Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chicken or the Egg

Hello again, or for the first time. I'm international but this time is different, isn't every time. I'm in a super modern country making a very livable wage with a community of people who are doing the same and also speak my primary language. Really, it's inherently different than any situation I've been in in the past.
For my first post back after...years...I should probably write about the cultural difference of South Korea and Bulgaria and America or my adjustment to the new country/job/culture or any number of culturally comparative topics. But instead I want to write about people.
A friend recently shared with me that she felt I was more perceptive and a better communicator than most people she has known. The more I thought about this the more I wondered how traveling and living internationally affects perceptiveness and communication style. In thinking back to the myriads of global citizens I've crossed paths with, I wonder: Is there a marked difference in how we perceive what is happening around us, what is said, and what is not compared with those who only live in one country?  What skills and character traits has our international life imparted on us? And most of all, I wonder if it is the choices that have shaped the traits or if the traits were always there and they shaped our choices.


Justin and Marisa said...

Living overseas has definitely shaped and changed me. Communicating with someone who doesn't speak your language and still having patience is something I have learned over and over. My view on things has been drastically shaped and I feel like I am more open-minded, more tolerant, and even more understanding because of this. Of course I also thing some of this comes with age and maturing, but I definitely view people in a new light. I have realized the true meaning of diplomacy. I love learning about your culture and I am excited to share mine with you too. I even adapt some of the new culture into my culture..which I love. I find I appreciate things a lot more. I find the beauty in things that are unfamiliar to me. From working with students from many countries I have learn many cultural norms that I might have not known or fully understood the implements of them until moving overseas. Krista you have caused me to reflect on 4 years in Germany and Hong Kong and an eye-opening 5 month study aboard in Spain. I don't know about you but I read a lot more world news than I ever did before. At my heart I am an adventurous, friendly, and open person and I think living overseas I have been able to see those abilities at work in a totally new light. I relish in the opportunity God has given me to experience his world in this way and I pray that when and if I return to the US that I will be a diplomat for what I have learned and all the blessings I have received from so many unique and wonderful people living overseas. One aspect that I love the most is the food and I know that is kind of small, but living overseas has exposed me to food I would have never tried. I didn't eat Indian food until I was 28..WHAT! Do I think people who don't live overseas can't experience the same thing? No. But I do think it is your mind set. What are you investing your time into and what influence is that having on you? Lots of random thoughts and I am sure I could go on, but on the whole, God has shown me things living overseas within a foreign community that I definitely would not have experienced in the US and I am truly grateful for that.

Claudia Aguilar said...

Mmmm...I think the bets I have to offer is a story: when I moved to Atlanta, I was in "full-awareness" mode. I was scared and excited, so my eyes and ears and taste buds were open 24/7. I noticed injustice surrounded me. I noticed that everyone said hi while I was passing by, but no one said hi to the Mexican workers mowing the grass. I was so mad!
And then I went home. It didn't feel like home because streets had changed, everybody moved on with their lives, and I found myself again in "full-awareness" mode. I went to Tec (my former college) and as I saw the lawn crew it hit me: I had never said hi to those Mexican workers either. No one says hi to them in my beloved Mexico City either. I saw my own sin and hypocrisy and it hurt. I noticed a million other things that I had never noticed before about my own hometown (good and bad).
And since I moved here, it has never been the same: I am always seeing everything, tasting everything, smelling everything, hearing everything. And it is slightly stressful at times, but I think it has made me a better person.

Krista said...

Thank you both! I really love hearing about peoples' international experiences. There is so much to learn and share. More than anything I think living internationally has taught me that there is always more to learn and the best way to learn it is through listening to others and sharing your life.
Marisa... it took you 28 years to try Indian food?!?! That's outrageous. Also, if you and Justin want to visit South Korea while you're in this hemisphere let me know. I'd love to see you! :) And I might plan a trip to HK later in the year, you aren't planning on leaving soon are you?
Clau, isn't it funny how moving to a new country makes us look at ourselves and our interactions in a completely different light.

Justin and Marisa said...

Krista- South Korea is definitely on the list so we will let you know when we come. Also you definitely have a place to stay in Hong Kong if you want to come. Just let us know.