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What do you remember being surprised by in your youth?


creekland
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This is in relation to different cultures (family, location, etc).

 

My kids tutor others for pay.  Youngest is tutoring a young lad in chess (6-9 age bracket).  That lad was recently amazed to learn there are college students who don't know how to play chess!  He comes from a different culture, of course but the incident reminded me of how much we (all) consider "normal" that which we're brought up with - until we learn more about our world, of course - assuming we get out of our bubble sooner or later.   :lol:

 

I remember being incredibly surprised that there were people who had never seen real snow.  Growing up on the Canadian border, snow season was a fact of life with 3-6 inches overnight a pretty common occurrence - and larger amounts happening regularly too.  School (and businesses) rarely closed for it.  We just adjusted our schedules to be up early to shovel or plow.  I didn't believe my mom (at first) when she said there are oodles of folks in this country and on our planet who had never seen snow.  For whatever reason, that memory has stuck with me.  Maybe it was my first hint that humans are different?

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I remember being surprised that when it was winter in our hemisphere, it was summer in, say, Australia, and vice versa. Similarly, I was shocked to find that people celebrated Christmas in the summer. Once I really thought about it, of course, it made perfect sense, but it just wasn't something I'd ever thought of!

Edited by ILiveInFlipFlops
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I don't recall too many things when I was little, but I remember when I met my first Indian friend, and she was impressed that I knew how to drive, write a check, sweep a floor, and ride a bike among other things.  Apparently those things are far from expected in her community.  For my part, piercing of little girls' ears was not a thing in my culture, so I had to get used to that idea.

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The most stunning truth of my teen years was that my dad would not be coming to my high school graduation.  My mom must have realized I thought he would be there and she told me he wouldn't.  I guess I thought a high school graduation was important enough to come across country for.  It was then that I began to see him for what he was.  An addict who put alcohol before everything and everyone else.

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The most stunning truth of my teen years was that my dad would not be coming to my high school graduation.  My mom must have realized I thought he would be there and she told me he wouldn't.  I guess I thought a high school graduation was important enough to come across country for.  It was then that I began to see him for what he was.  An addict who put alcohol before everything and everyone else.

 

:( I'm sorry.

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I grew up going to a Catholic school and we wore uniforms. When I moved to Georgia, I started in a public school. My mom bought me jeans. I was so afraid to wear jeans on my first day because I thought they were going to send me home. I was shocked to see so many of my peers wearing street clothes. The classes looked so weird!

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The most stunning truth of my teen years was that my dad would not be coming to my high school graduation.  My mom must have realized I thought he would be there and she told me he wouldn't.  I guess I thought a high school graduation was important enough to come across country for.  It was then that I began to see him for what he was.  An addict who put alcohol before everything and everyone else.

 

:grouphug:  You're not alone.  My dad didn't come to my high school graduation either - or my college graduation - or my wedding.  I had committed a crime.  I had invited my mom and she would be there, so he thought it was fitting punishment that he didn't show up.   :cursing:  (He flat out told me he would come if mom didn't.)

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:grouphug:  You're not alone.  My dad didn't come to my high school graduation either - or my college graduation - or my wedding.  I had committed a crime.  I had invited my mom and she would be there, so he thought it was fitting punishment that he didn't show up.   :cursing:  (He flat out told me he would come if mom didn't.)

 

 

Good gravy. 

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I remember when I realized that some people who go to church do so because they actually believe in a god. 

 

We would sometimes go to the Danish cultural center to do Danish things, nothing related to religion. We lived near a Greek orthodox church, and I thought they would learn about Greek gods and other Greek. Not because they believed, but for cultural reasons. I assumed that people went to other churches to experience and learn about the cultural their grandparents, grew up in. I remember the instant I realized that some people might actually believe in a god. 

 

 

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:grouphug:  You're not alone.  My dad didn't come to my high school graduation either - or my college graduation - or my wedding.  I had committed a crime.  I had invited my mom and she would be there, so he thought it was fitting punishment that he didn't show up.   :cursing:  (He flat out told me he would come if mom didn't.)

OMGosh.

 

DH is divorced with prior marriage kids.

 

We went to a wedding where the parents of the bride were recently divorced, and hated each other, and watched them take two sets of family pictures--one with the bride's father and one with her mother.  I turned to DH and said, "Promise me that you have enough class to take a picture with your ex-wife for your kids' sake.  I don't even care whether I'm in it or not.  This is so childish."  Sigh.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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:grouphug:  You're not alone.  My dad didn't come to my high school graduation either - or my college graduation - or my wedding.  I had committed a crime.  I had invited my mom and she would be there, so he thought it was fitting punishment that he didn't show up.   :cursing:  (He flat out told me he would come if mom didn't.)

