Probably one of the most difficult things to adjust to for a foreigner living in the Philippines is getting used to the fact that things are done differently here! Believe it or not, it takes years to figure out the simple fact that you are not back home any longer, and almost everything is done differently here. I know it took me about five years to stop getting aggreviated when things were done in what I considered an “inferior” way.
A friend and I have a little “inside joke” that we say to each other, if we see something done in a way that we don’t think is right. We say… “We ain’t in Kansas anymore.” Remember the saying being used in the old Wizard of Oz movie? 😉
It really is true, you see things all the time that people are doing, and you just know that if they did it the way that you had known all your life, it would just work out better, be easier, more efficient, etc. But, remember, you are just one person! Also, they way that “Juan” is doing it is the way that he has done it all his life, and the way his father and his grandfather did it. So, for him, there is no question about how to do it.
You may be asking yourself… what is “it” anyway? Well, just about anything you could imagine. How about eating? Here, they eat all their meals with a fork and a big spoon. No knife. It is very different than I am used to, I use a knife and fork, and a spoon from time to time. The way I do it works for me. The way they do it works for them! They look at me like I am crazy, eating rice with a fork! The way they eat rice, it doesn’t all fall off the utensil, I’ll give them that. The way I do it, from time to time it falls off.
Just keep in mind, in most cases, it’s best for you to just accept the way that they do things. On a few things you might need to teach somebody to do it your way. For example, if you have a cook, or a house maid who does your cooking, and she cooks your steak until it has the consistency of shoe leather, she will need to learn to cook it the way you like it, she is your employee after all. But, if you are going over to your mother-in-law’s house for dinner, you probably should just accept it the way she cooks it! You can always stop off at a restaurant on the way home, right?
The best advice for living here, and learning to “roll with the flow” is to just accept as much as you can. Don’t be too judgmental!