Once when I was overseas, in a country with a near-desert climate, I watched a woman use preciously scarce water to wash a stain off of the sidewalk in front of her house. She poured gallon after gallon of water literally down a storm drain, in spite of the fact that there was a ration for water in town.
That was the day I learned the phrase “it’s not wrong, it’s different.”
If you’ve ever traveled overseas, you’ve likely been told to expect moments like these, where your culture runs into an ideological clash with the culture you are in, and you’d be tempted to declare a “wrong” and a “right.”
I am so thankful for the cross cultural training I got by taking part in international missions. In fact, it has helped me immensely even in interactions with people who come from a different spot than me culturally here in the States.
Have you evaluated what is cultural baggage in your life? Your cultural assumptions are like lenses through which you view the world. And until I was forced to step outside of my cultural context, I never even knew I was looking through lenses. And had it not been for a job that forced me to raise support, and go outside of my comfort zone, I may never have realized that I was wearing “glasses.”
Have you ever had a culture clash moment? Let’s hear about it in the comments!