Monday, January 21, 2008

Reverse culture shock

In moving to Canada, I found it hard to distinguish between true culture shock and the usual sort of adjustments required by moving between different urban areas.

Now I'm dealing with this in reverse. Some of the little things are definitely the result of being in a new environment, town instead of city, house instead of condo. We're driving more because there's much less public transportation, retraining ourselves to put the garbage out on the proper day instead of dropping it down the chute.

But I've also experienced a few funny, little stutters in everyday activities.

When receiving change, I have a tendency to slip my wallet back into my pocket if I'm owed less than five dollars. In Canada, that would come back to me entirely in coin form; in the US, however, I find myself collecting singles. So now I'm fattening up my wallet instead of weighing down my pocket.

Whenever I fill the gas tank, I experience a moment of shock and panic. At almost $3 a gallon, the first bit of math that springs to mind is 40 liters--that's some scary multiplication. Then I find myself doing the opposite conversion from before; I'll only be pumping about 10 gallons, so the cost is only 25% of my initial calculation.

So far, the math's working out in my favor and the stutters are not even stumbles. But I am amused to be experiencing culture shock in my native country that is truly US culture shock and not just a function of the new location.


Aliki2006 said...

I think it's the little things that can really bring the culture shock home to us, more than the big ones, don't you think?

Mouse said...

Especially with Canada and the US when there are a lot of things that leak over the border (both ways), it is the little things that cause the double takes and make me feel just the slightest bit off balance.

motherbumper said...

I'm always amazed how foreign it feels when we go to visit relatives in the States - any other country I expect culture shock, but not in the US. But it is a different country and it's the little things that sock that one home.