Risky move teaches life lessons

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I’m trying to understand the definition of culture shock. Since I’ve moved here about two months ago, I’ve had more people ask if I’ve experienced culture shock. A reasonable question since I was raised in Atlanta. I respond with the truth, which is Greenville was everything I expected it to be and it has been wonderful.

However, it was just recently that I did go back to Atlanta to visit my parents and that is when I truly experienced culture shock.

After two months of living in a smaller town, I quickly forgot how to drive on an eight-lane highway. My mom just said, “Oh, it’s like riding a bike.” Too bad this bike has four wheels and every school bully has bigger bikes that want to run you off the road.

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Not only forgetting how to drive on a highway, I forgot how many lights were on in Atlanta. I missed the quietness of downtown Greenville and the simple streetlight on the corner. The big billboards with commercials screaming from them suddenly gave me a headache.

It’s not that Atlanta is any better than Greenville and it’s not that Greenville is any better than Atlanta. It’s just comparing apples and oranges. The transition to Greenville is more than just moving into a house, becoming a number and living day-to-day not saying hello to anyone.

I’ve met more faces that say hello, more people that are always looking out for me, and more people to offer a helping hand in two months than I ever did in Atlanta.

I was driving to work one morning and as I passed the cows, horses, giant trees and open fields, I couldn’t help but think that every person needs to have this experience. Stepping out of a comfort zone is a difficult process, but every person needs to experience it or they will miss out on opportunities, life lessons and the chance to meet a great community.

I took a risk to move to Greenville, and it has taught me more about life than my 21 years of schooling ever did.