Person #1: "I wish I were back in China."
Person #2: "Why?"
Person #1: "I don’t know. China is just so unique. It has a very unique culture."
Person #2: "America has a unique culture, too. You just take it for granted because it’s your own culture."
Person #1: "Yeah, right mom. America has a very unique culture!"
(Then hilarious laughter from both of us, because just as I said that, we were driving past a house with about sixteen broken down cars in the front yard, and then moments later — while we were still laughing — we drove past a bar which had a gas pump outside, had a whole bunch of pickup trucks in the parking lot, and was named, "Good Ole’ Boys Bar N Grille". "Very unique culture," indeed!)
Then, person #1 adds: "Your timing couldn’t have been more perfect!"
In the grocery store this evening, I couldn’t find my favorite crackers. It’s the second grocery store I’ve tried to find them, so I guess they’ve been discontinued. In the meantime, there were so many other kinds of crackers that I didn’t know what to pick. Many new brands. Same with my favorite salad dressing. It’s not there anymore. Then I went to the bread aisle. There were so many kinds. I couldn’t remember my favorite brand, and I didn’t know what to pick. I couldn’t even decide among the various grain combinations. And then to the paper towels and the toilet paper … wow, so many choices! I think it was that confusing when I first went to China, but now I know what brands I like and so going to the grocery store in China is somewhat routine. Not so here, anymore. I found myself reading labels but still not really able to figure out what I needed. I didn’t expect a simple trip to the grocery store to be so bewildering!
As bewildering as it may be, at least we speak the language and understand some of the culture. So far, while there is culture shock, it’s far easier than the initial move to China, when we found ourselves in far more bewildering circumstances. It wasn’t just a matter of choosing which bread, it was a matter of finding where to buy food at all, let alone bread, and then where to find bread, and then which kind of bread, all when we didn’t even know how to say the word for "bread". So really, there’s no comparison.