By Katherine (Kate) Mortensen • May 26, 2008•Internships and Clerkships
I have now been in
I am white. It is still somewhat diverse here- there are many Indians and some whites, but when we walk around town I am very aware that I am different and seemingly everyone around me is too. On the way to the grocery store today, we walked through a park and were gawked at by school children. Perhaps I am being overly sensitive to this effect, but I tend to have a heightened awareness of people around me and a certain paranoia, so this might be something I have to discuss with my roommates to see if they have experienced the same thing.
The rooming situation is going very well. There are Susan and I who have been friends since the beginning of the school year, and then two WashU students. One is Melissa, who is very nice. We are celebrating her birthday tomorrow. The other is Ande, who happens to be a friend of mine from high school’s cousin which is great. She reminds me a lot of him so we get along great.
The first couple of days consisted of getting acquainted with your new place and our
So far there haven’t been any real culture shock issues. Although I did have a funny incident occur today. I went into the grocery store to pick up some items, one of which was a cantaloupe. The clerk looked at me and asked what it was. I was confused and apologetic because usually you are supposed to get your produce weighed and get a sticker for it before you check out. The woman explained to me to me that I didn’t have to weigh it, she just wanted to know what it is. Cantaloupe I kept saying and she continued looking at me like I was crazy. Then she got the manager and asked him what it is. The manager scrolled through the screen and found “samaset” (or at least that’s how we remember it at this point, I’ll have to look it up). He smiled at me weirdly. I tried to explain to him that in my country we call it a cantaloupe. He smiled patronizingly.
These are the kinds of things that are going to make me realize that I’m not at home. Like for example, we went to Sea World today and Ande and I got hungry. We went to a food stand and had no idea what about 80% of the items were. So we got some sort of sausage thing. Not bad, a lot like a German sausage. Also, as the keeper was feeding penguins he was making gender-specific jokes. I found them funny but thinking about the
The other thing we noticed in Sea World today was the heavy focus on environmentalism and conservation. Apparently they are running out of certain species of fish for human (and penguin) consumption and have these little info cards indicating which fish are okay to eat and which are endangered. They also emphasized reduce, reuse, and recycle. We were trying to figure out whether they were more progressive on the environment, or they were behind and it has become a more imperative situation. As someone who is a great endorses and observer of the green movement, this is something I am going to pay attention to while I’m here.
Last point- I can’t go without addressing the civil unrest going on here. It started in
Looking forward to work on Monday. Will keep you updated.