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Submitted on
August 29, 2013


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Moving to another country (England) as been quite the eye opener when it comes to culture clashes. I was prepared for the big things like driving on the other side of the road, but overall the English culture is so like the Danish that a lot of small differences sneak up on me. Like how a lot of stores have only one big queue, or that people will offer you tea when you visit but not even think to ask what kind you want because they all drink the same thing (In Denmark if people have tea they will offer you at least five different kinds).

A favorite of mine so far has been the word spastic. In Denmark it's completely neutral if you call someone who actually is a spastic a spastic. That's the name of the muscle disease.

But as I learned after far too long, if is very much an insult in England. When people asked me about my convention experiences I would often mention a spastic girl who came up to my table at most cons in Denmark, and how we got to know each other well enough that once on her birthday she demanded a gift from my table. We joked around and I told her to get lost, at which point she acted up her handicap, flailing her arms about and making stupid voices saying "But I'm haaaandiiiicaaaapped!" and it became a battle of will before I finally gave her a small gift and she returned to normal "Aww, you shouldn't have. Thanks"

I told that story for years in England until someone finally said "You shouldn't call her that if you like her. That's really insulting"
"Stop saying that"
"...But she is a spastic"

So yeah, culture clashes. You learn something new every day. :XD:
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Awesomely-Happy-Hero Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2014  New member Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Huh... I live in the USA, for the record, and I normally use it as more of an endearment... not "spastic" exactly, but "spaz" (which I find more fun to say). Like, "Oh, You're such a spaz". Or even, "Yeah, I'm a spaz". The actual full word is something I normally reserve for objects, like a spastic pattern of lights, or something like that.
kuroitenshi13 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2013  Professional General Artist
I will not claim to know anything, I'm surprised, yet not that spastic is a muscle disease.  In the USA it is more insulting, but I've heard worse insults, so uh, middle of the road?
sarabjork Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2013
I just moved from Iceland to Denmark and I totally know what you mean about the small culture things. Most of the culture is so similar you forget to watch out for those tiny differences and they shock you every time.
Samidare-Jin Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
As someone who is about to make a move to Sweden from Romania, i think my biggest culture shock was how dishes are being washed. I was at my boyfriends place, and we were supposed to take turns doing the dishes (the cottage house had no dishwasher) so i started doing i do them home. As in each plate separately with the sponge and dish soap. Apparently that's wrong, and i was supposed to let them soak in a sink full of soap, and then 5 minutes later rinse them. Needless to say i felt very bad and awkward when i was pushed aside by his mom (even if she did it with a smile). 
ADB-Fantasy Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013
Eugh. If it's what she has, what the hell is their problem? I'd probably be offended that they were offended by it.
starxfruit Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
In the UK, it's about equal to calling someone a 'retard'. So, think of it in that context to understand what the problem is. It comes from what is still used as a medical term, but culturally it's become a pejorative and is therefore offensive to most; different terms have mostly replaced it for refering to the actual medical condition.
ADB-Fantasy Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013
It still doesn't really seem fair.
PageOHaraWriter Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
That's interesting! I live in the U.S. and "spaz" or "spastic" is used to describe someone who is hyper or active in an annoying way either because their nervous or just messing around. Like a rowdy kid might be "such a spaz," or to a friend who is acting crazy you might say "Stop being such a spaz!"
drakeo1903 Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
lol wow on the spastic story xD

good luck in your new home :)
xraineynight713x Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013
I don't think I've ever heard someone use the word spastic the way do before! XD I've always used the word spastic as someone who is silly, acting crazy, etc. But I'm from the U.S., so I guess it's different in Denmark and the U.K.
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