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New country, new habits

When Maya and me arrived at The Hope House, there were many things expecting us that were new to us. As this place is going to be our home for the next six months and we are not on a two week vacation which is about sightseeing and relaxing only, we obviously want to adapt and adjust these habits and traditions.

The first thing I noticed was that everybody takes off their shoes before entering a building and walks barefoot inside of it. Of course I am used to taking off my shoes, but getting rid of socks was new to me. I understood quite quickly that socks are really unnecessary under this weather circumstances.

The next big difference to Germany is, that Indians do not use cutlery for eating, but their hands. I have already read about this before travelling here, but it was still a big change for me. Eating with your hand is not as difficult as I imagined it to be, it only becomes tricky, when the food is whether hot or liquid. The first few days I was really struggling with it a bit, but after two weeks I can confidently confirm, that it is just a matter of habit.

When Indians agree or are fine with something, they do not nod their head up and down, but towards their left and right shoulders. I also have read about this before, but getting used to was and definitely still is an ongoing process. As a European, of course I mistake it for the exact opposite- disagreeing. One day I asked a girl if her day was nice and she shook her head in this motion with a big smile on her face. I got so confused until I realized, that her answer was ''yes“. I think this is something I cannot overcome, because even though I know about this Indian habit, I will always need at least three seconds to liquidate the meaning of this head gesture.

Last but not the least, sitting cross-legged and on the floor is not a completely new habit to me, but the amount of time I do it sure is. There is a reason, why taking use of this posture can also be called „sitting Indian style“. Whether it is while taking care of the babies in the adoption agency, while praying or just while hanging out together: This is a continuous sitting position.

To be honest, at first I was a bit overwhelmed by all the new things I have to, or rather want to pick up on. Also, I am sure, there are still plenty of habits and traditions I do not know about yet, but I feel like this overburdening has somehow transformed into excitement.

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