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The first time you travel outside of your comfort zone, it's amazing. Amazing, but very different. And that difference takes some getting used to--some have a better time with it than others.


u/fashce1 asked the travelers of Reddit:

What is the biggest culture shock you have ever faced?

Here were some of the answers.

Magic Carp

Visiting family in the Czech Republic around Christmastime. Went to use washroom and was utterly astounded to see a giant carp swimming around in their bathtub. Learned it is customary to eat fried carp on Christmas Eve.

rich_da_hoser

Delicious, At Any Time Of Day

How much quality food there is at Japanese 7-11. Yes you heard me, QUALITY. Obviously here in the US you don't trust gas station sushi or really any food that comes from them. Honestly a vagabond or tourist can easily survive eating only 7-11 food in Japan, since really it's cheap and not as processed.

optionalhero

So Not Weird

When I visited South America it was my first time experiencing that you throw your toilet paper in a trash bin next to the toilet specifically for that rather than flush it and mess up their sewage infrastructure

It's so weird but not weird at the same time since its just how things work there.

myleskilloneous

Ah, Good Ol' Boston

I went into an an ice cream shop in Boston that was staffed by an older lady, we'll call er her OL, the exchange went like this:

OL: Hi how aw ya?

Me: I'm great, and you?

OL:<no answer>

Me: Do you have blueberry cheesecake ice cream?

OL: Do you see it on the board? If it's not on the board then we don't f*cking have it

Bob_12_Pack

Public Vs. Private

Working in the public sector. I previously worked in hospitality as a restaurant manager. The change to go working into a 9-5 office job was extraordinarily tough. People were so awkward and shy, I used to greet every staff member with a handshake previously but now everyone in my office can't make eye contact. Public Sector for me is the most 'be careful what you say' environment regarding absolutely anything even your plans for the weekend...

SheenoW_

A Garbage Time

I live in a very clean city, so I was shocked When I visited South America and saw how dirty it was and how much people litter.

People there literally do not give a sh*t and will just throw their trash right on the ground... Even if there's a trash can 10 ft away.

I was on a bus in Colombia and this lady was throwing trash out the window the whole 12 hr bus ride even though there was a garbage bag across the aisle from her.

In Brazil I was on a boat ride on the Amazon and our engine got clogged up. They stop the boat pull the engine up and there's a black trash bag wrapped around the motor. The driver proceeds to take the bag off and throw it right back in the river before starting the boat and taking off.

I also remember seeing people just chucking huge bags of trash right into the Amazon River...No sh*ts given.

It's really sad because it's beautiful in South America. A lot places there just don't have the money/infastruture to properly take care of their waste.

tornadoquake23

Traffique

Traffic in Vietnam. Crossing the street by walking slowly, letting the overloaded scooters drive around me, I got used to relatively quick. But the overnight bus from Hanoi to Danang crisscrossing the highway, having near misses with incoming trailers and honking every third second, that was bad.

krakenftrs

Welcome To Japan, My Friend.  Welcome...To Japan

First time in Japan, first interaction with anyone outside of the airport:

Get there early in the morning, LOOOONG flight and have a meeting in an hour. Need coffee asap. Go to 7-11 (awesome! they have that here!) before checking into hotel. Guy at the counter greets me. I'm looking around for the coffee. Guy runs around counter, eager to help me in any way. "Cofffee" I say. He takes me to the coffee, points to the different types, gets a cup for me, shows me how to use the machine, practically holding my hand through the process. Get me all set up with a fresh coffee, runs back around counter. shows me the little tray to put my money in, helps me count my money. Runs back around counter, leads me to door, opens it for me and bows with traditional goodbye and arigatou gozaimasu.

WOW, welcome to Japan.

davewtameloncamp

Aggressive Aggression

I grew up in a working class city where passive-aggression wasn't a thing. If people didn't like you they made it obvious. Shouting matches and fist-fights were pretty common. Then I get a job at a snooty ivy league university and nobody expresses what they actually think or feel, snide remarks replaced insults, people quietly conspire against you while pretending to be your friend, and you can't call people out on their bullshit without getting socially shunned because everybody is neck deep swimming in it.

signture_for_all

More Engrained Than Ever

As the only American at a company in rural Japan: the sexism.

