Sunday, October 5, 2008
My limit is about eight weeks. That's when the phenomenon of culture shock sets in and I notice changes in my personality. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in a foreign culture knows the feeling; you become short tempered, easily irritated by the "foreign-ness" around you, some may become vindictive or even lean toward outright racism. It's not a pleasant feeling but one of reality that many including myself often have to deal with.
I'm always amused by the tourists of the world who show up, take some pictures, have a ethnic meal or two, and begin to rave about how sweet and kind the local people are. "Why can't we all be so kind, loving, and helpful?" Yea? Spend eight weeks living among your kind and loving new friends and we'll see what you think then! I guarantee that you'll be restraining yourself daily from violence.
If forced to remain in the culture this "shock" eventually dissipates and is replaced by acceptance. That is if you're not in a local jail for running over a little old lady with an SUV.