Two months have passed since I arrived in Maputo, and the state of extreme cultural shock has ended. It is becoming easier to look back and reflect on my experiences and reactions.One thing is becoming clearer and clearer to me: my life is completely different. Not worse or better, just different. Completely.
The big things like climate, social life and way of living have of course completely changed. But as a Norwegian exchange student in a Sub-Saharan African city, I was prepared for that. I mean, I already knew that “Africa” is extremely hot, and that “African” people tend to be more direct in social settings.
The real difference though, lies in the small things; Going to sleep at 20:00 because of the winter-like darkness, buying liquor at a gas station, and music everywhere! Isolated, these things are not good or bad seen from a Norwegian perspective, at least not from a Claus perspective. But they are not isolated – they come in hundreds and hundreds, and around every corner you will find a new one. You never know what to expect!
So, how to cope with an everyday-life like this? What I found out for myself is that I have to stop believing I will understand how everything works around here. Instead of trying to adapt to all the unexpected situations, I rather adapt to the feeling of never knowing what to expect.
Besides from culture shock and extreme heat, these two months have certainly been the most interesting ones of my life. I am really looking forward to the rest of the exchange!