Day 40: Sudden Strike of Culture Shock / by Sarah Kakusho

It’s been 40 days…and I am now realizing how much of a culture shock I’m having right now. I guess I just have a really delayed reaction compared to other people.

Anyway, I’m very frustrated, and I finally see just how fortunate I am to be living in the U.S. Why do I feel and say this now? Yesterday, I had a slight incident in one my classes yesterday. I walked into the classroom and took a seat. The guy behind me starts laughing and says, whoa, there’s a China in here. Chino/China is what they call Asians in general, and it’s supposed to not be derogatory…

Now, I KNOW they told me that if I do get called this, they mean it in no offense, but me, coming from the background that I do [getting bullied and getting called Chinese all throughout grade school], I completely took offense. How could I not. It’s one thing to call someone “yellow,” I’d much prefer that because it includes all Asians, but to be called Chinese was so something that I was getting tired of.

Maybe I just want some political correctness to justify my side of the story, but I was really pissed. I’m still pissed. It might’ve been the fact that he was laughing about it, too, that made me mad, but regardless, I’ve realized that global education isn’t enough. To educate people about the world and to have them actually understand the world are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

I’ve determined not to lose here. But, this incident opened up a deep wound and dumped a whole shit load of salt on it. This is what culture shock is to me… It’s testing me. I know it is.

It made me remember my reason for coming to Buenos Aires in the first place. I’m here to study film. I’m beginning to see just how much I want to go into the film industry, how much I’m willing to deal with in order to reach this goal, how much I need to struggle to realize this dream.

On a much, much lighter note, I was able to buy GUM! Almost everyone knows that I’m a gum addict, a chain-chew gum, take a nap with gum in my mouth, etc.etc. So, when I first came here, all I could find was the local gum called Beldent [which was like mirror of Trident], cept it only came with five pieces of gum, and literally one piece was half the size of a regular Orbitz gum piece. So, it last like 5 minutes before I was just rubber that left a bad taste in your mouth and the entire pack was gone in 30 minutes.

But, I went to the grocery store today and bought chicken salad and a jumbo back of Wrigley’s gum that I didn’t know existed till today. I was able to satiate my craving for gum and vegetables. It’s interesting. I don’t recall eating much salad back at Soka, but for some reason, all I’ve been wanting since I’ve come here is salad. Curious.

Oh, and when I was lunching in my room, I turned the TV on and McCain was giving a speech, introducing his Vice-President?! A woman?! No doubt, this has to be a campaign move to gain more votes.


So, yes. I’m going through the angry/frustrated stage of being homesick. Hopefully, I’ll get over it…soon. Well, I have a busy weekend, so I guess it’s almost guaranteed.

P.S, I’m thankful for every encouraging and inspiring conversation I’ve had with everyone. They’ve helped me get through so far. Note to all: bring your source of inspiration/encouragement [I miss reading English books]. There’s no doubt you’ll need it.