Monday, December 19, 2011

Culture Adaptation

When should a person adapt and become part of a new culture? I'm not really talking about a country's culture but rather the culture of a group of people - a new work place, a new neighborhood, a new school... For example, if you move to a new neighborhood and everyone decorates their yards for Christmas, do you participate or leave your lawn blaringly bare? Matters of ethics do not play into this conversation. This is one area that I am black and white on. Better to be alone than compromise your morals.
We have moved into a new culture with this job. Not the culture of Colombia - we stand apart from that, viewing it from an outsider's position. We have become part of the ex-pat/State Department culture. When do we say "This culture of people is very different than what we have experienced before. To fully engage in this culture we need to change the way we are. We need to change some habits and practices." I'm standing at a fork in the road right now. This past week I have had an awareness that I need to make a decision: to continue in the way I did life in Hudsonville, or change to the way things are done here in Colombia. To continue without change will mean sacrifice of relationships due to complete exhaustion.
I've made a decision, I just have no idea how to implement the change. Guess that will take some more thinking through and conversation with Chad!

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