We always talked about “culture shock” in an anthropology course I took last year. But the thing about culture shock is that it can occur basically any time you leave your familiar environments.
: a feeling of confusion, doubt, or nervousness caused by being in a place (such as a foreign country) that is very different from what you are used to
This whole weekend has been full of different cultures for me that I have had to face on my own – The African American culture, and multiple West Indian cultures. (And I say “on my own” because my bf worked the whole weekend, and is working tonight as well… I know his mom and family but I am still becoming comfortable and familiar with them and their ways of acting)
That may make it sound like I am extremely sheltered back home, and to a point I am. But when I am at home, I am never living, eating and conversing 24/7 in a household that has a different culture than me. It only makes sense that I feel a little out of place here.
Yesterday my boyfriend’s mom held a pool party for children that attend their church – I helped out, visited with the different grandparents who brought their grandkids, visited with the kids, etc. I was the only white person out of 25+ people. It didn’t bother me, and for the most part I was generally well accepted, some of the kids were VERY curious as to who I was and why I was there.
I talked to multiple women, but one woman in particular stood out to me. She never held anything back… her whole family seemed to be in crisis and she was very outspoken. I enjoyed listening to her and her stories, experiences, and thoughts… but I had a hard time responding to her. Well, it wasnt even that I had a hard time responding, it’s that she had a hard time receiving what I was saying back to her. The conversation was great if I kept my mouth shut and only asked questions from time to time. I felt awkward because anything I said she would brush off, or act off about it.
I helped set up, manage and clean up the party – I never received a thank you from my bf’s mom?? At all?? I’m not saying that to sound prissy, but It’s just VERY VERY different than back home.
AND I know things arent always going to be like they are “Back home”, but this is just me working through my emotions.
After the pool party, we went to different Caribbean grocery stores, which I usually LOVE since theres all sorts of food and new items I have never seen… but I just felt so foreign in those stores. It had different food, different veggies & fruits… and I just wanted to see familiar things to me. After having all those new foods last week here, I seriously just want peanut butter on toast, and oatmeal.
When I got back at night to grandmas house, there was another lady and her daughter there from the islands. The lady was downright rude to me, so rude!!! Later on I found out she was racist and does not like white people.
This is so foreign to me… back home, we do not have large race differences between the whites and blacks at all. Not like America. I am not used to being judged because of my skin colour. It felt…. sad. Awkward.
I guess I have to experience things like that though. Because thats life. Thats what happens. People have different beliefs and ideas.
I just wanted something familiar all weekend. I keep taking baths because it reminds me of home – I love baths.