Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Reverse culture shock...

To be honest, this is the first time I have not felt like I was going through reverse culture shock on returning to the developed world. Yay. I even survived shopping downtown for all of 2 hours the day after I arrived here! It’s been different in the past. Somehow it seems easier to adjust this time of year, rather than around Christmas time with the craze and materialism that goes along with the season. Needless to say however, the differences are obvious. Here are a few observations I have made/things I’ve experienced over the past 6 days to illustrate the differences…

- Seeing fields of green grass as the plane approaches the landing strip in Brussels.
- Being able to drink a tall cold glass of real milk.
- The language; no Krio and lots of Dutch, fortunately the transition has been easy.
- It’s cold & wet rather than hot & humid. I even saw a few small piles of snow the day I arrived.
- There are street lights and they work.
- And wait, are those traffic lights?
- Happy that I realized I can charge my phone at any time here. Yay for 24 hour power.
- Thinking oh no I drank tap water, oh wait, that is okay here.
- Sophisticated infrastructure. Holland is known for its special bike paths- small mini roads with miniature traffic lights especially for the biking traffic; cute and convenient.
- A shower that I can actually wash my hair in standing up. Thank God for great water pressure.
- There are a lot of white kids here! And yay, they’re not all showing up to see me!
- And there are many elderly people. I never really thought about it much before, but feel it’s almost bizarre to see so many people over the age of 60. Obviously a much higher life expectancy here.
- No sky high walls with razor wire on top; I can actually see the neighborhood.
- And I can walk around, on my own, morning afternoon evening and night if I please.
- What is that orange thing in the fruit basket? Oh, an orange! They’re not green here?
- One of the roads under construction here (now looks like a dirt road), looks better than most roads in Freetown.
- I rode a bike again, after 8 months of not riding.


I’m sure there are many more differences but this gives you an idea. I haven’t even touched issues such as health care (the fact that there were only 3 people in the waiting room at the doctor’s office when I was there at 1115 yesterday morning), abundance of schools, housing, etc. I can only imagine what it must be like for native Africans to make a trip across to Europe for the first time. Talk about culture shock.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

He Sandra,

mooi dat je hier in NL bent. Voor hoe lang? Bel je een keertje, als het lukt komen we voor thee. GSM nummers in separaat mailtje.

Liefs,

Bastiaan en Annekoos

Marianne said...

Hey Sanne
Miss you around here but thankful that you have a break, you deserve and need it!
Love
mama

~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~