Crowded in Corridors of Cornfields: Reverse Culture Shock

Crowded in Corridors of Cornfields: Reverse Culture Shock

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Cornfields buried under snow on a record-breaking cold day: the low was -14, and at the time I took this picture, it was hovering around 0.

The first Facebook post I wrote when I returned home was this:

Thursday, I was up for 24 hours straight, only able to sleep for half an hour on the trans-Atlantic flight from Dublin to Dulles. Landing in Indy didn’t seem real. Yesterday, I opened (or tossed) 51 pieces of mail, used a hair dryer for the first time in nearly 16 months, and went to the final High School home football game. I’ve got a list going of things I haven’t seen in over a year, and there are American words that I’ve forgotten. I don’t think I have an accent, but I did say “Sweet as!” this morning in reply to something about breakfast. I went to the grocery store with Dad and found candy corn, marshmallows, Twizzlers and peach rings. We also found a sign that said “Kiwi’s,” but sadly there were none around. There was only kiwifruit. Now I’m eating a Bridge Fest buried beef sandwich. The leaves are changing, the colt is bigger than I remember him to be, and man is it good to be home.

I didn’t know it then, but those experiences when I first arrived home were some of my first incidents of reverse culture shock. Continue reading “Crowded in Corridors of Cornfields: Reverse Culture Shock”

Chooks in Dear Jumpers and Gumboots…What?

A serious dilemma I faced when I moved down to Christchurch was deciding whether or not it was acceptable to wear gumboots to the store and leave them off at the door, walking around in my thick wool gumboot socks as I did my shopping.

That was the small town norm in the middle of dairy farming country. I would run to Four Square, the small and pricey grocery store (called supermarket here) where I could pick up items I needed in the middle of the week. The store also contained the local post office (known as a post shop in NZ), so I would send letters and packages home from there, as well. Boot jacks resided next to the building’s sliding doors so that farmers and farm staff members could go directly to town after work without changing shoes. I’d remove my coveralls and waterproof bibs and jacket before leaving the farm, setting them on the floor behind my driver’s seat. Before entering the store, I’d slip off my boots and leave them on the sidewalk. I’d straighten my socks and walk carefully once inside the store so I didn’t slip. It was rather comfortable. I followed the same procedure at the fueling station when I went inside to pay for my purchases. Continue reading “Chooks in Dear Jumpers and Gumboots…What?”