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Cultural Immersion

Joanne 2007-11-27
After almost a year of traveling Latin American countries, I can proudly say that we have achieved our goal of integrating a new culture into our daily thoughts and experiences.

Having had the opportunity to dive into Latin America we learned firsthand of the cultures likeness to ours and it's contrasting and colorful ways that differ from our North American upbringings. Often these differences challenged the foundation in which our thoughts and actions were born from and opened our eyes to a new reality. A new reality that will undoubtedly help shape us during the continuum of growth throughout our lives.

Photo: Photo taken 2007/11/26 at 18:03 [CIMG3725]
The greatest gift that I have been given from our extended travels so far, is that of a bigger picture in life. I can best describe it as a feeling of centeredness that offers a solid platform for which my perspective may shape and re-shape itself from moment to moment without the limitations set forth by expectations. I am more receptive to new experiences and appreciate them in the now for what they really are rather than what I think they should be.

This, which has forever changed us, was largely in part to learning Spanish. It was abundantly clear to us that over time, the shrinking language barrier gave way to a cultural exchange and in turn deeper self exploration.

It figures, just as we have wrapped our hands around the language with enough proficiency to share and learn about any topic that may present itself, we go ahead and decide to change continents!

Photo: Photo taken 2007/11/26 at 04:52 [CIMG3719]
Photo: Photo taken 2007/11/26 at 18:37 [CIMG3727]
Photo: Photo taken 2007/11/26 at 19:47 [CIMG3737]

So we now find ourselves in Asia, eager to jump into another culture, we immediately place ourselves off the beaten path eating among the locals. I'm not sure if it was the blank look on our faces as we stared at the Mandarin characters on the menu or simply that we were the only non-Asian in the restaurant, but after a few minutes an English speaking Singaporean came to our rescue and helped us order a typical Taiwanese breakfast.

When no such help presents itself we begin an impromptu game of charades. We are also attempting to memorize some characters so that we can recognize a place or know if we are going into the right bathroom (now that would make a great story, wouldn't it?)

Photo: Photo taken 2007/11/26 at 20:00 [CIMG3744]
Photo: Photo taken 2007/11/27 at 03:31 [CIMG3762]
Photo: Photo taken 2007/11/27 at 04:24 [CIMG3770]

Based on our previous experience in Latin America, in order to get the full cultural experience in Asia, it may hinge on our ability to communicate.

It's never easy starting over, but it's also never as exciting.

We found our way once and we shall do it again, even if it feels like the blind leading the blind at times, we are up for the challenge and welcome the unknowns that lay ahead.


Permalink by Sange   |  November 29, 2007 02:26 PM

Nice blog, and I am trying to feel what it must be like to be in both your shoes... like landing on Mars in some instances I am sure with not being able to speak the language nor read it. But then, you guys are so open to adventure and "newness", this will prove to be a very enlightening tale I am sure of it!


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