Briana (jengalill) wrote,

Culture Shock

While I'm happy to be back, it is also hard. I feel like honey that is slowly adjusting to fill a much larger container. After living out of a suitcase and in a hotel for so long, after being surrounded by the noise, the smoke, the dust, the people, the trash, the traffic, it is strange to come home to open spaces, rain, and far more wealth than we were used to seeing.

One half my brain wrestles with "white guilt" at coming back to such large houses, such clean air, such generous holiday gifts... The other half of my brain bemoans the horrible things about our culture- that we are all so much less satisfied with whatever we do have, that our family structures are nowhere near as strong as so many other cultures, that there is an automatic air of distrust between everyone.

There, one of my biggest joys was just giving. Giving tips, giving holiday gifts, even walking right up to poor strangers and giving them food, soaps and bug repellent.Here, I couldn't walk up to people on the streets and just begin offering free food because people would begin to question "why? What did she put into it?" Or they wouldn't even appreciate it- clearly wanting just money instead. I can't even offer home-made cookies or muffins at work to the highly intelligent and independent adults I serve- "if someone were to get sick, who would they sue??"

Everyone said to be prepared for the culture shock in going to India. No one mentioned how much more prepared you need to be to come home.
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