To be honest, I did not expect this phenomenon to hit me at all. I thought growing up an “outsider” in western Alaska had given me great insight into being immersed in a unique and sometimes vastly different culture than what I would consider my own.
Yet, this past week, I got a healthy dose of culture shock. At first, I was upset. Didn’t I spend countless hours talking through possible scenarios and problems with my friends and family? Didn’t I spend days in self introspection? Didn’t I already live through this several times over?
Well, as it has been said, “Oh, how the mighty will fall.” Well, I definitely fell. I got my reminder that no matter how much prep you do, you can’t prep for this.
On a related note, being here as definitely highlighted that the culture I grew up in is very much intertwined with my self image. Although my family is not original from Alaska, I am. I am a part of the beautiful Alaskan community I have lived in, enjoyed, and am committed to serving as soon as I return home.