Any world traveler can expect some culture shock to a certain extent, especially when traveling to distant lands with strange languages and unfamiliar customs. Emily and I have certainly experienced our fair share of culture shock for better and for worse. The language barrier, for instance, has been extremely frustrating, and is only complicated by the fact that Rwandans speak in the most indirect way possible, while we simply want straight forward answers. On average, we speak about five different languages per day, (English, Kinyarwanda, French, Swahili, and Spanish- to each other, when we don’t want other people to understand) so much information is often lost in translation. On the plus side, Emily and I both have a tendency to just burst into laughter over some of the most hilarious and interesting aspects of the culture here. While I by no means intent to poke fun of their ways of life, we have found a few things that are just SO FUNNY that I have to share.
“Oh, that’s normal” has become our sarcastic go-to phrase which we mutter to each other upon finding something that would most likely NEVER fly in the States. The phrase originated when we were walking out of Amahoro Stadium in a huge crowd on July 4. While we were getting pushed around in a steady stampede of people exiting the gates, we very narrowly missed stepping into a gaping 6 inch by 2 foot hole in the cement which dropped down only about two stories. Emily’s reaction (after jumping over the death trap) was simply “Oh, that’s normal!” I think I laughed all the way out of the stadium after that. So since that time, here is an incomplete but significant list of happenings that deserve an “Oh, that’s normal” acknowledgement:
Well, that was just a small sampling of oddities, so there will probably be more to come as we can take more pictures! Can’t wait to discover some other “normalities!”