In America everyone wants to know things. We take pride in education. In discovering. Coming up with the next bright idea. We strive to be individual. To be important.
I remember being frustrated when I began college, because it seemed that conversations, instead of being about community and relationships, were often about sounding intelligent and knowing just one more thing than the other people in the room. I was confused during some social experiences because I thought we were all there to create community. There were moments when I just felt stupid. I couldn’t add any intelligent comment to the conversation so I just sat there. It was confusing because high school seemed to be a place where people were discovering who they were socially and the goal was not to be the smartest one in the room, but rather to be the most-liked person. Social settings were about laughing, having fun and fitting in.
Now, being back home I found myself surrounded by some conversations where one person would just try to be the one who was right. Who had the correct information? Who would win the debate? Again I had the experience of going from a place where community is what is central, to a place where knowledge and the individual is what life is built around.
I do not need to strain to listen to a different accent or attempt to learn new cultural norms, but rather I am now trying to remember how life is in America. I am trying to do my best at accepting and stepping in. There is no doubt that this will continue to challenge me. And I wonder if I will feel like I can ever completely fit back in.