Culture Can Indeed Be Shocking

From the Peace Corp Wiki site

I’m not sure whom we were speaking with, but in response to a discussion regarding our ‘re-entry’ in to ‘normal’ civilization and going through ‘culture shock’, they asked how ‘culture shock’ would be defined. This showed my ignorance, considering that I was under the impression that everyone used this term quite frequently. Apparently not the case.

I thought I would give a series of definitions or rather examples from our own lives and maybe some of you could contribute you’re own (please!) I would love to hear your shares.

Culture shock is children playing with sticks, dirt and flattened plastic water bottles in one setting and in another watching expectant mothers receiving not one, but two ‘play mats’ for a baby shower; equipped with mirrors, foot pianos, and dangling assortment of stuffed figurines, plastic loops and textiles.

Culture shock is leaving a restaurant satisfied in one setting and in another leaving a restaurant with a doggy bag full of an entire second meal.

Culture shock is listening to birds and breeze blow while waiting for an airplane at an airport in one setting and in another listening to a high volume television featuring no names sharing their passionate and often angry opinions on an assortment of political topics, all while picking up your rental car.

Culture shock is feeling fearless in one setting and in another feeling like every excuse to be fearful is speaking loudly and constantly in your ear.

The best conclusion I have gained is that the shocking transition from one culture to another is for further growth and shaping of my heart, mind and character and for the gleaning of what is great both at home and away. My shape must be very strange at this point and I find it difficult to articulate at times, but I’m sure its all for my betterment; like the shock of heart resuscitation bringing forth gratitude for life.

Okay. Your turn to share your culture shock stories. Remember, culture isn’t just country to country…

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One Response to Culture Can Indeed Be Shocking

  1. Karin says:

    Culture shock is being graciously invited to someone’s home, with no running water and mud walls, but yet feeling as warm and home-y as can be. And then returning home and watching a house hunting show where the couple complain that the 4,000 sq ft house just doesn’t have a nice enough walk-in pantry.
    It is difficult to make sense or reason of how our society lives with itself, when returning from a trip abroad. How can there be so much greed in one culture? This is why it is so important for us to give back to God what he has blessed us with, and to keep everything in perspective.

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