“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman
A quote easily forgotten, however, it is so important. A lot of the time when you question why something is the way it is or you get irritated by the constant thought process of stupidity that seems to be going into daily life you must not forget that you are a guest in a place that is most likely very different. The acceptable demeanour of a person may come into question and you may not like the way they act.
Don’t forget that you choose to be where you are.
My first few days in China really brought my patience barrier up. I could feel myself getting frustrated, annoyed and felt uncomfortable in situations. I was angry that I was feeling this way. However, as time went on, I realised that no one else was upset or angry, just me and my German passport.
After a few days I decided to take a different approach to the matter. Instead of being frustrated when someone pushed in front me, I would relish in the experience and do the same. Obviously, only in situations where everyone was doing it and it was obvious it was acceptable socially.
The biggest struggle at the beginning really were the stares. I had come across this issue posted over and over again on the Internet, but until I was there I didn’t really realise what sort of effect it would have on me. It is a very odd feeling walking down the street and having every single camera and eye pointed at you. Again I took a different approach and savoured the experience, smiling for every photo and even managing to start a few conversations with people.
I was finally understanding that it was my negative attitude towards the situation that made me uncomfortable and not what I thought at first. How wrong of me to be annoyed at how people were acting in there own country.
My advice is, take everything that makes you feel uneasy or that annoys you and take it in your stride. Laugh with it, learn from it and understand from it.