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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Australia or New Zealand (01/15/09)

TITLE: The Unexpected
By Lucas Fyeld
01/21/09


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Preconceptions are dangerous, but theyíre unavoidable because theyíre often unknown. You donít always realize you have one Ö until itís hitting you in the face.
My wife and I are both just over forty, but weíve only been married a year and a half. We went together to vote for our awesome nationís next president, and we Ö got hit in the face. It was a little tiny thing. You would have thought it would have been totally irrelevant, but I went in with one preconception, and she went in with different one. We stayed fussy (okay, well, it was just one of us that was fussy, really) all day long about that little thing. That little thing that we had no way of knowing was there. I just expected it to be a certain way. Thatís the way I am. Thatís the way I think. Itís not natural for me to think Ö that anyone else thinks Ö any other way.
But they do. My wife did, and Iím working on learning to expect Ö her to expect different things than I do.
Two men are in trouble with the law in California right now because they didnít know the rules in the USA. Theyíre from another country, and I donít know the details, but it sounds like what they did would have been perfectly legal and acceptable in their homeland. They didnít realize that we had different expectations about selling a person into bondage.
A man ďsoldĒ his fourteen-year-old daughter to an eighteen-year-old male. The men agreed on terms, and it seems the girl was in agreement as well. This sounds atrocious to many, but thatís just our culture. It is what has become ingrained into our expectations. The seller proves my point, when he goes to the authorities in this country and tells them exactly what heís done. He doesnít think there is anything wrong with his transaction. I repeat: this must be the accepted practice of the entire culture where he comes from.
Now, I am not agreeing with the man. But I will admit that if Iíd been raised in that culture Ö then I probably would agree with him. If everything Iíd witnessed my entire life said that it was okay to sell fourteen-year-olds, then I would just Ö expect Ö that it would continue to be okay to sell forteen-year-olds.
If I move into a new family (like I did) Ö.Or if I move to another country, or if I move to the other side of the equator, then I should expect to spend some time relearning my expectations about the world.
Thereís a place where the women have their teeth sharpened so they are all pointed like the teeth you might imagine on Dracula. There are all kinds of cultural practices that are bizarre or unacceptable to others. There are a great number of places where the traffic on the roads flows in the opposite direction than what it does in the USA. When I go out onto the highway this afternoon, Iím going to expect the other traffic to be going my direction Ö on the same side of the road as I am on. When I use the toilet at the home of a friend, here in my own town, Iím going to expect (although I wonít likely bother to check) the water to flow in the same direction when I flush.
Be careful of what you expect. The water in the toilet circles the opposite direction in Australia.


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This article has been read 272 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/22/09
Lots of things to think about here.

I did find it a bit vague and unfocused.

Your writing is pleasant to read.
Karlene Jacobsen 01/23/09
You've made a lot of valid points.
This was well written, however, maybe choose one point or two and expand.