CHARLOTTE – Adjustments and challenges in the homeland

Adjustments and challenges in the homelandI’ve been back in the States for about two weeks now. This past week I surprised myself when I actually realized I was experiencing some re-entry culture shock. Some of my experiences were favorable while others were not.I have been reminded of how life can be very civilized and orderly and how citizens follow the rules and obey the authorities. Don’t misunderstand me — Turkey is in some ways more Western than its neighboring countries. However, it is still very Middle Eastern when it comes to the mindset and behavior of the majority of its population. Turks will tell you rules are made to be broken. Most would agree it is not wrong to break them unless you are caught.I must admit I slipped back into Turkish behavior and wanted to park my car on the curb for just a few minutes to walk over and use the ATM machine even though parking was not allowed on the street. But I restrained myself and drove around the block and found a place to park. This response of wanting to park along the curb was my first experience of reverse culture shock. It caught me off guard.Most people do not anticipate feeling like a foreigner once they come back home. It makes sense, though, if you stop and think about it, because if you make any cultural adjustments while abroad, you will have to readjust once you are back. In case you are not familiar with the term re-entry culture shock, it is basically reverse culture shock and basically very similar to culture shock except that it is in reverse. In other words, it happens when a person re-enters his home environment and must make adjustments to reacquaint themselves with the surroundings.Another difference for me being home in the United States is going to a shopping center. The other evening the experience took me by surprise. I had forgotten what it felt like to walk into a shopping center and not have to pass through security just to go shopping. Let me explain briefly that in Turkey it is not unusual for a shopping center to have security guards at the entrance to check you as you pass through a metal detector and to have a feel around in your handbag when you enter the building. This is because some bomb threats targeted shopping malls in the past. Mind you, with the number of shootings that have occurred in schools, shopping centers and cinemas in the US, it might not be a bad idea to actually have security checks. But I don’t think that is going to happen.While in the States, conversations and listening to talk shows on television and radio have been enlightening. It seems the average person is dissatisfied with the present state of things and is concerned for the future. Some of the opinions being expressed have to do with disappointment with the economy, individuals’ rights being threatened and vocal racist remarks. These are concerns in Turkey, too.In the US many believe it is their right to bear arms and people fear that their freedom of speech and their privacy have been invaded. People joke about checking for recording devices. Racist remarks are harming public trust and negatively affecting racial harmony. With regards to the latter, I am referring particularly to the misaentures of Nevada rancher Clive Bundy and Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, both of them have been prominent in American news this past week.In the web article “5 Must-Read Life Lessons from Gandhi” (Nov. 14, 2010) by Mr.SelfDevelopment, readers are reminded that Mohandas Gandhi was the pre-eminent ideological and political leader of India during the Indian independence movement. Gandhi promoted a philosophy based on complete non-violence. The web article explains that “after assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women’s rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end ‘untouchability,’ and increase economic self-reliance.” It is believed that Gandhi had said:“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”Gandhi believed your beliefs will create your destiny.Just a couple of points in closing: The first is if you find yourself struggling with re-entry when you are from one place and visit or live in another, try to enjoy the best of both worlds. The second is to think twice before speaking because your thoughts and mouth express your own beliefs and can affect everyone’s future — for better or worse.

SOURCE: Todays Zaman

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