Reverse Culture Shock!

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Every time I come back to the states, I notice some differences between the USA and Poland.

There are times that being back in the USA leaves me feeling quite disconnected and unsure. Let me share with you some of the things I have noticed this time.

  1. Americans are friendly and helpful. I noticed right away in the plane from Amsterdam to Detroit how people were willing to help each other get their suitcases up in the overhead.

  2. Sizes of servings are enormous. I ordered a chef’s salad at a burger place the other day and it took me longer to eat it than anyone else! I don’t think it was just because I was talking, either! Here’s an example. The “small” drink here is the size of the xxl drink at a fast food place in Poland (with no free refills).

  3. Not so many people smoke - at least not that I have noticed so far.

  4. Americans are boisterous and noisy. Maybe they just feel comfortable in their own skin!

  5. People carry around water bottles all over the place - even to church! That is something that has changed since we left for Poland 20+ years ago!

  6. Life is complex here. The layers of things to do seem well developed. Because there are so many choices relating to life, simple things like finding dental floss, toothpaste or a flashlight is difficult. Who knew? Forget cereal. You can go crazy with too many choices at a Super Walmart in the cereal aisle. I’ve literally read that other missionary wives coming back to the states break down in a Walmart in the cereal aisle. I haven’t. But I have been overwhelmed.


Working at my sis’s store, I see that by limiting my sewing to what I have, I’ve actually made it easier for myself to get things done. I’ve seen how people agonize over things that I wouldn’t think twice about simply because I don’t have the choice. “Should this backing be this green, this burgundy or tan?” “Ooh, I can’t decide.”

Unfortunately my sis wrote an email saying that I would be able to help people with all their quilting needs. That’s really quite funny. My automatic response to them was “It doesn’t matter, seriously!” Just go sew! Pretend you don’t have 50+ choices of green to choose from! Choose the best from among 2 or 3 and move on.

I tried to tamp it back and make sure my comments were encouraging without actually saying, “I think they are all fine!” Usually there was one that was better to my eyes.

But what we all have to remember when making our quilts - unless someone ordered one to be made, make it how you like it. It will be fine!


Don’t forget to check out what my sis has in the store! She got in a new stock of blades! The prices are great and they are really good quality rotary blades! If you haven’t tried them for yourself, you should! I use them now and I find them comparable to the name brand ones I’ve used (not the Harbor Freight - those I wasn’t happy with though some people are!)


Becky Petersen3 Comments