Culture Shock: Dirt

cultureshock dirt

Apart from the bugs and the noise, the other major problem we encountered when we moved to this house was how dirty it was. Dust was everywhere. A couple Indians had even “cleaned” the house before we moved in. When we arrived, we were expecting clean. According to them it was clean, so we started calling it “India clean.” We spent two full days cleaning the house, we even used hydrochloric acid and thinner, and it was still dirty because the dust had been accumulating over the years since the previous tenants didn’t care about cleaning, and the owners don’t seem to care either. Parts of it are so dirty that it won’t be possible to get clean unless they are ripped apart and replaced.

dirty window
All the windows in the house look like this. (except the ones in the bedroom which we bought.)

The dust in India is insane, it manages to hit every possible surface. It is a must to sweep every single day because the dust will magically find its way back inside. Our floor manages to still be dirty even after our cleaner has swept and mopped. Indians seem to be used to it, they don’t seem to care much about cleanliness as we do in the West. It’s like they don’t even see it.

We went to town with Shekhar yesterday to get some passport photos, and while we waited, we were talking about how dirty India is; all the shops, all the roads, all the floors and walls surrounding the shops… Josh was wondering out loud why India is so dirty; even the Chinese who also have a super dense population, manage to keep their country clean. Shekhar blamed the government but just sounded like another excuse to which Josh responded: “the government isn’t responsible to keep this privately owned shop and this floor clean”.

I am looking forward to the day when we can move to a newly built house (preferably a house that we design), or even a new apartment, because as mentioned, the dust in this old house has been accumulating over time, and just now a couple of Westerners decided to move in and start cleaning it daily. I am a bit more used to the dirtiness now than I was 2 months ago, only a tiny tiny bit. I mean, I am more comfortable being here than I was the first couple of days when we moved in 2 months ago, when I was too grossed out to even step on the floor barefoot and I was sweeping like 5 times a day. It obviously helps that we try to keep the house clean.

sweeping
One of the first times I swept the house with an Indian broom.

We keep reminding ourselves that God has His reasons for choosing this house for us. He might be trying to purposely put us out of our comfort zone, He might be doing some internal work in us, He might be using the house as a proxy to do some work for other people involved (workers, etc), who knows! All I know is that there is a reason, in fact more than one reason, because we would have never chosen this house for us if it wasn’t for our surrender to God’s will, and because of that, we should be accepting towards this house, or at least try. We should have patience as well because we know that once we are done with God’s “work” here, we don’t have to stay. We have seen it in our lives various times, how God moves us around for different purposes.

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8 thoughts on “Culture Shock: Dirt

  1. PLUS***

    I have imagined how my day-to-day life would be like living in Sri Lanka. I can accept many things but one major thing that buggers me is that I cant find much food ingredients that I would find in Australia…I don’t eat spicy food and I definitely cant eat stews or curry everyday…They don’t have much leafy vegs or if they do, its often expensive…

    1. Yeah, this has definitely been a challenge for us. We actually like Indian food a lot, but after 3 months we were definitely tired of the the spices over and over. Our cook makes vegetarian. But there are quite a few vegs and leafy vegs, and believe me, they’re not expensive. India is so cheap, and I would think Sri Lanka is similar in that sense.

  2. Hi Mani,

    I havnt been to India but I can imagine the dusts and dirt produced from the factories are the major source for the country being so dusty, and of course, little gov regulations to control it.
    I have been to sri lanka and I had lived in hotels and a house which local people would live as I have family who is local sri Lankan. When I went to supermarkets or stores the things that I touched were dusty and I got that gross feeling that I immediately need to find some alcohol gel to kill all the germs off my hand.. BUT I believe sri lanka is way better than India because in SL the streets are clean, the air is not dusty and Im talking about the central city where lots of traffic jams take place. Sri Lanka is improving at a rapid rate given the civil war was only ceased 2 years ago.

    I love sri lanka and I always like to promote the country to other people and I would like to live there in few years soon. I am a nurse so I can find a job there.

    1. Hi Susan, I have never been to Sri Lanka, but I have heard it’s cleaner than India. I don’t know why, but in India people don’t have a sense of living in a clean environment. They just don’t care and then they blame it on the government. It’s true, the government is not helping, but it’s not the job of the government to clean up after you, or to sweep the steps and the sidewalk in front of your shop, or even in your own property.

  3. Culture shocks are real and they do really scare and challenge you to the extreme. Especially if you are in a small town in India. Hang in there and you will succeed.
    I am still feeling those shocks even if India is my place of birth and love of my heart. I also had(still have- at times) a different kind of culture shock in USA. when I married and moved in the opposite directions from India to USA. That was very emotional and still is. I still feel an outsider in both places can you believe that? And I grew up in Mumbai yet I feel/felt that way. So hang in there. You can do it.
    Let me know if I can help in anyway.

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