So it’s been a long time since I last posted anything, but as many of you probably know, I just got back from a trip home to the States. Along with that came quite a few entertaining instances of reverse culture shock as I tried to quickly readjust to the pace of living back in the US and did my best to leave behind some of the strange cultural habits I’ve picked up living in Togo for the past year. I’ve split them into a few smaller, more manageably posts, and I’ll post them over the next few days to a week. So here’s a little insight into my overwhelming, awkward, weird, often culturally inappropriate, trip back to America and some of the things I learned along the way:
It’s not ok to smile at and play peek-a-boo with every little kid you see on the street. In america, thats called being a pedophile.
Walking down the street in my village in Togo, being the only white person within 25 miles, every little kid either repeatedly yells at me to get my attention, runs up to me to give me a hug, or at the very least stares at me in shock and awe till I make some silly face to make them laugh(That is of course if they don’t scream bloody murder like they’ve literally just stared into the eyes of the devil and run as fast as they possibly can in the other direction). As I’m doing my best to fully integrate myself into the community, Its almost rude of me to not acknowledge and/or entertain them. And pretty much every time I walk through my village theres a mother literally pushing her small child or baby at me and telling me to hold them and/or take them home with me to America. So interacting and playing with random little kids on the streets of my village is a completely normal activity for me in Togo. Not to mention that being the only red bearded white dude in a little village in West Africa might as well make me the equivalent in rarity of a giant purple singing dinosaur here. That being said though, making a funny face and smiling at a random little kid at a restaurant or in the subway in the states can pull a bit of a different reaction. They more so just look at me with a stare of ‘Who the fuck are you creepy dude?’ and then turn to their parents as if to say ‘So this is the kind of guy you always tell me not to take candy from, right ma?’.