Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Few Thoughts and Questions

  • The most surprising thing about culture shock is that cultural differences affect me more now than they did five years ago. 
  • Was D.A.R.E. really as effective in lowering the number of smokers in America as it seems? The sign in the cafe I'm sitting in says : 'pušači umiru mlađi' - 'smokers die younger'. Yet, I can't imagine smoking being any more hip than it is in Croatian cafes today. 
  • Which is more virtuous; the wisdom of saving money or the generosity of spending it on others? I've found it harder and harder to save when people who are less privileged give so generously while having not a lipa in savings. 
  • I think the farmers who were blocking various Croatian main roads and highway entrances with their tractors were smart. Annoying, but smart. In some ways they got what they wanted - an increase in the price of milk. Now they're headed back to their farms. 
  • Speaking of smart, I continue to be impressed with the Croatian education system.  Most of the Croats I've met who have finished gimnazia (high school) know English grammar and American history as well as I do while also knowing German and Latin, and having a greater wealth of knowledge in philosophy and art history (among other things) than I do as an American college graduate. I know America is isolated but shouldn't we, as global citizens, have a better grasp on basic world geography? Shouldn't we be learning another language earlier in our educational experience? Sure, there's value in creative thinking, but memorization has its merits too.
  • I think the reason why the first point is true is because it's easier to be foreign than to adapt - at the beginning. Once you start changing though, you feel tugs from both sides. At least that's been my experience.

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