I was thinking today, as I was turning on the shower at our house in Haiti, how some things in life that we are taught from childhood in our culture are so opposite from other cultures. And often in areas of things that you would never think about, things that become routine and standards of life until we are met with a culture that just does not do things the same way. For example, from childhood I remember my dad teaching me the simple principle of "lefty loosy, righty tighty". Translation: When you turn something to the left, you loosen it. When you turn something to the right, you tighten it. I thought this would be a universal principle that made sense and just happened everywhere, a principle that doesn't change no matter where you are. But this month I am acutely aware for some reason how many things in Haiti that are completely opposite of this principle and it seems to take me a lot of effort to figure them out, since it was so engrained in me as standard routine. So, getting back to the shower? Yes, our faucet has to be turned the opposite direction to turn on and off and everytime I enter the shower, I have to think about it before turning the handle. What else is opposite? The kitchen faucet, the hose tap, the faucet in the campus kitchen... and it's not only faucets. Our light switches have to be flipped up to turn off and down to turn on.
Whenever you are going to visit another culture, or live in another culture that, be prepared for everything to be different. It's not wrong, just different. These opposites for me, though simple and seemingly insignificant, for some reason have taken up a lot of my head space trying to remember which direction to turn things now each time I go to turn on a faucet. I just thought I would share... :)