Living in Two Vastly Different Cultures Will Challenge What You Believe is Real

Doublespeak becomes second nature as you make futile efforts to foster harmony

Harmony S
6 min readMay 19, 2022


Photo by Yeyo Salas on Unsplash

Trigger warning: Possible sensitivities from people thinking I’m whitesplaining other cultures (I’m not; I’m just sharing anecdotes. Take everything with a grain of salt.)

So, I’ve never really talked a lot about my personal life so far on Medium, but I assume it’s a pretty interesting story.

In short, I won a couple of scholarships to study Arabic in Jordan in 2018 and decided to live there on and off since then, (except for now it’s more like on).

I taught English for awhile at a language center for adults founded by a couple of Americans and winded up marrying a student. Cute right? He’s three years younger than me. I love bringing up that detail.

We had our wedding in February and have been living with his parents since then (which is actually awesome).

While my experience obviously cannot compete with someone who grew up here, having an experience of living for awhile someplace else in stark contrast to your own background (white suburban American chick) does a lot more than simply broaden your culinary palette.

Namely, that you can just about expect everything you think to be true about the world to go up in the air and learning to navigate a conversation while bearing that in mind is an ongoing process in diplomacy. Like I’m not even sure where to begin. I could probably give a couple hot takes in this article.

Also I really don’t wanna come off like I am essentializing the experiences of ALL people (though I hate that phrase, it’s very #notall___ to me and I feel like people are more willing to get offended than listen).

So take what I say as: ok, this person is talking about their experiences, which may or may not be shared among other people!

One of the questions I always got here while I was teaching English was: “Why do Americans throw their parents into homes when they get old?”

Of course, if you feel a little offended that some people think that about us, I don’t blame you. Then again, it’s also…



Harmony S

H A P P Y and you should be TOO!!! LIFE IS AMAZING 👏🦝🦄🌺🍭I write for ILLUMINATION, The Memoirist, Fuck Niches, and The Orange Journal.