Let me begin this post by saying that I am not, in any real way, experiencing culture shock. However, a friend of mine is studying abroad in Paris this semester (after studying abroad in Madagascar) and I was reading her blog post on culture shock. Except…she’s not experiencing culture shock either…let me explain.
After being in Madagascar, and experiencing culture shock basically every minute of every day, she came back to the states for about a month and experienced a wicked bout of reverse culture shock after which she has traveled to Paris and feels like she’s experiencing..well…nothing.
She said at one point that she was speaking with a French person about the differences between French and American culture and couldn’t really think of many.
I know I’m in Denmark, not France, and I’ve never experienced anything particularly exotic, but I still beg to differ. I notice a few dozen little differences every day, and while it’s not culture shock it’s sort of like…culture…tingling.
I’ve noticed that people don’t eat “lunch” here. They eat “middagsmad” or “eftermiddagsmad” which means “noon food” or “afternoon food.” And while this may seem like the same thing, it’s generally a lot lighter than our lunches.
I’ve noticed that people use prams a lot more than strollers. (Might I insert here that it’s getting very difficult not to rave about how wonderful everything is here instead of merely remarking on a few small daily differences I’ve noticed.)
People here ride their bikes and walk places, and normal people take the busses, not just people who have lost their licenses to too many DUIs.
One word: Roundabouts. (by the way, I love that “roundabout” is, in fact, one word.)
These are just little things that don’t really seem to make a difference, but to me, it just adds to the atmosphere, and I really feel like I’m in Denmark, not America. In time, I think that the novelty will wear off and they will just be everyday life, but I hope I can put myself in a mindset to consciously remember how much I like this place, as life becomes more “everyday.”