Culture Shock?

This list you are about to read are things I’ve always noticed about living in the States but which are especially obvious after being away for six months.

– People come in extremely large sizes. It’s amazing how much weight the human body can handle. Also…

– There is no fat stigma or shame, perhaps because we are taught to accept ourselves just the way we are. So you see gigantic beverage and food portions consumed by gigantic people in public. Unlike in some Asian countries, it is not acceptable to tell people you barely know they are overweight.

– People wear corporate logos like North Face, Under Armor or Armani Exchange with pride. They seem to identify with these logos.

Israeli Girls in Rio– There is a mind-boggling variety of food sold in warehouse-like buildings (supermarkets), but healthy, non-processed, and somewhat natural food such as organic fruits and vegetables are far more expensive than typical food most likely derived from corn or soy.

– On the Metro, everyone has a book with them, with titles such as Making Globalization Work (no lie). You have to be doing something while waiting for something else.

– Americans are pretty funny. If they say their favorite show includes Seinfeld, The Simpsons, or Friends, they are guaranteed to make a good joke at some point in the conversation.

– Most of the middle-class population seems to have a computer phone. At bars half the crowd is typing away on their cute little keyboards.

– It’s okay to put toilet paper in the toilet bowl. But where all that flushed toilet paper go???

Making Globalization Work– There is a heavy display of wealth. People are showing off that they (may) have a lot of money as a judge of their self-worth. This is a bad idea in many other parts of the world.

In Chile I met a young Dutch guy who was telling me about his girlfriend. She went to India for a month and was so taken in by the culture that when she came back she had “serious culture shock,” moreso than when she arrived in India. He told me that in India there is less display of affection between men and women, so when he picked her up from the airport she only give him a distant hug while in new ethnic garb. At the time I thought, “That girl is full of shit,” and I can confirm it now; I’ve been gone for six months and there is no culture shock. It doesn’t even feel like I’ve been gone. :paranoid:

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Tom Humes
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I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you.

Tom Humes

Anonymous
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You don’t have culture shock because you didn’t get the real experience. You went somewhere for a party (in addition to sleeping in strange beds and learning to surf), basically moving the party from DC to the streets of Rio. If, on the other hand, you had gone to Brazil to live with a local tribe, eating their staples and, say, guzzling down raw liver, then you’d experience something entirely. We used to find earthen bee-hives and eat the honey off the honey-comb (as a treat). Try that for a few months and you won’t look at Graham crackers with “honey” the same.

Tastemakers Blogazine
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I’ve always wondered about that issue with food. Eating healthy in America is a catch-22, the stuff that’s good for you is expensive and the stuff that’s bad for you is cheap. So naturally, since the majority of Americans are struggling from paycheck to paycheck, a lot of us will end up overweight. Then Michael Moore will shoot another documentary and we’ll all start to look at the problem all over again. It’s kinda like a dog chasing it’s own tail …

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Rajia
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In India it may not be normal to see affection between man and woman, but you will undoubtedly see men holding hands with each other, quite normally, walking down the street. And in a society that is SO repressed about homosexuliaty. Figure that one out.

Shannon
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Reverse culture shock is real and will knock you on your ass…it just takes a few weeks to kick in.

I lived overseas for several years, and had a very hard time adjusting to being home. For example, Bluetooths came into style while I was gone. For the longest time, I just thought DC had more crazy people and they were dressing a heck of a lot better.

me
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me
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Correct me if I am wrong, but you have lived in the DC area your whole life, right? Some of these comments, particularly about people reading books called “Making Globalization Work” on the Metro and everybody having blackberrys may only be unique to this area and the rest of Blue State America. Your next trip should be a cross country trip across America; you should move to a tiny town in the middle of Texas or Oklahoma or something, and learn about what life in middle America is like.

Nomadz
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Cultural shock does exist… If you live abroad for a long time (not travel, I mean have a life, a job, friends…), and / or have some extreme experiences (eg. cross the Sahara on foot for two months, stuff like that). I have been living broad for six years and everytime I go back home it’s a little harder to adjust.

