I read a post yesterday from a young woman currently living in Uganda. She writes about normality and living abroad from her perspective as a foreigner.
I began thinking about my time abroad and what I have used to gauge ‘normalcy’. I realized that I have been using American culture, more specifically how I grew up, as a yard stick to measure my experiences against. It is done subconsciously and not intended to be prideful or assuming America is the greatest, though I think some may intend to send that message. What was around me became my own normal and what was familiar to me.
Reading her words as another American living abroad, finding comfort in small ‘normal’ things like finding cheddar Goldfish at the corner mart or eating a raw salad (they’re hard to find, trust me), I realize that what is familiar to me is not the scale that other cultures and differences should be measured against. If so, then we are missing out on some incredible parts of other cultures. For instance, why are coconut carts not a thing back in Texas!? Besides that fact that the climate may not be ideal. Just imagine a person pulling a cart full of fresh coconuts (an a small machete) just ready to be enjoyed.
Tomorrow morning you wake up and at the same time there is someone in the world living a different life than you own but seemingly ‘normal’ to them. Who’s life is normal?
Forget normality and enjoy the differences… I’m sure we can each learn something new.