As I started to peruse the two books for this week, I had a flashback to our first year. We read several books to get us ready for our advance to SA that gave us a historical perspective of Christianity in Africa and the affects of apartheid specifically in SA. I had a moment of clarity that this will be our final advance and it just does not seem right. The path has been traveled to quickly for my liking, (I know it is part of life but so what). It reminded me that my oldest son would be graduating with his undergraduate degree next spring and my twins would be graduating and leaving home next spring as well. Not to mention the Elite 8’s will be walking in graduation as well. I do not do well with endings, thus this moment of realization hit me fairly hard.
So, on to the show. The CultureShock! series of books is, according to the publisher, “a dynamic and indispensable range of guides for those travellers who are looking to truly understand the countries they are visiting.”  In looking for some insight to this series I happened upon the Culture Matters website run by a gentleman from the Netherlands by the name of Chris Smit. He is a consultant on culture differences and business and his website recommends this series. He also gave a Ted Talk on culture differences below:
In it he gives the listener insight into some things we have already read through in our book, The Culture Map by Erin Meyer. It was interesting just to get a bit of a refresher.
The CultureShock! books for both Great Britain and London were easy to read and gave good insight. I have always loved British comedy, I grew up watching Monty Python with my dad, Benny Hill (on the DL), but my favorite has always been the Black Adder series. It stars Rowan Atkinson as the title character and through the five seasons follows a family line from the top of society (Prince Black Adder) to a finish as a captain doomed in the trenches of WWI. As an American, I know that the series is not a true reflection of British society, just as series like Brooklyn 99 is not a true picture of American society. There are truths to be found I would imagine but it is fun to follow. One of my favorite quotes from the series comes in the last season from the Captain Edmund Blackadder “I am a fully rounded human being, with a degree from the university of life, a diploma from the school of hard knocks, and three gold stars from the kindergarten of getting the shit kicked out of me.” (Sorry for the coarse language.) I say all of this so that you understand, having only been to London once in my life, I am no expert on its culture. Thankfully, Terry Tan and Orin Hargraves give the reader an intense introduction to the culture.The two books cover Great Britain and then drill down into London so that the reader can slide into the day to day life without causing a scene. One of the chapters I really enjoyed was Tan’s discussion of the different dialects and nuances of the English language. It starts with a quote of Tan’s journal from 1984:”In Yorkshire they say ‘coom oop’ and see me sometime. In London, ‘cor blimey’ is explosive Cockney exclamation. In arty Chelsea, a ‘nice hice’ is a ‘nice house’ through stiff upper lips. In Britain, you’ll hear more accents than in an UN conference”  The chapter describes the British attitude of not learning multiple languages, “Few English find the need to learn a second language; a recent survey showed that 90 percent of students drop French by the time they do their O-Level exams at age 15 or 16, and they generally feel that anyone who lives here has a duty to learn English.”  I wonder if this is still the case 11 years after the writing of this book.The statement above can be ripped out of some in the U.S. when confronted with a group that does not see the need to speak English but keep their mother tongue. It is an interesting observation, there are arguments for both sides. d
I also enjoyed the section on religion in the UK. Coming on the heels of our reading the past week. The snapshot given again is from over a decade past and I would be curious how changes in immigration has possibly changed the dynamics. Although one thing in particular stood out to me, it also hit me in Hong Kong. Tan writes, “The undending queues of tourists with fingers poised on cameras can be a headache to church elders trying to conduct services”  His statement brought back the uneasiness I felt in filming and taking pictures in the Buddhist temple we visited. People were trying to worship while tourists flocked around and gawked at the sight. I wrote in my visual ethnography how uncomfortable each of us would be if the same thing happened in the church where we either serve or attend during one of our services. Whether you agree or disagree with a philosophy or religion, you should at least have the common courtesy of respecting the time of worship.
Perusing these books has made me itchy to get to our next advance. Reading through the posts will bring the finality of our program to my heart. Both are good and both can wait just a bit I think.
 “CultrueShock! Series Description.” CultureShock! Bali. Accessed June 13, 2019. https://www.marshallcavendish.com/marshallcavendish/genref/CultureShock-Bali_B1002_Singapore.aspx.
 Tan, Terry. Cultureshock! A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2008.257.
 Ibid. 257-258.
 Ibid. 33.