Airports for me felt like a common ground when I was growing up. Crowds of strangers flooding the airport halls wasn’t an unusual sight. From the streets of Ghana, roaming with wild chickens, to the thick forests of Northern Thailand filled with undeviating noises that came from insects in the underbrush; I felt like I always needed to get used to the new surrounding that would encompass my life for the time being. As a young boy constantly trudging through the doors of new schools almost every year was my culture shock. Essentially, it was not the fact that physical objects differentiated so much between each international country, but it was rather the emotional interactions that changed when I moved. I was used to the crowds of strangers quickly working through airport security, however, being surrounded by strangers my age and being told to interact with them was completely offbeat and outlandish. As I am writing this paper, my older self can realize that my insufficiency to emotionally connect with the kids of my age at school, was not because of my shyness, but rather because of the physical aspects of this unfamiliar environment so foreign to me, that it affected me more subconsciously than I thought. The shock of always being immersed in a new environment had symptoms. The poor grades I received, and the rough social life I had, are only two out of the many symptoms I experienced.
My brother and I posing next to donkey in Africa.
After my time in Africa and Thailand, it was time to experience a way of life in complete opposition to one I had just experienced, at least like the opposite. We moved to the USA. What seemed to be a process I would be used to, the first day of third grade was as difficult. As kids blustered about the new Call of Duty video games they would receive for their upcoming birthdays or Christmas, all I knew is that my parents would certainly approve of buying me a video game console with games that had guns and shooting involved. I grew chasing those chickens on my street and building big forts with the materials provided by the forests around me. I expressed myself honestly, and I felt like my interactions with the kids were never positive. This was my real first experience with ethnocentrism in the USA. However, today I am proud to have felt these emotions because they have been the catalyst to personal and emotional growth. My childhood was not hard, but at that moment, I felt like the world was against me.