I’ve been to a lot of places in my life. As a kid, I traveled all over the United States with Mom and Dad. I’ve been to Mexico twice on Youth Group mission trips and over to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Germany, and Austria with Mom on her travels.
You’d think I would have experienced culture shock in any of these settings. Of course, it was funny to learn that “pants” means underwear in Ireland and that Germany has so many one-way streets that it’s hard to get anywhere on time in a car. But I did not experience real culture shock in these places. It was closer to culture novelty—a strange one-off happening—because I wasn’t going to stay very long.
I first experienced culture shock in Seattle. At the end of 2007 I moved from Los Angeles to the perpetually overcast city where rain comes in about ten more varieties than you might have thought possible. There I felt each difference, no matter how superficial, to my core. This, after all, was where I was going to live for a really long time.