My Story: Culture Shock, Mayonnaise, and the Last Straw

BY CARL BUSER, RADIUS INTERNATIONAL ALUMNUS

That was the last straw. I’m done with this country. I’m ready to punch this guy in the face, I said to myself silently.

One more time, I spoke slowly–patiently, even–into the phone. “Sir, please, just make the sandwich like you always do. Except this time, just don’t put mayo on it, like I asked. It’s the same sandwich! It’s just that in the process, mayo won’t be added!”

“I am sorry sir, but we do not do custom orders. We do not accept returns or refunds either.” read more

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My first trip to the grocery store in East Africa was….overwhelming. There may have been some tears when I got home.

Maybe it was worse because I didn’t expect grocery shopping to be a source of stress. My friend had been raving about how she loved this grocery store. And I was excited to finally dive in to cooking for my family and not relying on the kindness of other members of our expat community for meals.

But there I was, swallowing back tears. A few example factors (many of which may seem lame, but made sense in my culturally-overwhelmed season of life):