For my first year of college I had a single dorm room--which meant that I never got used to having a roommate. So for my second year, I decided to change things up a bit and applied for a four-bedroom apartment--all of which my roommates would be random. As nerve-wracking as that was, I have been blessed with the most amazing people to live with.
As we get to know each other, and each others ways of life, I've found myself intrigued and interested in all of their aspects of living, home-life, education, and so much more. I have learned more about other cultures, those diverse and separate from my own, and places I never even dreamed of going to in this past month than I ever had from a book. I found out that what I find normal, isn't normal at all and that I might seem weird to them.
Its been more than eye-opening, it has made me want to travel that much more and see other parts of the world more than I ever have before. So here's why living with culturally-diverse roommates is the best:
1. All the new food
I've learned that popping chicken nuggets in a microwave doesn't count as a meal, that not everyone just drinks a glass of milk like I do, and that a real taco night isn't like any tacos I've ever had before. Its amazing to me that what I consider to be "normal" meals, aren't all that normal at all.
2. Other religious belief and culture aspects
When I first came home to find one of my roommates shoes lined neatly outside her door, I thought it was a little odd. But that is the culture in Taiwan! Its what everybody does, so even though its abnormal to me, its just a daily occurrence for her back home.
3. The diverse home-life
One of my roommates grew up in a big city, all apartments and all the hustle and bustle of that lifestyle. One of my roommates grew up on a few acres where mountain lions are seen walking around sometimes. I grew up in a neighborhood in the suburbs and its just so fascinating to me that that is not the only way to grow up because I am so used to it.
4. Education is a privilege
I thought going to school from 7:30 am-2:30 pm was way too long. Little did I know, 7:30 am-9:30 pm is actually the usual in some places. Its a privilege to be able to go to college, to only know one language, to see education as something I "should" do, instead of "have" to do.
5. Holidays and celebrations
Other parts of the world, or the country, don't celebrate Christmas, or Halloween, or birthdays exactly like I do. Having a birthday cake and singing may seem a little strange to other people, even though I think its tradition. Learning about other celebrations and holidays has really opened my mind to everything the world has to offer.
6. The social norms
The latest music. The best movies. The saying of "dude". The clothing. Its ridiculous to think that thats all I know, is what is around me, when there is so much more out there and I've learned that by living with culturally-diverse roommates.
7. Appearances are cultural
In Taiwan, they take amazing care of their skin. They get facials once a month, and look for lightener over bronzer, and carry an umbrella when its sunny outside. In the United States, it seems to be just the opposite with tanning booths and spray tans galore on every corner.
8. Everything is Americanized
Sometimes this is obvious--like going to Taco Bell for "tacos", or going to Olive Garden for "Italian". But sometimes its not so obvious--like when I found out orange chicken is actually an American dish and not at all Asian.
9. I'm spoiled
I am so spoiled with how I have grown up as an American. I only need to know the English language to get by, and I don't have to learn Japanese or French or Spanish from the time I was five, for everywhere else I go. Growing up knowing English makes you spoiled and thats the honest truth.
10. We aren't so different after all
For as much as I appreciate all of our differences, I also have found out that we really are the same in many ways. In calling our parents. In hanging out with our friends. In smiling and laughing. In playing Uno and sitting around watching American Horror Story. In dancing our butts off on Friday nights. For as diverse as we are, we are also so similar.