will leave around their 20's to other cities for studies and move into small apartments or shared student housing. Typically the age women and men get married is 26-30 after they have graduated and got jobs. They might move in together many years before actually getting married. Finnish women tend to be very independent and like to do things on their own initiative. All expenses will normally be divided 50/50 between the couple.

First I will shortly describe how in general the native couples would resolve the emerging issues. Then I'll illustrate how the scene unfolds when these two cultures combine, Saudi husband and Finnish wife in KSA!

Choosing the new home/apartment
Saudi couple: The husband to be will search for the new apartment/house and choose whatever he can afford according to the preferences his fiancee has listed. The prospective wife will go see it separately with her mother or if she wishes to go along with the fiancee, her mahram (father, brother) will accompany them.
Finnish couple: They will usually move into one or the others apartment, whichever is more convenient for two people. Rent will be divided in half between them.
Mixed couple: Husband and wife will look for suitable house together and choose in agreement. Saudi husband insists on paying all expenses. Finnish wife refuses and insists on paying half because she is accustomed to doing so. They make a compromise and wife pays 1/3.

Furnishing the apartment
Saudi couple: Husband will search for furniture in few different stores depending on his budget. He will let the future wife know which store he has picked it from and it will be marked for the fiancee to look at. Wife to be will visit the store separately and approve or disapprove. Husband pays for all expenses.
Once decision has been made husband hires workers to carry the furniture to the new home, or he does it himself with his relatives. In the meantime the prospective Saudi wife goes to have her hair done at the salon.
Finnish couple: They will combine their existing furniture, or go buy new ones together and share expenses 50/50. They carry the furniture together or with help from friends.
Mixed couple: Couple looks for furniture together in different stores and come to mutual agreement. Saudi husband wants to pay for everything, Finnish wife refuses and they end up making the same compromise on the payment. Husband insists on carrying everything, wife refuses to let husband do all the work. Compromise is made and husband carries the heaviest things and wife gets to participate.

Cleaning the new home
Saudi couple: Husband will hire a maid/ maids to clean the whole new home. Mother of husband or wife will likely supervise. If he cannot afford the maid, his sisters will most likely do the job for him. Meanwhile the Saudi wife to be will be shopping for new shoes and a handbag.
Finnish couple: Presumably the wife will do majority of the cleaning. Husband might pitch in as a consequence to wife's persistent nagging.
Mixed couple: Husband suggests to get a maid to clean the whole house. Wife refuses because she wants to do everything herself in order to get the wanted result and she is not comfortable with hiring maids. Husband agrees and volunteers to help.They start cleaning the house together. After a while the wife gives in and agrees to hire a maid. Maid arrives to clean house, but wife supervises and insists to clean with her. Husband pays and is relieved he is excused from cleaning.

Decorating the new home
Saudi couple: Most likely the wife will choose most of the decorations after they have settled in. Couple goes shopping together after the wedding, wife picks out what she likes and husband pays and carries everything.
Finnish couple: Wife will choose and pay most decorations, husband is not that interested.
Mix couple: Couple go looking for decorations together, same dilemma with payment arises. Alternatively wife wants to go shopping on her own, buys and carries the stuff home. Meanwhile Saudi husband is home watching football.

Saudi couple: Husband will hire a Pakistani or Indian worker to conduct all renovations while Saudi wife will go out shopping with her friends. Husband pays for both.
Finnish couple: Most renovating will be done by the couple themselves. If they must hire help the costs will be evenly divided.
Mixed couple: Husband wants to renovate himself what he can, wife insists she can participate but husband refuses she overburdens herself. Husband then hires the Pakistani to do the rest and Finnish wife is pleased to be exused.

Returning broken things
Saudi couple: Husband will drive to the store and take care of everything; on the way he drops off Saudi wife to have a manicure/pedicure at the spa.
Finnish couple: Whichever of the two has more time goes and returns the things.
Mixed couple: Couple goes back to store together. Wife complains about broken/malfunctioning goods and causes a scene and a few raised eyebrows from onlookers that are not accustomed to females voicing their opinions. Husband gets embarrassed by the attention and makes note to self that next time he will drop off wife to the spa to have a manicure/pedicure and go by himself to the store.

Assembling furniture
Saudi couple: Husband will hire a Pakistani or Indian worker to come to the house to assemble all furniture. Saudi wife is visiting her mother in the meanwhile.
Finnish couple: Couple assembles most of the furniture together.
Mixed couple: Saudi husband wants to impress his wife and attempts to assemble all the furniture by himself. After a while he gets frustrated and goes and hires the Pakistani guy. Finnish wife is proud of her husbands attempts and makes him some special Finnish desert.


Seikku said...

Hah hah haaaa.. Funny :)

Dentographer said...

Mashallah,i must say the husband is lucky to have the finnish wife,
i really enjoyed your post,its intresting but very true how u portrait the saudi wife so passive and spoiled,though am lucky i have an exception.

may god bless you and ur husband,he seems so eager to make you happy the saudi way,and then realize that its not the same in finland.

i always loved to hear stories about mixed couples,and this was the highlight of my readings today :)

desital said...

hehehhe... funny

Soile said...

:-) I agree, this was a funny and interesting post! Keep 'em coming!

The Burdened Mary said...

Hahaha this was very funny and charming. It made me laugh a lot. :) Your husband seems to be a very understanding fellow! That's really nice.

Hasna said...

Well we Finnish and Arabs have at least one thing in common : we both are stubborn.

Layla said...

hello everybody and greeting from Finland!!
been very busy with my nieces lately :)

Thanks for your comments, I will definately write another cultural comparison later, I found it quite funny too!

Any suggestions on the topic??

Hasnah I agree, we are both very stubborn ;)

Anonymous said...

does any1 know where to get cheaper cost abaya or hijab? i tried shukr but prices r too expansive. any1 heard of plz tell me on my yahoo id: rubiadaislami if they try and its safe thanks jazakAllah khair may Allah bless

Blue Pearl said...

Salaam alaikum dear one, Just dropping by to say رمضان كريم, May Allah make your fasts the fasts of those who fast sincerely, Inshallah. Barakallah feek

Anonymous said...

Like this article. I recognize myself in some of your points! When we moved to our house, I insisted on cleaning it myself although we could hire some professional help. Later we thought of painting it and again I volunteered to do it myself- unheard of for a local woman! Luckily I changed my mind and some workers painted the house fast and easy.

Comtesse de Villeneuve said...

I know I'm several months late on this but I laughed so hard when I read this, picturing some of my friends in those scenarios and I still haven't recovered :D

You have got to do more of this. Absolutely!

Bogardesque (I need to sort this thing out because half the time it shows Bogardesque and the other half the name above. But it is one and the same person).

ipv6 said...

that was nice..

Anyway I think the Finnish and Bedouins got lotta thing in common,their ancestor live and roaming in a rough environment both in desert of sand and the latter, ice.

While the fin, past their creativity & hard working's genes into a modern thriving technological marvel, while the nomadic Arab counterpart become so pamper wth the discover of massive oil well that they become so spoil and lazier fat cat not even interested of doing even a simple task left alone a very complicated thingy.

Anonymous said...

Hello! It's really very interesting and funny post, thanks a lot! But i cannot understand why Finnish couple divide all expenses and share all them work not only cleaning the house )))

irish rose sarah said...

I know I am late, but that was soo funny. I love comparisions and my cousin gave me a list of comparisions between arab guys and girls I think. I'll post it inshallah if you want.

Layla said...

hi irish rose sarah and thanks for your comment!
That would be very interesting to hear so please go ahead and post it!