Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Culture Shock in America..... What!?

Nate and I love that feeling of just stepping off the plane to be back home again. After being gone for almost a whole YEAR, we were overjoyed to be able to be with friends and family around Christmas. The interesting thing after being gone for a year is that you have a different look on life in America. Little things that used to be "normal" to us became a bit of a shock. It's a little hard to explain, but here is a list of some things that 'shocked' us while being home...

-Everything is in English! (You're probably thinking, duh, but this was SO nice!)
-More things, like signs and labels, are now also written in Spanish
-Everyone was speaking English (Another duh, but it was also oh, so nice)
-The majority of people are extremely friendly everywhere you go
-Grocery stores are massive
-Wal-Mart is overwhelming

-We still love Target
-Everything seemed so inexpensive (compared to Europe's prices)
-A Chick-fil-A sandwich, Bojangles biscuit, and sweet tea taste even better than we remembered

-We have missed free refills, ice, free ketchup, and unlimited napkins!
-Portion sizes at restaurants are too big
-Toilets are much lower than in Switzerland (weird, but true)
-Raleigh seemed so spread out after living in such a condensed city
-We spent too much time in the car
-Everyone's houses felt HUGE
-Most Americans (including us) have too much stuff
-Life is more comfortable... sometimes a little too comfortable... and at the same time, too busy

After being away from American culture for awhile, it's easier for Nate and I see how our lives now compare to before. We realized that it was harder to evaluate our lifestyles when we lived in the same place with the same routine. And we are thankful that we have had the opportunity to see that sometimes we lived a life that was a little too comfortable and complacent. We love Raleigh so much because it is our home, but when we come back we hope to take things that we've learned back with us... like:

-Spend more time with family and friends
-Spend more time outside
-Watch less TV
-Don't take everything in life so seriously
-Practice more faith in God
-Eat more ice cream (in moderation of course!)
-Exercise more (since we'll be eating more ice cream)
-Challenge ourselves more... learn new things, read more books
-Travel more in the States
-Take more trips to the beach and mountains (since they're so close!)
-Be more involved in church and outreach to the community

The list could go on, but these are just a few things that we have learned and I challenge you to do these things too!!

Sorry there are no pictures, but I promise to put up a post of pictures and stories from our time at home soon!