That said, the girl who stayed in India for a month IS full of shit. One month is not even the time you need to begin to understand a new place.
And a white chick wearing a Sari after 1 month in India is just plain ridiculous, it’s like “let’s play indian girlie, wow !”
Or maybe that was the first time she escaped from her parents’ basement.

Jack Goes Forth
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you’re right about the Seinfeld comment. There are certain indicators of a person’s humor and being a Seinfeld fan is one of them. I also have a theory that if a person is really into the HBO show “Flight of the Conchords” then they have an exceptional sense of humor. I posted on it here:

http://jackgoesforth.blogspot.com/2008/01/its-business-time.html

Also on the fat stigma thing–> Have you seen the size of a SMALL drink at the movies? Its incredible how large our portions are. Its also disgusting.

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roissy
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the stigma for being fat must return. nothing motivates like a good public shaming. plus, all those fat chicks are artifically raising the selling prices of the remaining thin chicks.

i want to tell that dutch guy to dump his gf. she probably had a fling with an exotic local.

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spaceman
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^ whose the chick in the photo roosh?
shes hawt.

Joe T.
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I know I’m back in America when I see a normal, good-looking 30-something white male sitting in an airport restaurant with his obese, ugly wife.

Not just chubby, mind, and not just mildly harsh on the eyes. I mean normal, attractive, trim American males sitting with mackerel-faced beached whales.

Only in America, my friends.

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Beach Bum
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So you post a picture of Brazilian girls on a post about America? Tsc tsc tsc…

Yeah, culture shock doesn’t come right away from traveling, but I get that when I go back to Brazil, every time I have been back since I first came as a foreign student back in 95…

Did you go to the supermarket in Brazil? Not only they offer a highly extensive selection of fruits and veggies (don’t even get me started on the awesomeness of our fruits…), but it’s cheap. Here in the US it really is expensive to eat healthy, and also obesity is much more accepted. While in Brazil I’m fat, and cannot buy pants that fit me, here I’m so called “average” — how sad is that? (Though of course, I was much much thinner when I lived in Brazil, since I used to eat a lot healthier…)

Oh, and the Dutch’s girlfriend really IS full of shit… It’s like Brazilians that spend a month here than go back to Brazil acting like they forgot how to speak Portuguese. Give me a break.

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Bobby Rio
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big difference i found was that in America it is very rare to see a family out past 10pm… in south america and even europe you see entire families (with children) out to dinner until 12-1 in the morning.. they sit and talk and drink..

in america everyone rushes home to watch american idol or csi..

As for the india story…

I know a guy who went to India for about a month and he came back fucked in the head… so maybe its possible..

Bobby Rio’s last blog post: The Hero, the Bounty, and the Purpose Driven Life..

Jewcano
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There’s nothing lamer than a hipster who ‘went local’ on summer break. “Oh, but I was in India a whole month! I’ve become enlightened to the evil of our bourgeois ways! I’ll tell you all about it over a half-caf Mochachino.”

And Israeli girls, no matter where they pop up, are the hottest girls on the planet, hands down. Thanks for the reaffirmation.

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Gannon
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I specially like the darker one in the background behind the redhead.

T.
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If you want to see a horrifically hot combo, nothing beats Russian Israeli chicks. All the hotness of Russian chicks, with a lot less tribal, isolationist attitude.

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Beach Bum
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Israeli, huh? The “Cartao Petrobras” and the Flamengo colors threw me off…

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Joe T.
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That Israeli chick most def has a cute vibe goin on. In my experience, Israel produces both some of the hottest, and the homeliest, girls you’ll ever see.

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Anonymous
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Im from Melbourne, Australia and some time ago accidentally walked into Starbucks thinking it was another coffee chains store.

Anyway , I ordered a “Small” flat white and was amazed when they gave me what looked like a small bucket of coffee. Far bigger than any other “small” flat white I had EVER bought ANYWHERE.

What is it with American sized portions ??