You may wonder what culture shock feels like. Let me paint a picture.
It was a weekend, and my girls and I had been invited to a party. We knew that here in this culture people do not show up at parties on time. This is different in our culture. However, I’m pretty late everywhere I go, so I thought that this shouldn’t be a problem.
We were told that the party would be at 7:00, so my girls and I decided that we would wait until 8:00 to go to the party. This is harder than it seems, even for me. I anxiously watched the clock as the time passed by. Finally, the hour passed and we headed to the party. Once there, we were ushered upstairs into the house, which seemed odd since the party was downstairs.
Upon entering the house I became even more confused. I began to think that we came on the wrong day because the hosts were sitting in front of the television watching a movie. They were lounging in casual clothing, clearly not dressed for a party.
My Spanish was not good, so I asked the girls, “Please ask if we are here the right day.” We were told by the hosts, that yes, today is the party, and not to worry. I couldn’t relax, instead I felt really anxious as we sat in our hosts’ living-room awkwardly watching a movie. I was wishing I could go home. This would never happen where we came from.
Forty-five minutes later we were ushered out of the house and downstairs where the party would be. We were invited to sit in the rented plastic chairs that had just arrived. Still, we were the only guests to arrive at the party. There we were, the three of us, sitting along, feeling ridiculous, the time was a quarter to 9:00.
We had earlier planned on only being at the party until 10:00 since we had an early morning the next day. So, you can imagine our disappointment as the night slowly slipped away. All of this added to my anxiety. Finally, people started trickling in. Kisses on the cheek were given as a greeting of hello. Then the music began. It was so loud that the only thing we could do at the party was dance. I felt 4,000 miles from home.
Written by Deborah