Reverse Culture Shock!

Black people aren’t staring at me.  In rural Angola, white people are pretty rare.  They don’t have a TV to see what other people in the world look like.  I was so accustomed to being curiously stared at, that I was surprised (delightfully) that I was not the center of attention of the black folk upon arrival in the US!  They in fact, were probably wondering why I was looking at them smiling.  I was secretly wanting to wish them a Bon Dia (good day)!


Chubby kids.  Oh ya!  Kids here tend to be very well fed.  I saw a few little chunkers running around the airport upon my arrival. What a stark contrast from our little guy in the hospital who was one year old yet weighed less than a newborn.


Easy communication.  Oh how nice it is to ask the person next to you something, and they speak your language!  I had forgotten this luxury after always having to ask a Kubacki to translate what someone had said, or to tell someone something for me since I don’t speak Portuguese!  Mental note: learn Portuguese way better for next time.


I should probably change clothes.  So its not okay that I wear this outfit 4 days in a row?  That sure was pretty nice, not much laundry or decision-making.  Even 4 days was short for the Angolans!  Our patient with heart failure, Rosaria, wore her “One Love” t-shirt for at least 2 weeks straight.


Ohio is green!  When I left for Africa, we had gotten snow earlier that week in Ohio.  To come home to green grass and buds on the trees was great.  Just like every Ohio winter, I was at the point of feeling like winter would never end.


Green Ohio


There is a lot of money here.  Shiny cars jammed on the interstate.  Rows and rows of 2 story houses and attached garages. Airplanes constantly flying overhead.  Fancy clothes, stilettos, laptops, jewelry, restaurants, paved roads…  I am taken back to the moment I asked one of the Mukwandans his impression of the United States, due to an overt reaction after stating I was from the US.  He smiled, and said “Easy living.”


Browns fans are still crazy.  On my last flight to Akron-Canton airport, as we landed and were able to turn our cell phones back on, someone’s ringtone blasted: “Whoooo let the dogs out!”  There is no football in Angola, well actually, there IS football, but it is what we know as soccer.  The very intelligent Meredith Kubacki suggested that we should call American foot-ball “hand-egg” because that would make more sense.  I totally agree!


Back to the To-Do List.  Back to being task-oriented.  It was so nice to have a month to spend more time in thought and less time in getting things done.  I am having to very consciously take time to meditate, taking time to make things go from head to heart- a huge theme of my month.


Caught between worlds.  Sometimes I question if what I’m doing is what I’d be doing if I were in Africa.  Do I really need to buy that dress?  Should I really invest in ANOTHER electronic, a tablet, for residency?  Angolans are living with a whole lot less. Also, I’ve found I like to carry stuff on my head while I shop now.


My friend Mere shopping at Target post-third-world countries (she was in India!)
My friend Mere.  This is how we shop post-third-world countries (she was in India!)

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