Culture Shock – for the Loose Bloggers Consortium

I didn’t get culture shock when I first moved to England. I dished it out.

When someone asked how I was or what I was up to – I told them.

When I asked: “How are you?” I stopped and waited for an answer. Weird.

It gets worse. In London, I spoke to strangers on the Underground. Very weird.

You were probably hiding behind a newspaper at this point wondering whether to pull the emergency brake lever or call the transport police.

To be fair – it’s not quite the same where I live now. More time in a village to chat – or maybe it’s because we’re more likely to know each other.

Meanwhile I’ve put this topic out to consultation. Apparently I give my children culture shock. Especially when I say “wee” and “aye.” Hey – I’ve not lost it.

But that’s all fairly tame. Imagine the surprise/shock/horror of mySikh friend when he arrived as a child in London from northern Zambia. Everyone smelled of off milk. Dairy, cheesey, milky breath fuming up every railway carriage.

Can’t say I noticed myself. But his story made me think more about smell.

But don’t listen to me wittering on about Culture Shock – check out some alternative takes on the topic from the other members of the Loose Bloggers Consortium listed on the right hand side of the page.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Culture Shock – for the Loose Bloggers Consortium

  1. My husband had that culture shock the other way round- he came to live in belfast about 16 years ago, and is still baffled from time to time. Not only by me.

    • blackwatertown

      It must take him ages to get anywhere, what with people arresting his progress with inquiries about work, family, children, health, etc…

  2. A lot of things caused culture shock when Jenny and I moved to Belfast. Like the baffling local expressions and how everybody seemed to know everybody else. But in particular the prevalence of religious beliefs. I have to be very careful about disparaging religion, when the chances are the person I’m speaking to is a fervent believer.

    • blackwatertown

      Aye – the religion is a bit of a pain alright.
      I hadn’t realised how male chauvenistic it was too till my then partner who had come over to Belfast pointed it out. Not that there weren’t dynamic women about – just that they had more to put up with than elsewhere.

  3. BWT, when you do make it to India, not only the smell, but the colours, the crowds, the pace, the sheer variety of life around you and the impossible contradictions that stare at you at every turn will give more than just culture shock. Welcome to the club. My 40 year old son still thinks that his dad is weird because, in his words, his dad uses quaint language and archaic mannerisms. That is the price we pay for parenting.

  4. I Dread To Think What Halifax Smells Like To A First Time Visitor……..

  5. Moving to live in Northern Ireland was a major culture shock for me. Even 34 years later, I come across examples on a regular basis that pull me up in my tracks.

    • blackwatertown

      When my partner came to join me in Belfast, she came via the Slieve Bloom mountains south of the border – all very rural, sleepy and friendly. That was her idea of Ireland. Belfast came as a complete contrast. (And not a pleasant one in those days.)

      • It was rather hot back then and you were sure to tell your loved ones how much they meant to you, before they crossed the threshold each morning. I know the area around Slieve Bloom and it is indeed peaceful.

  6. The experience is unique for everyone. No two ways about it!

  7. I experienced culture shock when working in a small village in Vietnam. Actually, it happened when I left the village to spend a weekend in a larger town. I was so used to being the only Caucasian in my village that I enthusiastically bounded up to the first few non Asians I encountered, introduced myself and asked them a squillion questions about what they were doing there. Then I realised there were Europeans everywhere – most of them looking at me as if I was barking mad. I’d completely forgotten that Vietnam is actually a pretty cool holiday destination…..

    • blackwatertown

      That’s quite funny. You must have come across as pretty manic. Like some modern variation of Robinson Crusoe, stranded in a sea of foreignness rather than water.

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