10 Most Memorable Moments of Culture Shock

10. Trying to walk through the most crowded market in Santa Cruz, Bolivia pushing a deluxe, much-too-large stroller while corralling a three-year-old and a two-year-old and negotiating prices in the first first week of learning Spanish. It had rained the night before. In the three hour trek I managed to buy two pillows and three sets of sheets.

9. Hiring a maid to help with cooking, cleaning, kid care and language practice only to come home after a meeting to find she had rearranged all the furniture in our home because she liked it better that way.

8. Running down stairs upon hearing screams of, “Die! Die! Die!” only to find the Bolivian gal who was staying in our home in the kitchen with a dish rag trying to smash the invasion of an army of ants each the size of my head while dancing around in an attempt to not touch the nastiness.

7. Purchasing eight pounds of cheese from the guy at the deli counter when I only wanted a quarter kilo and then crying in the supermarket because I didn’t have enough money to buy much else than that cheese and I didn’t know how to make it right. This also took place during the beginning stages of language learning. You tell me, ‘cuarto’ and cuatro’… not very different, right? VERY different.

6. Being asked to speak at a church in a rural city and wanting to connect with the pastor’s wife during some down time by going shopping. I heard the market in this city had great prices on clothes. I stopped in one of the stalls and saw some jeans I liked. I stepped behind the sheet rigged up in the corner with some clothes pins as a changing room. I came out with the new jeans on and asked the pastor’s wife if they looked alright. She said, “I wouldn’t know, I am not allowed to wear pants.” All the while smiling at me and trying to be polite.

5. Seeing a BMW rolling shiny down the road alongside two junior high aged boys clicking a horse pulling a platform as they collect trash.

4. Delivering my child in a hospital that looked like a relic from the 50’s. Caesarean.

3. Paperwork ad infinitum.

2. During our adoption being told that compassion is bad and love it good. “Compassion is pity and leads you to mistreat people. Love is good and leads you to choose to be an adoptive parent because you want to be a parent.”

1. Husband coming back from the snack stand during the middle of the movie empty handed. They told him they couldn’t sell him the popcorn because the people from the movie that would be starting soon would need to buy it. “So you aren’t going to sell me the popcorn?” he says. “No,” they say.

 

*** Next list: 10 Answered Prayers ***

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