Christmas and Culture Shock

30 Dec

Hello all! I’m back from good ole Richmond, Virginia, and it was a very Merry Christmas indeed. This was my first time back in Richmond after more than 3 years, and I got to see family and friends I hadn’t seen in forever.

Jorge LOVED the US. He liked the houses, mainly because they “don’t have bars on the windows, like in Mexico”. Very true. I took him to my favorite outdoor mall, and he was a bit overwhelmed but definitely enjoying himself. I have to admit I miss US malls, too… although I did feel bad for the shirtless guy standing in the freezing cold of the Abercrombie and Fitch entrance.

I was excited to be back in my hometown of Richmond! I got to see lots of friends and family I hadn’t seen in over 3 years. Jorge got to see my high school, middle school, elementary school, church and old house.

Everything seemed so much bigger and grander than I remember. In Cancun all the houses are right next to eachother (no side yards, shared walls) and yards are usually just tiny squares of concrete. The bigger houses here have walls around them, and almost all houses here have bars on the windows. In Richmond, the yards were so huge and the houses so much larger than they needed to be that I felt like I was way in the country or something (even though it was just the suburbs). Even houses I used to think were small growing up, today they look immense!

All the shopping centers and restaurants looked so pristine it was overwhelming. Immaculate storefronts were surrounded by massive amounts of parking space. Where were the flimsy taco stands? Where were the family-owned corner stores? Why are there so many SUVs? Who would go to a huge shopping center in the middle of nowhere? (a lot of people, apparently)

The only thing big about Cancun is the potholes.

I was seeing the first stages of reverse culture shock, and I was only there for 3 days. Everything from the cars to the houses, restaurants, movie theaters and malls was just so BIG and PERFECT. It was lovely, but I was glad to get back to the sun and tiny concrete houses of Cancun.

Here are a few pics. The lights are from the James Center in downtown Richmond, and the rest are just family photos taken at my grandparents’ house.

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How was your Christmas?

20 Responses to “Christmas and Culture Shock”

  1. Kathryn December 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Don’t you LOOOVE showing someone around your hometown? It’s the best. Glad Jorge had a fabulous time, and now that he’s been approved for a tourist visa, hopefully it’ll be easy to get another one in the future (or do you use the same one?) Your pics are beautiful- I love all the pretty lights 🙂

  2. Raymundo December 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    What did he say about the cold weather? How bout the cheap prices at the stores(clothes & electronics).

    • Laura in Cancun December 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      It wasn’t that cold! Only around 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit. He found it pretty cold at night, but he had some heavy sweaters and was fine.

      • Raymundo December 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

        When I go to Mexico I find that alot of things are more expensive like electronics and books.

  3. Ashlie December 30, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    Lovely photos Laura! It sounds like both you and Jorge had a nice time.

  4. Amy Brown December 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    You did explain that most houses aren’t quite as large as Grandma and Grandpa’s house, didn’t you?
    Glad you had a good trip!

    • Laura in Cancun December 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      HAHAHAHA I didn’t factor their home (and double master bath) into the equation for this post… their neighborhood would have severely tilted the average 😛

      • Amy Brown December 31, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

        I meant explain to Jorge, who loved US houses. They aren’t all created equal! 🙂

      • Laura in Cancun December 31, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

        Oh don’t worry, I explained that if we were to ever live in the US, our house would look nothing like that (too bad because I was getting used to the jacuzzi tub and double master bath…)

  5. DM December 30, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    I love this post. I think it might be one of my favorites to see your comparison of Cancun and the US. I’m so glad you had a good time.

  6. Kristin Busse December 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Sounds wonderful! So happy for you that you had a safe fun trip home! I am a little jealous of the sweaters…we were sweating on Christmas! 😉

  7. Milena December 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Glad you had a good time! This post reminds me the first time my BF saw Toronto (hes from Cancun as well and came here for a 6 months visit) I saw your blog off and I love it! Can’t wait to get back to Cancun myself! Since I have been back in Toronto I have experienced reverse culture shock myself and it is really indescribable! We are back in Cancun in 8 days!

  8. KfromMichigan December 30, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    So glad you and Jorge had a great time in the US. Hopefully your next visit will be longer. Happy New Year and a Healthy one to you both!

  9. lisa n javi December 31, 2011 at 1:18 am #

    Aww great photos. Glad you guys had such a great time.

  10. Margaret@SingleandSane December 31, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    I guess there’s nothing like coming from another country to make the excesses of everyday life in the US more apparent. I keep thinking we’re going to learn to simplify, but we have a long way to go!

  11. Rebekah December 31, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    The James Center is a must see for Richmond at Christmas:)
    It was so good to see you Laura and to meet Jorge!
    Happy New Year!

  12. Julie M. January 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    I was excited to read this post and see how your travels went! It sounds like you had a perfect Christmas. Jorge sounds like he had a great time. Be glad you got out when you did; it’s freezing here now!

  13. GRRRL TRAVELER January 18, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Yay! Love the photos and so glad Jorge was able to make it to the U.S. to celebrate Xmas. With the snow and decorations it must have felt very special for him! Merry Belated Xmas to you both!

  14. Ceri February 25, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    I can’t ever imagine having reverse culture shock because home is still so fresh in my mind. I’m so glad you guys had a great Christmas. 🙂

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