Wisdom from the Star Trek archives...
When we did our missions training last January, we learned all about culture shock. They told us that we would inevitably go through various stages and may exhibit unusual behavior and extreme emotions as we adjusted to living in a new environment. However, we never thought that our unusual behavior would take the form of an uncanny addiction to cheesy Science Fiction TV shows.
Of course we don't have access to American television out here, but we can get American TV shows on DVD for unbelievably cheap prices! Anyway, we've made it through five seasons of Stargate SG-1 and we've just started on the more well known Star Trek: The Next Generation series. We were beginning to wonder at our increasing nerdiness, when we saw this conversation and everything seemed to become clear...
Picard to guest: "Please, follow Commander Riker's instructions so our ship can get back to its normal routine!"
Picard: Whats so funny?
Riker: Well, the unexpected is our normal routine!
That last phrase caught our attention, because it just about sums up our life in Thailand. As we began to think about it more, we realized that our recent obsession with sci-fi is probably because the exploits of these fictional characters often seems oddly similar to what we're going through as we encounter more and more of Thai & Akha culture. In almost every episode, they encounter people (or should I say races) with different cultures & beliefs. Often the whole storyline is based on how the crew adapts & adjusts to these challenges. ...And the best part is that every situation & problem is nicely tied up & resolved by the end of the 45 minute show.
I guess we secretly derive encouragement from the cultural victories of our friends on the Starship Enterprise. Are we a little pathetic? Probably. But at least we can blame our nerdiness on culture shock!