Confrontation of Culture Everyone is shaped by their own culture whether they know about it or not. Our very thoughts and actions are dependent on our culture. These thoughts and actions are so ingrained that we don’t even think about them until we are confronted with another culture and another way of doing things. Culture is not confined to an eve or a celebration. It is something which is a way or pattern people of particular region and religion follow. I could strongly say this from my own experience. It’s been 3 years I came to United States of America from an Asian country, India.
A secular country with different religions, traditions and diversified cultures. Getting used to different culture of a country after 25 long years of life in native country is not that easy. I prepared mentally in advance before coming here, about American culture a little bit through some books and movies. But in practical life was not that easy for me. The day I landed here, it was very exciting as it was my dream to come to United States of America. My husband is here in this country since 1997. He is a software engineer by profession.
I used to feel alone initially when I came here. He leaves to work at 8. 00 A. M in the morning and comes back by 6. 00 P. M in the evening. I couldn’t go out anywhere as driving was a problem for me, although I was driving in India for 10 years. The rules and regulations were entirely different in India. We drive on left side of the road and here it is on to the right side. It was amazing to see the sense of driving people have in this country. People strictly bind to the traffic rules and follow them strictly. I started preparation for driver’s license test after couple of months.
Finally I succeeded in obtaining the license, which resulted in buying a used car for me by my husband. Verbal communication plays a vital role in this country, which I was unaware. Somehow back in India, we are poor in that. We are used to head wobble for ‘Yes’ than saying ‘Yes’ or “aha’ for acknowledgment. I started driving to near by malls and stores on my own. A funny incident happened when I went to a nearby grocery store. I finished my shopping and was in the checkout. The lady serving me was helping me in putting groceries into bags. She asked me if I wanted a bag for milk can too.
I nodded my head upside and down, which she didn’t understand. She repeated the question and gave me the options of ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Then I understood that I am supposed to say ‘Yes’ and the importance of verbal communication. I hardly found any neighbors whom I could interact with. If at all any, they were just confined to wish ‘Good Morning’ or a ‘Hello’. There was nothing more than that as most of them leave their homes in the morning and comeback in the evening except on the weekends. In India the relation with the neighbors is just like family members.
They can come and go anytime, especially if you are living in an apartment or a colony (called ‘community’ here). They share your moments whether happy or sad and stand by you when u need any help. One day, the sink in my kitchen was dripping water and I gave a call to my apartments leasing office. After 30 or 40 minutes, the maintenance guy came and knocked on my door. I opened the door and asked him to get inside. I was shocked to see him walking with his shoes inside the house. I couldn’t accept that in mind because in India it is a cultural offense.
We are always supposed to leave shoe or any footwear outside the door. There were many situations encountered over the past 3 years. I kept on learning each and everyday from something or someone. I think a person can learn more by interacting with others and facing the situations rather than going through set of rules or do’s and don’ts. As I said everybody is shaped by their own culture, it reflects in our day to day life and its style. I am still in the journey of learning the culture of this country. All I believe is, one should respect the culture of everyone.