Since leaving my home in Kentucky, I was told that no one in the world is like the people I grew up with. And no truer statement has ever been said. It has taken me nineteen years but I finally understand that no place in the world is like my home.
People are just not nice. I know, lots of people are shocked to hear I'm just figuring this out, but it actually never occurred to me before. See, I don't do much traveling, so I don't meet many different people. The way I grew up just conditioned me to expect certain things out of people. I expect the cashier at the grocery to carry on a conversation with me; I expect the person next to me waiting for the bus to ask me how my day has been; I expect drivers to wave to me when I cross the street, not try to run me down. My expectations, obviously, have been downgraded since I got to D.C.
Although my realization that people are usually not nice is relatively new, I have grown in this understanding a lot lately in my life. I went to school in northern Indiana my first semester and I was miserable and could not figure out why. I now realize that I was in culture shock - the people were, well, northern. In all the times I had actually traveled out of Kentucky I never concluded that the reason I thought everyone was so rude was because we were actually coming from very different cultures. Upon realizing this, I just deduced that I could never live outside of Kentucky without being absolutely miserable.
You can imagine my nervousness then in anticipating an entire semester in Washington D.C. - I was terrified. Though my nerves were shot, I was determined to make the best of this semester since I planned on working in D.C. later down the road. So I tried as hard as I could to prepare myself for exceptionally mean people. I fully expected to arrive and have people shout at me for no reason, refuse to let me sit next to them on the metro and spit on me. However, what I found was pretty shocking.