Everyone’s been asking me how I was adapting to Canada. If the weather is cold, whether I was adapting to the food, have I adjusted to the time difference and all.
For the record: Yes. The weather is cold, the food is western and I have already adjusted to the time difference.
Honestly, I would think that adaptation is overrated. It is purely uncomfortable, physically. That’s all.
Cultural adjustments, on the other hand, are so much harder. It is an emotional, mental as well as social struggle altogether. How do you start conversations with strangers, when you aren’t normally accustomed to it? How do you sustain a conversation when you have nothing in common? How do you blend in, be called one of their own, fit in and not stick out like a sore thumb like someone who is obviously out of place, by appearance, by age and by culture?
Physical adaption is matter of time, cultural adjustments is a matter of choice.
While on exchange, I have seen many other Singaporeans and Asians gathering in their little Chinese cliques, staying in their makeshift bubble of safety; this entirely defeats the whole purpose of exchange. You can change your physical surrounding without changing your social surrounding – go on a vacation! On the other hand, I truly do understand their plight. In fact, at many times more than once, I find myself wanting to do the same, in the name of security. My personal exodus from the Asian community doesn’t make me feel any less uncomfortable than I already am. If not for my mission and calling, upon which I deem this whole trip to be orchestrated in a divine fashion, I would not be spending a minute in my unnecessary discomfort, out in my social desert.
And I’ve merely traveled from a first world country to another.
It is a choice my friends. A more difficult decision to make, a road less often traveled. Going to the ends of the earth is not as difficult as being at the ends of the earth. If we are ever going to be any more serious about winning the world, this is going to be it.