Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Culture Shock

Is it odd that I'm experiencing culture shock when I've only moved within the United States?  I think it is, but I don't have any other way of explaining my experiences and how I feel.  So far the move and transition have gone smoothly.  But, my experiences with every day activities have been difficult. Wikipedia explains the experience very simply: Culture shock is the personal disorientation a person may feel when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life due to immigration or a visit to a new country, or to a move between social environments.
For starters, the landscape isn't comparable.  The Northwest is FULL of trees and the color green, rolling hills, mountains, valleys, cliffs etc.  Indiana is flat with a few rivers and lakes (of course Lake Michigan) but that's all.  Right now they have trees in bloom (meaning they are green) because it's summertime.  I have been told everything turns brown once the trees lose their leaves.  They do not have pine or fur trees that keep their lovely green hue year round. I'll report back when winter hits.  
Sky view of South Bend with the river (the river and downtown are not near the campus).

Willamette Valley wine country, valley, and Mt. Hood View.
Next, grocery shopping is actually a challenge here.  They have plenty of stores, but they are not what I am accustom to.  I have found that Oregonians are extremely spoiled.  We not only have farm fresh produce, meats, cheeses, milk, eggs, flowers, ect. We have high standards for our markets.  Products such as hummus and pita chips are extremely common.  Unfortunately the people of Indiana are not as lucky. You can find good food, but it was sort of a wild goose chase for me.  You also have to be very selective and picky because they have to import many items I used to take for granted.  The farmers market is going to keep me sane. I'm also crossing all fingers and toes that the rumored Whole Foods actually opens in Mishawaka (next town over) in September. Oh, and back to pita chips and hummus, GOOD LUCK.  I've only found them ONCE. 
Main view of the landscape in Indiana.
Oregon Coast, one of my favorite drives on Highway 101 along the coastline.
 The city sizes are definitely different.  South Bend and Mishawaka are old farming and industrial communities.  These people are the salt of the Earth people.  But, the cities are very small and don't have a lot of variety.  I know the Mayor of South Bend is working fervently to boost the economy here in South Bend, but it's a tad slow going.  If it makes sense, I would describe South Bend as vanilla ice cream, and Portland as Fro Yo (every topping imaginable).  We all know, vanilla can be very good, but sometimes you need a little more! Side note, I have yet to find a Fro Yo place here, it's so SAD! FYI: If you want to open one up, South Bend is the place, the market is untapped.
View of the valley in Oregon and Mt. Hood in the background.
Selfishly, I have discovered there are near to none nail salons in South Bend.  In Portland I think they are on every street corner just like Starbucks! I know it sounds silly, but the thought that I can't just run down the street and get a fantastically relaxing pedicure is pretty upsetting. 
Waterfront view of Portland from the Eastside of the city.
Next up, the weather is much different.  I know it will vary even more as the seasons change (I am very much looking forward to their fall season) but as of now the summer in South Bend has been different.  It's not as temperate here as Oregon is.  I know every state has heat spikes, but summers are on average warmer here high 80's, low 90's with what feels like 90% humidity.  No joke.  When you walk outside you instantly feel like you were sprayed down with a water mister, except it's sweat. My body is slowly adjusting.  I cannot even put into words the importance of air conditioning here. I am beyond thankful for the apartment we choose to live in for the very reason that we can keep it a cool 70 and not be sticky in our home. 
Outside of South Bend, farmland that surrounds cities.

Arial view of the Notre Dame Campus (the campus is lovely).
Lastly, the water.  Ok, I cannot sugar coat on this one.  The water here is flat out disgusting.  It tastes like swimming pool water.  I thought something might be wrong with it when I first tried it.  We have a Brita filter but that isn't even cutting it, and I refuse to buy bottled water and add to waste via empty bottles.  Our next step is going to be buying the Pur filter for our faucet and then running that through the Brita.  I'm praying this works. Aside from drinking it, when you shower it's also yucky.  My hair feels grimy and my skin is extra dry.  Even after a shower. Apparently there's a clarifying shampoo that can help me out, I REALLY hope it works. 
That's all for now!  Hopefully I will continue to adjust....but I'll keep everyone updated.  It's very different and thank goodness for great friends and family that are willing to send me packages with products I can't buy here! THANK YOU!


1 comment:

  1. Let me know what you need - I'd love to send you a care package!