Thursday, July 23, 2009

What I Learned in America

For some reason culture shock has hit me harder the longer I experience it. Not that it gets any more difficult, but for some reason the differences between Croatia and America seem even more pronounced now than they used to. So with my latest trip to America a few days behind me, here are some things (related and unrelated to culture shock) that I noticed. In no particular order:

1. How much I love my wife and son. Does distance make the heart grow fonder? In our case yes!

2. How much I will miss my parents and newly-married brother. Spending time with them was more valuable than I imagined - especially now that we probably won't be back for another year-and-a-half.

3. How big Americans are. One article I read said that 26% of Americans are obese...that's more than Croatia.

4. How convenient many things are in America. Need directions? Mapquest. Want a book? has a wide selection and delivers quickly. Coffee and WIFI? Dunkin Donuts, Brueggers, the local coffee shop, or my parent's house -which leads to number 5:

5. How much choice there is in America. I'm getting worse and worse at decision making because of having less choice in Croatia. Maybe that's a good thing.

6. My propensity to overindulge in baseball. Sure I was only there for 2 weeks so I took as much as I could in, but man, I think I might be addicted.

7. How amazing the miracle of life is. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to see Josiah. He and his parents have been heroes in how they've dealt with his heart condition.

8. How I feel increasingly like a foreigner in America. Can't put my finger on this one.

9. How inexpensive clothes are in America. Enoh's set for the next year because of Carter's amazing sales and my parent's generosity.

10. God's constant sovereignty. Not that I'm always conscious of it. Or even like it. But God has revealed his sovereignty in mighty ways throughout the last few weeks.


Laci and Keri NĂ©meth said...

awesome report...

welcome back to the Heartland.

Elaine Ritchel said...

Hello Jeremy! I was just browsing expat blogs in Croatia, since I've recently begun writing about my experiences living in/relocating to Zagreb. I just had to comment here because 4, 5, and 9 have been the most difficult transitions for me. Don't get me wrong–I absolutely love Zagreb. But sometimes I just want to walk into the grocery store and be able to pick up some good tortilla chips or an avocado, you know? And I really miss being able find and purchase anything I could ever imagine with the click of a mouse or a quick trip to Target. Sigh.

I'm looking forward to reading more!

Jeremy said...

Thanks for stopping by Elaine. The relative lack of convenience and choice are still some of the things most difficult for me to adjust to. Target is #1 on my wife's list.

I thoroughly enjoy your blog. The story about the title of your blog is so typically Eastern European!

Keep writing!

Elaine Ritchel said...

Thank you! This whole blogging about my life thing is fairly new to me, so I really appreciate the encouragement.

I'm about to scour your archives for visa experiences, so prepare for more comments... :)