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家犬帮我走进社区
My dogs pave my way to break out of ethnic enclave

 
我家住在多伦多一个环境美丽的、大树参天的林荫小区里。冬天,它是一个宁静的、白雪覆盖的世界。夏天,在绿荫围绕下,它是一个大自然爱好者的天堂。但与我从小长大的中国老家的邻里街区相比,它似乎缺少某种活力和归属感。

I live in a beautiful tree lined Toronto neighbourhood. In winter, it is a peaceful snow-covered white world, and in summer, it is surrounded by greenery canopies – a nature lovers’ paradise. But it seems to lack the vibrancy and sense of belonging provided by the close-knit community that I grew up in from my hometown China. 


和所有移民一样,我在适应新移民生活的过程中遇到挑战。与邻居之间的隔阂是我作为一名少数族裔成员在加国所经历的最大的文化冲击之一。在我搬入这个社区几年之后,我还是像一个外来者,孤独地生活在自己族裔的小圈子里。尽管与邻居们同住一片小区,却与他们面临着一条巨大文化鸿沟。我对邻居们从姓名到生活方式几乎一无所知,而与他们打交道也成为了非常棘手的问题。

Like any immigrant, I faced barriers in adapting to life in this new country. Unable to form a bond with our neighbours could be one of the biggest cultural shocks I’ve experienced as an ethnic minority member. Years after I moved into this neighbourhood, I lived like an outsider, stuck in an isolated ethnic enclave. Despite living nearby, I had absolutely no idea of who my neighbours were and what their lives were about. The cultural difference made the mingling efforts seemingly tricky and awkward.


但是我的金毛猎犬Fluffy却使情况有所改观。与人为善是金毛猎犬的天性。不管街邻来自任何族裔和文化背景,Fluffy都能与他们很快混熟。在Fluffy的帮助下,我最终打破族裔局限,并让我与方圆几公里内的邻居们建立起了某种感情纽带。

But things started to change after I got my first dog Fluffy, a golden retriever. Her friendly nature and natural bond with human beings – regardless of their race and cultural backgrounds, has provided me with a thread that eventually led me to break out from silence and to build a connection with those who lived a few doors away from me.


当Fluffy和我在街上漫步时,我们总会遇到其他的狗和他们的主人们。从相对咆哮,到互相追逐嬉戏,动物之间的特殊的互相问候方式给我和狗主人们之间提供了相互交流的机会,让我们很快从打打招呼和恭维彼此的爱犬到开始拉家常。虽然我和来自中国的邻居们以今晚吃啥作为聊天起始话题是再也平常不过的事,但对加拿大邻居来说,却恐怕不是恰当的话题。令人惊讶的是,对于Fluffy的饮食的交流却给我提供了再自然不过的契机:

As Fluffy and I were strolling down the street, we met other dogs and their owners on the road. Dogs natural greetings – their loud barks and running towards each other -- had allowed me and my neighbours to start a small talk that went quickly beyond Hello and flatteries to the dogs. While it is very natural to greet my Chinese neighbours with food menus on the dinner table, privacy concerns prevented me from exploring that topic with my Canadian neighbours. Surprisingly, discussions about Fluffy’s diet smoothed the way:


“我们的小狗从不会吃我们餐桌上的食物,比如今晚吃过的沙拉和烤鸡。”

“He wouldn’t eat the food on our table, such as salad and roast chicken we had for dinner tonight.”


“我喜欢烤鸡,但中国人做菜一般不会用烤箱而是喜欢用炉头烧菜。”

“I like roast chicken, but Chinese generally don’t do a lot of cooking using oven. We use stoves instead.”


这种闲聊能很快让我和邻居将话题带到在不同国度出生和长大的人士所共同生活的现实社会中来。当我们谈到日常关心的问题和生活挑战时,对多元文化价值观的认同和彼此文化传统的欣赏则自然加深了我们的感情交流。

The small talk can quickly lead to conversations that brought us – who were born and raised in different countries -- before the ordinary world we share. As we talked about our daily concerns and life struggles, the appreciation of diverse culture and values bonded us.  


借助我的友好大使Fluffy,我与我家隔着几栋房子的、养着一对牧羊犬的夫妇成了朋友。他们和我分享了他们所面临的从家庭经济到伴侣关系等一系列生活中遇到的麻烦 。虽然是家家都有本难念的经,几乎我们每个人的生活都会遇到这些挑战,但在中国传统文化中,华裔人士往往会怕遭他人耻笑而对此类“家丑”秘而不宣。

Through the friendly gestures of Fluffy to a border collie – I made a friend with a couple who lived a few doors away from mine, who shared with me about their life challenges they were facing – from financial problems to relationship issues. While these obstacles wreak the lives of almost each and everyone of us, they were deemed dirty laundry and were the top secrets kept by many Chinese families. 


他们的诚恳及对生活中各种挑战的直率态度赢得了我的尊敬和钦佩,并让我反思中国的文化缺陷。

Their courageous disclosure has earned my respect and admiration, leaving me to reflect on the Chinese cultural flaws. 


Fluffy最好的朋友的主人是一位退休的大学教授。几年前,他的妻子因乳腺癌去世。当作为基督徒的他以生动的语调向我描述了他们夫妇一生中最困难的时光时,来自内心的从容和尊严溢于言表,令我感动至深。

The owner of Fluffy’s best friend is a retired college professor who lost his wife to breast cancer a few years ago. I was gripped by the power of calm and dignity revealed as he, a faithful Christian gave a vivid account of the most challenging time in their life.


Fluffy过世几年后,我新的小狗Baily承传了其它前任的使命。随着它仍不断地与其同伴们的咆哮,追逐嬉戏,我得以与更多的邻居们握手相拥,与他们分享各自生活的欢乐与悲伤。我家的狗狗们让我在这条宁静,看似没有人气的街道上与邻居获得文化认同并建立了感情。这是通过它们,我走出了自己的族裔圈子,在这个异国之乡的小区找到了归属感。

Many years have passed and Fluffy passed away, and I got a new dog Baily who has continued his predecessor’s mission. As he growls and chases after other dogs from time to time, I shook hands and hugged with more neighbours, exchanging our joys and sorrows in our lives. Through the dog medium, deepening human connections and cultural acceptance has never ceased to pour out from this quiet, seemingly soulless street, allowing me to break out from ethnic enclaves and find a sense of belonging in this adopted community.
 

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