Now I get it OR Completely Normal After All

The different acceptable and expected ways of doing things from culture to culture are so complex.  Often there are things that one culture does that seem very foreign to someone from another culture.  Sometimes, it seems something is done so differently that it doesn’t even make sense.  Sometimes things are done just a little differently.

An example of a simple difference is that here people “pat” their clothes to get the dirt or dust off whereas in the country I grew up in we “brush off” our clothes.  I think part of the complexity and ability to see things as normal comes from where one grows up.  I think much knowledge and understanding of what’s “expected” is gained by children as they grow.  When entering a culture as an adult this understanding doesn’t come as naturally.  I’m not one that believes children have an easier time, but it does seem that it’s a different way of absorbing and learning the cultural norms.  As adults I feel we can gain that knowledge and come to a deeper understanding than children can, but it takes awhile for us to feel at ease with the normal things happening around us.

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A typical scene from the kids’ cement soccer field that their elementary school shares with the Jr High and High School.

It’s very common here to see the staff of an entire store or business doing a group dance or exercise routine together.  Most times it’s at the beginning of the work day, but not always.  On my walk to the large grocery store where I go about once a month, I pass a tall office building behind a row of flags.  One morning I saw a whole group of people in suits and high heels out in front of that building doing something that looked to me very much like a line dance!  I just can’t picture that happening in Minnesota.  But after hearing the stories our kids tell of their times in the local schools about how life worked there, I find that it seems completely normal after all.

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