Oh, that’s normal!

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:

A delicious breakfast of tea, bread, omellettes, and small salted lake fish...?

A delicious breakfast of tea, bread, omellettes, and small salted lake fish…? Oh, that’s normal.

I don't know about you, but when I go to a concert, I really like to eat hard boiled eggs with salt and hot sauce. Snack time anyone? Oh, that's normal.

I don’t know about you, but when I go to a concert, I really like to eat hard boiled eggs with salt and hot sauce. Snack time anyone? Oh, that’s normal.

As we were eating lunch at the guest house one day, we looked outside and saw the bishop walk by. After a double take, and probably a triple take, we realized it was actually the bishop who was here to say Mass. Oh, I guess that's normal to have the bishop visit your place of residence.

As we were eating lunch at the guest house one day, we looked outside and saw the bishop walk by. After a double take, and probably a triple take, we realized it was actually the bishop who was here to say Mass. Oh, I guess that’s normal to have the bishop visit your place of residence.

I really don't understand the reason behind the name of this perfume. Is it supposed to ward off all potentially attractive mates? I know it's a really Catholic country, but this just brought morality to another level.

I really don’t understand the reason behind the name of this perfume. Is it supposed to ward off all potentially attractive mates? Do you think it smells good, or bad? I know it’s a really Catholic country, but this just brought morality to another level.

6.5% beer for 600RWF ($0.90)??? Now this is a type of "normal" which we approve!

6.5% beer for 600RWF ($0.90USD)??? Now this is a type of “normal” which we approve!

 

Open storm drains on the side of the road. They are acutually ubiquitous and so SO dangerous. But this has certainly become the new normal.

Open storm drains on the side of the road. They are acutually ubiquitous and so SO dangerous. But this has certainly become the new normal.

Flowers in the MIDDLE of the road. Because there will only be a few cars in that come by anyway, right?

Flowers in the MIDDLE of the road. Because there will only be a few cars in that come by anyway, right?

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!”

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One thought on “Oh, that’s normal!

  1. Yes, most of those sound “normal” to me; and the open storm drains you would find on every Island in the Caribbean to cope with the enormous volumes of rainwater in a Tropical downpour.

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