July 14, 2011

Deep Thinking - Paradigm Shifts

From Wiki:  Paradigm shift (or revolutionary science) is, according to Thomas Kuhn in his influential book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), a change in the basic assumptions, or paradigms, within the ruling theory of science. It is in contrast to his idea of normal science.

I was born in Joplin, MO then grew up between Lexington, MO, Saltillo, Mexico, and San Antonio, TX. I later lived in Verviers, Belgium as a high school exchange student, in Cuernavaca, Mexico as a college exchange student, Turkey with my husband's family, and Barcelona, Spain as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.  I now live in Dubai, UAE as an Expat, which I think is just a grown up exchange student. I was once told I could adapt on Mars since I was so adaptable and quick to adjust to a new environment. Compliment, maybe?

Whenever I lived in foreign countries, I caught myself thinking deep philosophical thoughts, analyzing the surrounding culture and at the same time questioning my home culture, and having major paradigm shifts.  Life was definitely not boring while living abroad. You can't take anything for granted.  I think I sort of like being on my toes and being challenged in this way.  Some of what I have learned this last 2 weeks from my normal way of life include:
- Here the 'weekend' is Friday and Saturday, not Saturday and Sunday like in the US
- My husband has to write a 'no-objection' letter to allow me to obtain my driver's license (what?)
- My husband has to write a 'no-objection' letter to allow me to obtain a liquor license (what?)
- You don't have to turn off your car motor engine off to have your gas pumped into your car here..you can sit in the AC, with the car on, and have it filled.
- Paying a live-in maid room and board and $400 US dollars a month for 6 days a week of 8-12 hours of work is normal
- Ramadan - can't eat or drink in public - sort of scared about this one
-  There are several electrical adapters to this place and they all confuse me. Why can't there be one here?
- Using the bidet or hoses - they are everywhere including in every bathroom in my house - I never had them in the US yet they are everywhere here.
- Being able to buy alcohol only at 1. Duty free at airport, 2. at hotel bars and restaurants, and 3. with a liquor license
- What is my 'good name'? My first name?
- My maid cleans windows with newspaper instead of paper towels or rags
- Living in a conglomerate world between Emirati, Indian, Philipino, US, British, etc. cultures
- Thank you God for the internet, Skype, email, internet (yes, I said it twice), and technology. I would not be so comfortable in my move had it been 5 or more years ago. I sort of feel like inside my house is the US and outside is the UAE.

I need to write these thoughts down now before I just assume them and then I forget that they were 'weird' to me at some point.

At the same time, the more you live abroad, the more things don't seem so weird. I caught myself thinking or saying , 'oh, that reminds me of Spain,' 'that reminds me of how we did it in Mexico,' 'that is what happened in Belgium,', 'oh, I saw that in Turkey,' and before long, things aren't too weird because you might have seen something similar before.

Well that was my philosopher's minute. Hopefully I remember to write about more of them and not take them for granted. If I do take them for granted, I will remember them when I am returning to the US, having reverse culture shock.

Oh joy!

1 comment:

keeks said...

Newspaper on your windows is actually a much better way to clean them. Your maid is savvy. :)