When I was in college, we learned about something called ethnocentrism: the evaluation of other cultures according to preconceptions originating in the standards and customs of one’s own culture.
Today, I am a guest in another culture. I don’t yet know the rituals, or niceties, or even what the road signs mean. I don’t know what I might be doing wrong and for which I am being forgiven simply because my hosts are gracious and understanding that there is a foreigner amongst them.
I do know that a smile is always welcome and being respectful goes a long way in a friendly exchange. I like being called, “Miss” by the young woman in the local KFC or coffee shop. I like the conversations I have with the housekeeper who misses her home and the young Uber driver who misses his son.
But I do need to “practice the pause” at times when my mind jumps to conclusions about something I really know nothing about. It is easy to make judgments based on my own experiences or my own perceptions of things. Or thoughts that just pop out of nowhere in my head that are not based on the reality that is in front of me.
This is what makes traveling so, so, so good.
It reminds me that I am not the center of the universe and that are lots of ways to do things. Being kind and forgiving just goes with the (new) territory.
Certified Body Code Practitioner, life coach and energy healer, former non-profit executive with years of experience in caring for and about people and their place in this world. Friend of refugees and immigrants, ally to the addiction recovery community--all with respect, love, and compassion for mutual healing.