Thursday, September 29, 2011

culture through new eyes

We have one of Jordan's friends, George, here visiting us. He arrived this morning at 5:30am and poor guy is having the most full day! After the 12 hour flight and the time change, you are so thrown off and dizzy and just TIRED. But he has been a great sport and went to prayer with us right away (after some cinnamon bun pancakes!) and then we got to take him to the CBD (central business district, aka downtown to us Americans) to show him around. Now he and Jordan are at a support raising seminar for students going on summer projects in December (how weird is it that SUMMER project is in December, right?). But the goal for anyone coming to Australia is that they would stay awake all day the first day they arrive to get their bodies accustomed to the time change as quickly as possible. It really does make such a difference if you can just persevere through that first miserable, sleepless day.

We were talking about some of the differences in culture and ways of doing things this morning, and I realized there are just so many things that I've grown completely comfortable with and now view as the norm. It was the weirdest day when I watched an American movie (after being here several months and driving on the left side of the road) and saw someone driving on the "wrong" side of the road. It used to be the "right" side…now who knows what my body thinks is right and wrong!

I have always heard that reverse culture shock can be worse than the regular kind you experience when visiting a new place. My theory on this recently has been that I won't experience it as much because I'm not in a country that loves America. You see, I've actually grown more patriotic this year, which may seem weird. All the other times I've gone to another country, I harbor some resentment to my home country because I see how very much all the people around me adore America and I see that we don't think two seconds about them. It kind of makes you just love them more and think your own country is so clueless. But in Australia, I've felt so disliked for being an American. I've never had people look down on me for being an American (yeah some countries will look down on America because of our government, but not you because you live there). Anyway, it's increased my patriotism and my desire to hold on to my American-ness (at times) because blatant verbal attacks on my country are just mean! And I actually thought that I hadn't really changed that much. (But let me clarify that this is not ALL Aussies. Some of them love America and Americans and most of our friends are super awesome and welcoming.) So in summary, my theory has been that I'll actually really appreciate the things I've been missing and just being in America. Hope you followed all that.

However, my theory kinda changed today talking to George because I realized just how assimilated I really am. I talk like an Aussie (not the accent but the word choice and sentence structure is often very Australian). I use public transport like an Aussie. I am quiet in public. I drive on the left side of the road without fear or apprehension. I watch footy and I "go" for a team instead of "root" for them. I shop at markets and fruit stands. I'm becoming a bread snob. I am seriously obsessed with these people's yogurt. Bottom line, I guess there will be a lot to get re-used to when we get back. And a lot to miss. Eek!


  1. Some of the things you mention about being an Aussie are very New York, too. Maybe you and Jordan need to move here to assimilate better :) xoxo

  2. George is so lucky he gets to visit yall! Thats so cool that you've gotten used to the culture! SO interesting!