Monday, June 8, 2009

A foreigner at home

When I come to the U.S., I try to notice things that seem unusual to foreign eyes. I think it is important to do this as an exercise in understanding how newcomers feel. I take my camera everywhere, looking for those points of confusion. But many of them are hard to convey in text or pictures: the traffic patterns; the body language as people relate to each other; the different sounds and smells.

My skills of observation are especially dulled since I was just here a few months ago. Perhaps if I were in the CIA I would do better (note to the FSB: I'm NOT a spy!).

It seems too much like stalking to take pictures of people, and I'm too shy to ask.

So I'm left with random shots of the highway taken out the car window....

When you live in another country, you notice things like where the horizon is and what decorates it. many lanes there are and what kinds of car people drive

...what is growing by the side of the road.

I also have random shots of wildlife, like when I was trying to find the resident snake and stumbled across a toad...

And just some unique places. Being ready to tell their story is good.

There are a million other things, like the heaviness of the air; the way the showerhead works; the way products are categorized at the grocery store. Little things...that aren't really a problem, but take energy to figure out.


  1. Wow. I am not alone. Same thing here. I am planning to visit my mom in August, God is willing. Smells, sights, different gestures and facial expressions are all I can see when I go back. I wish I could get over it by now. Doesn't seem to be working for me.

  2. Something that has impacted my life a lot. I hope you can identify with it too. Watch it to the end:

  3. Thanks for the link. I hope you have a good visit with your mom. I'm sure it will be a blessing for her to see you.

  4. I love seeing things new. I think it is being in the present, and being in the present is being with God.

    Not having lived abroad, I have to do the best I can...and I play a game of pretending I don't live where I live...I try to pretend I'm just driving through and recreate the feeling I have when I'm going down to Indiana or to Iowa and everything is just a bit different. It is so cool to try to see what I see every day with those "new" eyes.

  5. That's a great attitude to have, Annie! It seems like you do a good job of trying to see different perspectives.


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