I'm an American living in South Asia. When I moved here almost 3 years ago, I thought everything, and I mean everything, was weird and different, and quite frankly, backwards. I bet quite a few people can attest to the fact that I was no fun to be around that first month in country. (I hope no one feels at liberty to attest to an even longer period of time...)
Now, it's safe to say I've changed. South Asia has changed me. So in my reflective mood, I'm writing up things about me that are different, and those of you who will be seeing me on the other side of the world in a few weeks, consider yourselves warned. :)
I don't like cold weather anymore. And by cold, I mean anything under about 75 degrees. Somehow, I grew accustomed to always being warm, and now I get cold way too easily. My family can remember how husband and I shivered last May in Paris in what can only be described by normal people as beautiful sunny weather. I think I called it "icy."
When I watch American TV shows now, I always grimace when I see someone wearing shoes inside a house. It's the custom here to take off your shoes when entering any home, and sometimes even shops. Actually, it's usually pretty rude to leave them on. It makes sense - look at what we walk on daily...would you want that in your home, on your rug, or carpet? The thought of wearing my shoes inside someone's home now just seems odd and slightly disturbing.
Interaction with men will take some getting used to. Before I moved here, I would smile at strangers when I passed them, even if they were men. It was just being friendly. If I were to that here, it would be the equivalent of hitting on the guy. In fact, I rarely look men in the eye at all unless I know them. I catch myself feeling awkward around men a lot, and this will take some adjustment to fix.
I don't want meat at every meal anymore. When we went to Nepal in January, we went to a steakhouse and both of us ordered a 6 oz. steak. Neither of us could finish it! It was just too much meat. That's not to say I don't want meat, I just can't take a lot of it at one time.
Husband and I spend a lot of time together now. At first, it was odd being around my husband for more than a few hours a day. Now when we move back, we've talked about how it's going to be hard to not be together all day.
I am more conscious of my water use. I've seen how water is precious and not always a guarantee, and it concerns me. So I do try my best to conserve water.
I know there are more that I'll think of from time to time. This is not to say my changes are good or bad, I'm just different now. It has been almost 3 years, after all.