Tuesday Topic: Staying up on American culture

Do you consider it important to stay up on/connected with what is going on in American culture? Why or why not? If this is an important value of yours, how do you go about keeping up with our home culture? What are some elements of American culture that have popped up and passed you by since you’ve been overseas? (Here are just a few things that I have had to Google to know what my friends are talking about back home: iRobot, Vitamix and green smoothies, Keurig, Zumba, Stroller Strides, Bumbo seat…)

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)

7 Responses to “Tuesday Topic: Staying up on American culture”

  1. 1 Kara Coe May 23, 2012 at 6:06 am

    I consider it fairly important to stay connected… but then I read your list and must say I’ve heard of only three items! And those, I’m really guessing to understand what they are.

    My sister and I talk often, and I try to be on facebook occasionally. We also enjoy American tv shows (usually bought through iTunes) and movies. We spend a summer every other year in the States, and this year are doing an ‘extra’ trip for just a month. The goal of all of that is relational connection, so I find out about things that are important to my family and friends. I guess beyond that, I figure there are tons of things we’re missing out on, and that’s just fine.

  2. 2 Becka May 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I don’t think it is important. However, in the same breath, I do stay connected as best I can. I find it entertaining (red faced), like I used to find People Magazine entertaining while sitting at the OBGYN’s office.

    If fads come through my news feed (and the often do because it now seems no one knows what real news is) then I read about it. I found out about Silly bandz through an internet news source and asked my home church to collect some for the kids here.

    I also read/skim a TON of blogs and have a pinterest account. These things have helped me to stay “caught up”.

    Yeh, but, if I didn’t have access, it wouldn’t bother me. I am more more interested in the fact that finally, after 2 and a half years, I can understand when new fads and cultural influences appear on the scene in my new country.

    (ps, i don’t know who Justin Bieber is aside from a news flash that he had lost his pants during a concert. I also don’t know who Adele is aside from having won so many awards. I have not heard any songs from either of them)

    (PS again: Who writes news articles these days?)

  3. 3 Ashley L May 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    I enjoy staying somewhat up on culture because I feel like it helps me stay close to loved ones and also helps a lot with re-entry on furloughs when I don’t feel like American life has totally passed me by while I’ve been away (though I certainly still have plenty of re-entry stress). I hope that it will help whenever we fully transition back to the US down the road. I also theoretically want to keep my kids connected to American culture (the good parts) because I have heard so many times how hard it is for MKs when they leave the foreign mission field. I would love to help counter at least some of that for my kids, but know that I will in no way come close to keeping them 100% in the know. I haven’t yet given much intentional thought as to how to help them connect with the American culture of their generation though, with the exception of our decision to try to get back to spend time with family in the US about every year and a half. We do normal life stuff there, so hopefully they get to connect with the culture during those times? Another important thing for us is being back for Christmas every so often, since that is such an important part of our family culture. I was curious what others thought about this issue or if you thought about it because I realized that though I find it important, I haven’t really given it too much conscious thought to how to go about staying connected and up on culture.

    I think the internet is what most naturally keep me connected to what’s going on in American culture (facebook, blogs, and the news). What an amazing time for us to be missionaries! Can you imagine what re-entry must have been like for the missionaries even 20 years ago? How about 100 years ago?

  4. 4 Phyllis May 25, 2012 at 4:42 am

    My husband and I were just talking about this! I don’t keep up, and that really slapped me in the face last time we went back. I wish someone could just hand me a list of terms, fads, trends and people that have popped up in the past four years. Oh, and then I could make my own list of international and Eastern European culture to hand out to others, too. 🙂

    The internet does help. I just had to look up Zumba yesterday. Being on Facebook helps me to know what to look up. I have a lot of trouble when I’m talking to people face-to-face, though. I should have kept a list of the things that baffled me last time, because I can’t remember many of them now. “Do your girls need crocks?” I remember that. (Well, now I know that she said “Crocs,” but that’s what I heard then. And I just answered that I don’t know. End of conversation. 😦 )

    Here’s another question: how do you handle being so clueless? I think it’s somewhat inevitable, even if we try to prepare specifically. That list I dream about probably doesn’t really exist and wouldn’t be infallible anyway. So, what do you do? Last time I just ended up kind of standing there blankly, while conversations went on around me. My husband says that I should just talk about what I know, and they can talk about what they know, and that’s that. But I find that conversations don’t go very far that way. Any thoughts? Do you constantly ask for explanations?

    We’re leaving for our trip to the states in, um, TEN days.

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