The value of culture is in its effect on character. It avails nothing unless it ennobles and strengthens that. It’s use is for life. Its aim is not beauty, but goodness. - Somerset Maugham
We are very fortunate. We are surrounded by people who are eager to help us become acclimated to the culture of our new community so we haven’t made any major mistakes in getting to know the area. Some of the Midwestern cultural aspects we remember from living in the neighboring state ten years ago. Other aspects, such as encountering Cheese Whiz on a chili-cheese dog at several different venues, require a bit of a learning curve. Overall, though, we are loving it here.
But the community is also losing it’s personality and developing The Generic American Culture. I’d estimate that over 90% of the recommendations on where to eat are for restaurant chains. Before we got the kitchen unpacked, we had to hunt for someplace that wasn’t Olive Garden, Bob Evans, Denny’s, Panda Express, Chipotle, etc. The main commercial drag is filled with big box stores that can be found anywhere. Part of what is making it easy to adjust to living here is that I’m already familiar with Target, Kroger (Ralphs), Jewel-Osco (Albertsons), CVS, Walgreens, Macy’s, JC Penney, Office Depot, Home Depot, and even Krispy Kreme (not that I’ve ever *cough* gone in *cough* there for a doughnut, of course *cough*).
When two crazy California newlyweds moved across the country to New Jersey 25 years ago on nothing more than a wing and a prayer, they encountered major culture shock. It took me a good three years until I got the hang of the New York to DC corridor way of doing things (and I still managed to “step in it” on occasion ten years later). Since that time, we’ve made several more major moves to completely different cultures within the United States.
We are fortunate in other ways, too. We have had the opportunity to live and work in five states in three regions of the country. Each of those regions have their own culture. And I think I’m a better person for having encountered different cultures within the United States.
Have you ever experienced culture shock from moving from one part of the country to another?