it’s so easy to classify something as strange. or odd. nothing is wrong with the act itself, but i’ve learned through time, that strange is most of the times, simply different. and that’s not the same. specially, when you are in a different country.

please don’t mistake me: i’m not about to explain the way the world works or anything. actually, the concept is very simple, i believe. but if it’s not obvious for you, bare with me a bit more.

from the couple of long term abroad experiences i had, it has become more clear to me that when one arrives to a different country he immediately goes through the this-is-strange phase. everything out of ordinary is strange. an uncommon habit, strange. an exotic food, strange. a weird bloke, strange. even the laws can be strange. it takes a while for one to realize that strange is frequently a strong and inadequate word. some never don’t.

go to a country with a closed mind, and everything will look strange, awkward if not offending. but if one does some effort to learn the why’s and how’s, the this-is-strange phase will slowly shift over the time to a this-is-different phase. and that’s when you can take the best out of that experience.

don’t mistake what i’m trying to explain with simply getting used to what is initially weird. it’s more than that actually. i believe that most of the times, it’s the tiny little bits of how a society works that explains it. all the unwritten rules, all the nuances that make a country more or less different than all the others, all the things that  the unwary tourist doesn’t know about. it takes time to fully understand a different society or culture and it’s something one can hardly learn only from books. you really have to see it from close and sometimes, live it yourself.

to sum up, there will always be goods, bads and different points of view in each society and it’s up to us to take the best out of that. i believe that by understanding those differences, one has the best opportunity to question himself about some false dogmas and prejudices in himself or around the world and to learn from that. i truly believe that this makes us better persons.

2 strings to “strange vs different”

  1. chamki says

    Paulo, I would like to send you a postcard as a thank you not for the postcrossing website.
    I’m one of the postcrossers.
    You don’t have to send me one.
    lotsa love,

  2. Marcia Bretas says

    Paulo, aderi ao postcrossing website em Dezembro último e dos 3 postais q enviei em Dez, apenas 2 acusaram o recebimento. Como sou novata neste site, gostaria de entender por quê tendo escrito pelo link do login para as destinatárias DEPOIS q ambas acusarm o recebimento das minhas correspondências, as mesmas não fizeram contato…? Há alguma restrição qto a isso? Será q vc poderia me esclarecer, por favor? Grata, Marcia