Let's Talk About . . . Culture as a Whole!
It's going to come as quite a shock to you all, but I'm not Chinese. Though I liked to hunker down at a good all-you-can-eat buffet every Thursday with the boys, I'm still not Chinese. I never got the hang of Chinese checkers and didn't quite understand the thrill of a Chinese fire drill. I'm not Chinese.
I didn't grow up in China. I grew up in the States. In Texas. Texas and American culture are what I know. Chinese culture is what I'm learning like a clumsy toddler.
Saturday, the fam and I took a trip to Shanghai Disney and it was an excellent time. We saw the things we recognized and experienced plenty that we didn't. But have you ever watched those TV shows where people are whisked away to an alternate dimension where there are elements of that world that are recognizable, yet everything seems to have a strange twist? That's what the Hollands experienced at the Shanghai House of Laushu (it doesn't roll off the tongue, huh?). Captain Jack Sparrow greeted us with a rum slurred Chinese welcome. The lyrics of Tarzan were jungle yodeled in a language I didn't know. And that was just the language.
I find I struggle the most with cultural norms that aren't my cultural norms. The crowding, the pushing, the slipping between between people where space literally doesn't exist. My introvert alarms were going off at light speed. I didn't want to be flip-flappin' touched anymore. Or watched. Yes, watched. Standing in line, we would look one way and see ten pairs of curious eyes watching us. In the other direction, twenty. We're an oddity. People would come up and ask the boys if they could take their pictures with them. It was a strange level of celebrity for them and they made a game of it. And those were just the people we took pictures with. Every once in a while, we would see people taking pictures of them or filming from a distance. I walked next to two teenage girls and happened to see that they had filmed Harrison doing something in the Marvel Universe area.
I could go on and on about encountering cultural oddities, but the bottom line is I'm the oddity. A part of me wants to get frustrated and miffed, but thankfully a currently cooler head prevails and I remember that it's me that is strange to the culture, not the other way around. The culture is doing what it's been doing forever. I hopped off the plane two and a half weeks ago. This culture is beautiful.
Now, all that being said, this place is crazy to me. In future Let's Talk About... posts, I'll be hitting the stuff that's slapping me across the face or making me question reality.
It's a ride.