Lingering Culture Shock During the Holidays — and Merry Christmas

I’ve now been home for about a month, and I have to say I’m still feeling the effects of culture shock. And coming home right before the holiday season doesn’t exactly help since American consumerism is at a seasonal high; advertisements for the latest and greatest gift idea constantly being thrust at me from every direction. Even though it’s now Christmas day and I had a relaxing day yesterday playing cards with my family and drinking eggnog, I’m still not in the Christmas mood since every Christmas reference I see & hear reminds me of buying something — which is not what the holidays should be about. Going shopping for gifts that people don’t need is something I have absolutely no desire in given I was just in Ghana and Kenya where, by and large, people are happier than they are in the US while owning vitually zero material possessions. In Ghana, people don’t even know who Santa Claus is (and yes, most of them are Christian); makes you wonder whether Santa Claus is just another icon marketers have exploited in the name of getting you to spend more money during the holiday season.

Think about it. You don’t need a new TV. You don’t need another car. You don’t need a new frying pan. You don’t even need another fancy dress shirt. You don’t need your 176th DVD. Chances are pretty damn good, you have everything you need (plus some) and just don’t realize it. The video embedded below and this post I wrote several years ago should help you realize how truly fortunate you are.

Ordinary Hero~ A day in the trash dump in Ethiopia from Kelly Putty on Vimeo.

I’m sure this is not the rosy, happy post you wanted to read on Christmas day and I’m rambling a bit — and for that, I apologize. Merry Christmas and be happy for all that you have!

Here are some additional thoughts on culture shock from Caz.

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Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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