Saturday, April 21, 2018

S - Separate

Living on the other side of the world has its difficulties, but a person can grow accustomed to almost anything. After a while, it just becomes your life. However, things happen now and then to remind you that you are very far away. My grandmother died earlier this month and there was no way I could get home. It was alright. I didn't need to go home, but it made me reflect on how difficult it would be if I needed to make a last minute trip.

If one of my kids (now adults) got grievously injured, how quickly could I get there?

I warned both my kids when I left the country that if either of them ever decides to get married, they better give me sufficient notice. That's not something I would want to miss.

In addition to important family events, there are all the small things that we just miss out on:
  • The latest thing Trump said or did
  • Major news events (school shootings, political scandals, celebrity gossip, etc)
  • Newest hit TV shows or movies
  • The latest book everyone is reading
Not being up-to-date on these things is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I don't even miss it or realize that I've missed something significant. It's not until I'm talking from someone back home and they'll start to mention the new law that went into effect that has everyone up in arms and I have no idea what they are talking about.

Last month, my brother mentioned a piece of new information that had come about concerning one of the mass shootings and I wasn't even aware that it had happened.

When I first got here, I made a point to keep up with the news, but to really know what is going on when you aren't constantly being bombarded with it all the time by television, radio, internet, and work conversations, it's a real chore to keep up with. Plus, I had this entirely new culture that I needed to start learning about and figuring out. It didn't take long before I started paying attention to the news over here because there were things that were much more pertinent to my current situation.

Unless it's your job, it's very difficult to be up on what is going on all over the world all the time. Years ago, a group of us had gone out to eat after a late-night work meeting and we were all sitting around joking when one of the group said something that caused us all to roar with laughter. Except for one guy.

He had a big smile on his face, but said: "I don't get it."

Now, I don't remember the joke specifically, but it made a vague reference to the Wizard of Oz. This is a movie that is so ingrained in our culture, that any reference to flying monkeys, a house falling on a witch, the Yellow Brick Road, ruby slippers, or Munchkins should be immediately understood. The problem with this man understanding the joke was that he was from Turkey and had only lived in the States for about six years. This movie was not part of his cultural heritage and no amount of explaining what had just been said would help him to see why it was funny.

Similar situations happen in our house now and then. I married a woman who spent a lot of years overseas as a kid. In fact, a large portion of the 80's (my decade), she was absent for. Much of the music, movies and major news events of that time that people my age all have vivid memories of, she never experienced. And, now and then, a conversation will happen which showcases that hole in her American cultural experience.

One day, we will be back in the States. I have no idea how far in the future that day will be, but I do know that we will be quite ignorant of everything that has happened in America from 2016 up to that day. If we end living near you, please be understanding when you mention the latest episode of that great show you love and we just stare at you blankly. Not only have we not watched it, but we may not even know what you're talking about.


  1. With so much media, it is hard to keep up with all the shows and movies. With current events or Trump to be more precise, we hear a huge blunder or scandal. That gets discussed and examined and analyzed until Thank God, another bombshell. Well what we thought would be a bombshell. But the media makes it seem like a bombshell but it's not.
    Be glad you aren't in the states. We are all crackers about politics. Each side thinks the other is an absolute idiot.

    1. Yeah. Even when I was in the States, I avoided politics on my Facebook page because it never ends well. I definitely has my opinions, but sharing them were just never worth it.

  2. It's interesting being in China and seeing that, this country, too, is so big that many Chinese never cross the borders into another country or culture. And the volume of pop culture and entertainment news here is surely equal to that in the US! Political opinion perhaps not so much.

    1. Oh, yeah. There is plenty of pop culture here, but I have no familiarity to attach it to. I haven't taken the time to get caught up in the entertainment culture of China.


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