Note: I knew that once I visited the US, after two years in India I would look at things differently. I haven’t felt any real culture shock yet, but I do see many differences. These are some of my observations which I will continue throughout my stay for five weeks.
I’ve been back in the US for about 48 hours now. There are so many differences between my life in my beloved India and my life in the US. After a wonderful walk today, seeing no garbage or cows, hardly any people, only a few cars, blue sky and little noise, I went straight for the hose in my parent’s front yard. I didn’t give the purity of the water a second thought, just drank. I would never do this in India. Before making a lunch of veggies I didn’t even think about washing them, although I probably should. In India I wash my veggies and fruit with some purple stuff, can’t think of the substance right now, to ensure that they are ready to be eaten. (A friend in India told me to do this).
The contrasts abound for me and I am super sensitive to the differences. As I showed my parents some videos of India they immediately heard the traffic noise. On some level I’ve become used to the noise of New Delhi and when I don’t hear it, I find this highly unusual. As my parents live in a retirement community in a somewhat middle to upper middle class area it is very quiet. For people who like blue sky, fewer cars, quiet, lots of trees and flowers, it is not a bad life. Although, it may also be the same from one day to the next. My life in New Delhi is never the same and I never know what I will see or who I will speak with or what opportunities will be present. My camera is a constant companion.
Everything seems to be neat and tidy in the world that I’m in at the moment. It is a different way of living. It’s not that I don’t like the fact that there is no garbage on the streets as I’m constantly telling New Delhites to pick up their garbage, but it is different, another way of living life. There are hardly any smells here, so very different from the streets of New Delhi. It is difficult for me to see men peeing everywhere in New Delhi or children defecating on the streets because they have no toilets, but it is how people have to live. I try not to step in the rivers of pee and hold my nose but it is part of my life.
The line at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Mission Viejo was so orderly and the “bureaucrats” incredibly efficient. The bathrooms were even neat and clean. Supermarkets are full of items and the shelves are full. It’s hard to understand if one hasn’t traveled in the so called developing parts of the world. It’s so very different.