Being a missionary kid from Thailand, I’m the new kid on the ACU block, or maybe the U.S.A. block in general.
Watching college students walk about their daily lives is fascinating. I’ve been watching communities grow, students “work” and couples pair up faster than their walk to class. Even with so much new culture for me to absorb, I can’t help but feel a tad bit disappointed at the social interactions I’ve had so far.
Ninety-nine percent of the talks I’ve had have been relatively small talk, and even though small talk is important in building relationships, it isn’t the only factor to friendship. I’m getting tired of telling people my major. Then again, it’s only been two weeks of school. Maybe Americans take a little longer to warm up to each other (or at least to a missionary kid).
I’ve also noticed that people love to talk about themselves a lot. Being the selfish humans we are, it shouldn’t be a surprise. Whenever I have conversations with people, sometimes the only thing they ever learn about me is that I am a very good listener. That isn’t a bad thing unless it is the only thing they know about me apart from my name.
Lastly, there is the swearing. I’m having a tough time listening to sailor-blushing slang coming out in day-to-day conversation (or maybe it’s just in basketball). A needle pricks my brain every time the words are used, and my brain is starting to callous and thicken. I really hoped swearing was just in the movies, but I now know that was a fat chance. If my ears had a mind of their own, they might have stayed in Thailand.
So there are my first thoughts of this wonderful place called America. If you read to the bottom of this column, I’m giving you a high five right now (or you can ask for one in person later). If you want some homework, I encourage you to ask someone a different question or give them a different compliment. Saying something like, “What do you do in your spare time?” or, “That’s a cool shirt you’re wearing” are good places to start.
I don’t think anyone will take this advice, but we should search for more opportunities to make someone’s day. On the other hand, I would love to be proven wrong.