Culture Shock (Part One)

This past weekend, I had to wait for my ship to come in – and I was on it!

My friend and I went river rafting on Saturday. The main raft was full up with an extended family so we booked a canoraft (canoe plus dinghy equals a two person blow up raft). The family was great (and no I’m not going to say more about nice French people), including us in their jokes and fun right away.

I enjoyed myself, until about four o’clock when I started to lose patience. All day long the family had been physical, pushing each other out of the raft, tipping us out of our canoraft, and generally being silly. My friend and I gave as good as we got. After lunch, we gave the canoraft to others to try and we joined the larger raft. Despite minor language problems, a good time was had by all.

Being a conscientious Canadian, I noticed that the guide kept looking at his watch and encouraging us to go more quickly. So I put my back into it (actually my shoulder, which is still sore!) and got more tired. But I kept paddling.

Not so the family. As more of them tired, they stopped paddling, making it more difficult for those of use who were working. Of course if the raft had been full of WASPy Canadians, we would have buckled down the moment the guide had even hinted at an increased effort.

The uptight Canadian in me thought "C’mon people! I want to get home! We’re late!" The newly emerging Frenchman in me responded with "Relax! We’re having fun." But the tired cranky uptight WASP won out and I descended into culture shock.

As much as I wanted to scream and yell and get the raft moving, I knew I couldn’t. Why ruin their fun just because I was tired?

I wanted our ship to come in and could have tried to be optimistic that they’d all clue into the time and start paddling harder, but I had to accept reality. And the reality in this instance was that we’d get home when the river current decided to get us there.

As soon as I could see Sauveterre’s skyline, I hopped out of the raft and swam the rest of the way back. Instead of having a fit, I bided my time until I could get home on my own.

I was free! And a whole lot less cranky.

Someday Lessons:

  1. There are no hard rules. What is optimistic and what is realistic depend entirely on the context of a situation.
  2. Always look for new actions that will make you feel optimistic again.

Lunch Today:
Pork and Potato Yogurt Curry that was tasty but the potatoes didn’t cook properly (so no recipe today).

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2 thoughts on “Culture Shock (Part One)

  1. Elizabeth Fayle says:

    Not so sure it’s cultural. My Canadian rafting experience was similar and my reaction was the same as yours. However, when the guide performed the *action* of flipping the lazy so-and-so’s out of the raft, my *optimism* returned.

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