One of the refreshing things I’ve found about being in a new culture is that time when I become an expert in that culture. This first occurred when we had visitors. While I’m light years behind the cultural experience of a local and most expats have more experience than me, visitors provide that unique time when I get to be some-what of an expert. When visitors came, I was no longer the newest and most green. I was the experienced one, the expert (in a very limited sense).
Now this is not just about being proud about my new learning, or being able to put others down because they don’t know as much as me. The main reason that being an expert in a new culture is refreshing is because I’ve spent so much time learning from and relying on others. This has its own benefits (watch for the next post). But there is something nice about being able to share what you’ve learned with someone who is learning it for the first time, rather than with someone (a local) who has lived it their whole lives. Now I can share some of the insights I’ve learned, in a place where a lot of the time others have shared valuable cultural insights with me. It’s a nice change.