Everyone wears uniforms, women have to wear skirts.

In the company phone directory there is a special symbol to indicate if someone is a woman.

Women leave the office at 5 or 530. Men all work later.

Women are very unlikely to be promoted. There is only one female manager in the entire company.

When a women gets married 90% of the time they quit the company.

If a married woman's husband's parents die the company sends a card and money. If her own parents die they send nothing.

Women must serve tea and clean the office spaces.

Constantly being called "kawaii", cute, beautiful, and "~chan" by male co-workers.

Etc.

P1kachuchuchu

Bussing

Holidaying in Tokyo and watching 5 year old kids walk themselves home from school and catching public transport...all by themselves.

smooth_source

This is actually common in most countries outside of the US. My city here in Germany has one of the US' largest bases, and every morning you'll only see the American parents guarding their children (guessing 7-13) until the bus comes to pick them up. It's a typical American school bus which looks completely different from our regular city busses, so they should be able to easily teach their kids "get on the yellow bus and not the white/green/blue ones" but hovering around your kids just isn't 'normal' here.

Kids have keys to their homes, learn where they live, how to get there and back at a pretty young age unless of course there's no public transport close enough and the parents have to come pick them up.

-captn-

Street Traffic 

I spent 12 weeks backpacking in India. The most intense culture shock was when I returned to the US. There were no people outside! The streets felt deserted. In India every city street is just packed with people. I had a second wave of culture shock was when I went to the grocery store for bread and the aisle was 25 feet long and had dozens of varieties. Lots of stuff I used to take for granted suddenly felt like such a blessing.

ALasagnaForOne

Image by Foundry Co from Pixabay

Now that college has become a standard requirement for so many jobs and careers, there is a massive push by high schools to get their graduating students accepted and enrolled at an undergraduate college.

On the whole, that's undoubtedly a great thing. A more educated workforce will be prepared to solve the most complex issues facing human beings in the next several decades.

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Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.

The person on the other end of a 911 call has a truly remarkable job.

For those who don't play that professional role, we hope to never encounter the 911 call interaction. But if we do find ourselves making that call, the moment is an anomaly in our lives.

The chaos, the panic, the racing heart, and the desperation are all emotions we, ideally, don't experience on a regular basis.

But for the operator on the other end, our call is one in a long line of calls they've received all day, and all the workdays before that one.

It's difficult to imagine being embedded in those uniquely urgent, emergency moments all the time.

Some Redditors who are on the other end of that call shared their experiences on the job.

WhimsicalxxButcher asked, "911 dispatchers what has been your most creepy/unnerving call?"

For a few, the most unnerving moments were the calm callers.

There was something just so eerie about how level-headed the faceless human being on the other end could be through such a desperate, tragic moment.

Almost Clinical 

"I had a friend who worked as a 911 dispatcher and he always said the worst call he ever had was a ~20 year old kid who committed suicide by mixing a bunch of chemicals together in his car to produce hydrogen sulfide gas."

"He said that the most unnerving part was hearing him calmly listing off the chemicals, the type of gas produced, and the effects of hydrogen sulfide on the body (namely the almost instant death it causes at high concentrations)."

"He ended the call by providing the address of the parking lot he was in and saying that nobody should approach the vehicle without hazmat equipment."

"Apparently after that there was a whooshing sound as he dumped the last chemical into the mix, and then the line went dead silent aside for a quiet fizzing noise."

"I know that call screwed him up because he almost never talks about stuff that happens to him on the job. He quit a few months later to go into construction management, and frankly I can't blame him."

-- iunoyou

Planned Out 

"A woman called me, saying she was going to kill herself. She was gassing herself. Gave me her name & address then said she was just going to lie down and 'go to sleep.' And stopped responding to me."

"I kept the line open, trying to get her to speak to me, and eventually heard officers forcing their way in to find her body. I guess she just wanted someone to find her body."

-- mozgw4

Before It Set In 

"When I got a call from a 6 year old who got home from school and laid down to take a nap with his dad. His dad never woke up."

"The kid was so calm when calling it broke my heart."

"I ended up leaving dispatch shortly after. I was good at compartmentalizing the job for the year I was doing it, but it would've broken me in the long run."

-- tasha7712

Other 911 operators were unfortunate enough to receive a call from the very last person they wanted to hear from: a loved one.

