What’s normal? The short answer is nothing. I think storing pots and pans in the oven is normal, yet my college roommates called me weird for it. I think putting lime on popcorn is normal, yet my friends have been hesitant to try it. I think dipping cookies in coffee is normal, yet I’ve seen the weird looks countless times. I used to think kissing people on the cheek is a normal way to greet somebody, until I freaked someone out. With the exception of closing our eyes to sleep, nothing is normal. Relativity will forever define what normal is. Or who knows? Maybe there are people who have mastered the art of sleeping with their eyes wide open, and I haven’t had an opportunity to learn about it yet.
How often normal changes for you depends on how your environment changes as you grow older. I was born in a first-world country where I received higher education. I was raised in a developing country where I learned my first language, Spanish. I’ve spent the last year living in a third-world country where I taught second graders. My normal has changed throughout the years, and I’ve also gotten to learn new norms through the privilege of traveling.
Today, it’s normal to be called Miss and to use a water bucket to flush the toilet.
One year ago, it was normal to get a pizza every time I worked.
Eight years ago, it was normal to be judged as stupid because I had a thick foreign accent.
Nine years ago, it was normal to not understand a word of English.
Fifteen years ago, it was normal to watch SpongeBob without parental permission.
Prejudice and assumptions are often a by-product of the introduction of a foreign normal. I invite you to put such by-product in the trash—open up your mind to new normals, new experiences and relationships. Open up your mind to a new world.
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