Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reverse culture shock, so far

Here I am, back in the US for most of Christmas break. I know this time will be good to give me some perspective on my time/ministry thus far in Ukraine, and also to recharge and take a break. At the same time, I am reminded of little details from everyday life that I have forgotten. Here are some little things so far:

*There is no time difference between my family and I, but a 7 hour difference between my friends in Kiev and I.

*I understand everything that is spoken around me. It's nice to have the comprehension, but not when it includes swear words. I got used to not hearing swear words except on the TV shows I'd watch.

*When I text on my Ukraine phone, I've accidentally sent messages sooner than I wanted, or typed the wrong words...thinking it was still like my US phone. Now that I've mostly gotten the hang of my Ukraine phone, and the prediction mode, I am trying to text on my US phone while applying the "rules" of my Ukraine phone. I type things like "hi0there" instead of "hi there", or switch between lowercase and uppercase instead of choosing the next predicted word.

*No adapter is needed for my computer charger.

*Tap water is drinkable!

*I tried to hug my dad's dishwasher, and he said, "No, you may not take that back with you!"

*It wasn't until I finally made it back to my house that I tried to flush the toilet as though I was in Ukraine (pressing the button on top instead of using the handle).

*The light switches in my house are lower than the ones in my apartment/classroom. I keep hitting the thermostat instead of the light switch.

*I've enjoyed listening to 860AM because occasionally it is in Russian (sometimes French, sometimes Spanish too).

*Not everyone wants to hear all my stories from Ukraine. Last night, I could think of a story that somewhat related to anything anyone said--I kept myself from telling every story that came to mind.

*People dress so much more casually here when they go out in public than in Ukraine.

*I feel like I've outgrown this place.

*One day a woman waved at me from inside her car. I didn't know her, and was confused, wondering why this stranger was waving and smiling at me. Then I realized I was in a small town on the Eastern Shore, and everyone waves to each other or says hi in passing. I've conditioned myself not to smile at strangers.

*It'd be nice to have a sign that I could wear that would answer people's most basic questions without me having to repeat the answers multiple times.

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