space/time

space/time

spacetimefoam300

on space time foam, samuele ghilardi

There is also the concept of personal space. For many others and me common courtesy is important. Many international students I have seen will walk five across on the sidewalk when there are other people who are also trying to walk on the street. Many international students here on campus will walk uncomfortably close to you or sit/stand at a close distance. I struggle with these minor incidents because I am quick to assume that they should know these simple rules of everyday interaction and I forget that they are from other countries and maybe in their culture what seems disrespectful to me may be common courtesy or a common practice to them. The way I react when I run into these minor instances is I will display unfriendly body language, such as rolling my eyes or I may breath heavy, and how I react internally is having very rude thoughts such as “They are in America now they should act accordingly” or “maybe they should go back to China” (or wherever they are from). I know I shouldn’t have these types of thoughts because it makes it seem as if there is something flawed about people from other countries and that I don’t appreciate their differences. I also know that back in the day or even in today’s age many Europeans felt/feel the same about African-Americans like myself.
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Although to many it may seem petty, I find myself often judging others that walk on the “wrong” side of the sidewalk. I have always been told that when walking on a sidewalk, you stay on your right side. Just like highways and other roads, having a universal side to walk on allows smoother flow of foot traffic on city sidewalks. However, I find people from other cultures walking on their left side of the sidewalk on a daily basis, which often jams up traffic and causes issues. Whenever this happens I get a little perturbed and often find myself thinking that the individual must be stubborn and unwilling to pick up on the cultural norms of the area, since they are still practicing their own cultural norms. If I were in their shoes, I like to think that I would be able to pick up on their customs quickly (such as walking on the other side in different countries). That being said, I am sure I would follow my norms frequently because it is what I am accustomed to and am comfortable with.

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Privacy is important to me because I think that every person needs a certain degree of personal space and feeling of security within themselves where they do not feel in danger of being publicly exposed about an issue or secret. I cherish privacy a lot in my own life. I think that it is important for myself and for others that we all have a certain degree of privacy in our lives and I think it is an important quality that can go sometimes unnoticed. When privacy is spoiled, it can really hurt a person’s reputation or life in general.

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One very tough facet of my culture I have difficulty sharing might seem harmless to others, yet I still seem to struggle with it: timeliness. While I was being raised here in south-central Wisconsin, I have always been taught that being on time is everything, and that it is not enough to blame being late on a transportation issue (such as a blown tire) or another individual, such as a parent or friend. In my experience I have found that many other cultures, in general, tend to be more relaxed when it comes to timing. In fact, I have acquaintances from my same hometown that were raised differently than me, and these people were raised to regard timeliness as less important than other factors. It is very difficult for me to share this part of my culture with others for a variety of reasons. Primarily, I always seem to struggle explaining why being on time matters to me, beyond just saying I was raised this way or that it is just respectful to be early or on time. Up until this exercise, I had always viewed tardiness as disrespectful and a sign of carelessness. However, other cultures stress being on time less than other values. This is not right nor wrong, just different from my cultural practices.

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