These dispatchers' unique position gave them the unexpected access to a family member or friend at their most dire moments.

No More of That 

"My family member is a long time first responder, and 'retired' into doing dispatch. He heard the address (someone else was taking the call) and realized it was his daughter's house."

"He rushed over there just in time to see them wheeling her body out. Overdose."

"Five months later, he was called to his ex-wife's place because his grandson (son of the daughter who recently passed) had his door locked, lights on, but wasn't responding to his grandma."

"He broke the door down and found him deceased in bed. Overdose."

"He's very stoic after years of all sorts of traumatic situations but my heart hurts whenever I think of what all of this must have felt like. Like sand through your fingers."

-- bitchyhouseplant

Knowing the Address

"Not me, but my grandma. I was sitting in the dispatch office, (very small one only 2 dispatchers including my grandma) but she put out a dispatch that there was a gun shot from my best friends address."

"My heart sank to my stomach and broke later that day. He committed suicide."

-- OntaiSenpuu

When it Happened 

"My uncle passing away. Worked as a small town dispatcher for a year or so. Had a bunch of messed up stuff happen on shift, but this call came in in the still hours of the night. Small town, so not many calls after midnight."

"I answered and recognized the name and address on caller id. Aunt was in a frenzy so didn't recognize my voice. I remained calm and got ems and fire rolling to them, but by my aunt's own words he was already blue."

"I went thru debriefing and mandated therapy for a couple other things that happened, but never really talked to anyone about this. I just try not to think about it."

"That was the call I figured out I needed to find a different job."

-- dangitjon

Finally, some simply had a front row seat to sudden tragedy.

These operators were flies on the wall when disaster struck. They never asked to witness what they witnessed, but sometimes that came with the territory.

A Holiday Tragedy 

"My mom is a 911 dispatcher. Early on she said one Christmas Eve while working she got a call from an elderly lady who's husband had just collapsed(and died) from a heart attack and in the background Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas music was playing on blast."

"The lady was screaming and crying and begging for her husband to wake up but my mom could hear his gurgling in his last breathes. She doesn't listen to or watch Alvin and the chipmunks since."

-- Blueflowerbluehair

What is it About Christmas?

"Christmas night. 911 call with crying child on the other end. A neighbor had run her car over her mom during a domestic."

"The mom crawled to the porch bleeding and the child saw the car coming back. I had her hide quietly in a closet with the cordless phone."

"The 10 year old child was crying and screamed that she hated Christmas. She was afraid of the police when they got there."

"I kept her on the phone until she felt safe enough to give the phone to an officer. I almost fainted after that call was over. Had nightmares for a while."

-- 2FunBoofer

Close to Home 

"Not a dispatcher but I handle radio communications for the Coast Guard. One night I was on the radio and got a call from an 11 year old kid whose boat had started to sink. He was out with his dad and 6 year old brother."

"They had been hit by another boat and his father got knocked unconscious. I remember the entire conversation up until the radio had gone underwater."

"They ended up finding his dad floating on his back alive but the two boys didn't make it. That one really fu**ed with me because my two littlest brothers were around the same age as the youngest."

-- HIRSH2243

A Horrible Clock 

"Another one that stays with me was the man who called in. It was the anniversary of his adult son having hanged himself. He'd now come home to find his wife had done the same."

"That date is always going to be a black day for him."

-- mozgw4


If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/

Again, we hope you never have to use the 911 call in your life. Nobody wants to be involved in a sudden emergency or a tragic incident.

But hopefully, if you do, an operator like one of these thoughtful, sensitive Redditors is on the other end.

Image by Nguyen Dinh Lich from Pixabay

When I was moving on from middle school to high school my parents had me tested for the "gifted" program. By some miracle I passed and was accepted. And then I turned it down. Everyone was irritated. "This will pave the way for any college you want! You'll learn so much!" his path will set you up for life!" Every adult tried valiantly to sell me this merchandise but in my gut I just wasn't buying it. So I "settled" a level below, merely advanced classes. And upon reflection... it was the best choice I ever made.

Redditor u/dauntlessdaisy was wondering how far some in life got by asking... For those of you who were considered "gifted" in school, what are you doing with your life now?
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Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

There's a million things that can happen to you while out on on the road.

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