Culture Shock

When traveling one often finds themselves in a place very different  from their home. It is difficult to adjust at times and to accept that which is strange, however, in order to assimilate and adjust one must accept these differences and embrace the new culture for what it is. To learn to live by the new standards and to overcome the culture shock.

Upon arriving in Spain, I had no idea what to expect as I have never travelled to Europe before. The first thing I noticed was how weird the money was. Very colorful, different sizes, and the coins were simply bizarre. It felt as though they had modelled the Euro off of Monopoly. However, it is much easier to differentiate between the bills and I have come to enjoy the colorful paper.

“Euros” by MD5050 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another aspect that really threw me off was the way in which everyone greets each other. I am used to a hand shake or a fist bump, but that is not the norm here at all. Instead they present two kisses, one on each cheek to greet and to say goodbye. I was very uncomfortable at first and had to resist my urger to punch people in the face. Although I am still not used to this way of greetings I have overcome my urge to react negatively to this custom and am usually able to partake without feeling awkward. It is something so strange to me and I find myself wanting to scrub my face afterwards….apparently it is three kisses in France…I could not imagine. It just seems too personal for me, especially since people do it when first meeting someone. However, I have kept my opinions to myself and am slowly starting to embrace the culture.

“Leche” by H. Schofield (CC by 2.0)

Finally, the most abusrd thing I have come into contact with while here in Spain, is the milk. They keep their milk in paper cartons, which in itself is not weird. However, these cartons are not refrigerated at all before opening them. I am not sure what type of black magic is happening here but to me, milk should always be refrigerated. Right now there are two cartons of milk in the cupboard. How does it not spoil? I have no idea. At least it has not made me sick.

I am grateful that there are only a few aspects of my new life that I struggle to grasp and incorporate into my actions and perceptions of society. I have found that the people are great and the culture is rich. I will not be able to fully immerse myself until I am able to accept the culture and overcome the shock.

2 thoughts on “Culture Shock

  1. Señorita O’B says:

    Sí, la leche es muy raro. Cuando estaba allí en la universidad, el café era demasiado fuerte para mí. Por eso, tenía que usar solamente un poco de café y tenía que calentar la leche para añadírsela al café. Siempre tenía que usar un “strainer@ (perdóname, no sé la palabra) porque había “milk scum” y era horrible. Mi familia me miraba como si fuera imbécil pero era lo que tenía que hacer para beber el café. Una de las primeras cosas que hice cuando regresé a los EEUU fue beber un vaso de leche fría.

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