 

Though they both did come for my wedding, and the hospital waiting rooms were big enough for both of them when my children were born, my parents have told me to never expect them to be at the same function again.  My brother invites them to kid birthday parties and then there is much drama about who will attend.  I just don't have birthday parties for my kids in a classic avoidance path.  

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I remember being surprised when a friend admitted having never flown in an airplane (in college). Ever. I was stunned. 

 

Likewise, when another friend had never seen the ocean (or any body of water larger than a small lake)/never been to "the beach" with waves and all. 

 

Conversely, I was with my now husband the first time he saw snow, and realized it was wet. That was a fun memory :) He'd surely seen small amount of Texas type snow (flakes that fall down, but make no more than a dusting on the ground), but this was his first time seeing enough snow that you could step & sink into it. 

 

Also on the flip side, a friend of mine who realized with surprise that my kids have never seen a tractor up close, or a baby pig, etc. Or my dad, realizing on one of our visits from Brazil, that my youngest hadn't grown up eating things that "all kids love" like macaroni & cheese. He was still not eating a ton of table food when we moved away; he didn't grow up on American staples, but Brazilian ones. To this day he'll choose black beans & rice over just about anything else. (pizza and hamburgers being the only thing that will beat that). 

 

The ones that cracked us up the most were Brazilians being amazed that our youngest son spoke English so well. It just never computed that English was still his first language, as what we spoke at home, so it seemed amazing to them that such a young kid was fluent. 

 

Oh, and probably the funniest one that I can admit to myself, was the realization as a kid that my cousin in Georgia didn't study Texas History in school....she studied Georgia History instead. I was probably in 4th or 5th grade when I made that discovery and I remember being shocked that not all states taught about the great state of Texas, LOL! It didn't even make sense to me that they would *instead* study their own state's history....I thought maybe they'd study that *in addition to* Texas history, but sheesh, certainly not *instead of.*  Mind boggling. ;) 

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My oldest ds loved Thomas the Tank Engine. From ages 2-4 he would run to the window on Christmas morning and look for snow. We live in SC, so most years on Christmas it's 70 degrees. He was so confused and refused to believe it was really Christmas because there was no snow in our garden.

 

When my dh was little, he thought that radio stations played music by having a tape player on a stool with a microphone held up to it.

 

My middle ds had a friend from his baseball team stay over a few times. The entire time he was here he would complain that we used words that were too big. My kids were shocked by his lack of vocabulary. We certainly weren't speaking in an abnormal way. (The use of the word abnormal would have bothered him.) He was a really nice kid, he just didn't care for our choice of words.

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Good gravy. 

 

I have similar feelings for your dad's reasons TBH.  Sometimes one just has to shake their head and go WTH?

 

In my situation, I grew up with my dad (post divorce at age 11 until my senior year of high school).  He had tried to poison my thoughts about my mom (pretty successful too sadly).  But it was those decisions of his that helped me see who he really was.

 

OMGosh.

 

DH is divorced with prior marriage kids.

 

We went to a wedding where the parents of the bride were recently divorced, and hated each other, and watched them take two sets of family pictures--one with the bride's father and one with her mother.  I turned to DH and said, "Promise me that you have enough class to take a picture with your ex-wife for your kids' sake.  I don't even care whether I'm in it or not.  This is so childish."  Sigh.

 

Awesome for both of you!  Divorce happens, but the kids shouldn't have to take sides or similar nonsense.

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OMGosh.

 

DH is divorced with prior marriage kids.

 

We went to a wedding where the parents of the bride were recently divorced, and hated each other, and watched them take two sets of family pictures--one with the bride's father and one with her mother.  I turned to DH and said, "Promise me that you have enough class to take a picture with your ex-wife for your kids' sake.  I don't even care whether I'm in it or not.  This is so childish."  Sigh.

 

 

Interesting......I am thinking about this.....there is absolutely NO WAY dh's xw's husband would allow her to be in a picture with dh and their kids. 

 

My XH otoh took a selfie of him with me and ds at a function last week.  Then he put it on FB.  :ohmy: 

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Though they both did come for my wedding, and the hospital waiting rooms were big enough for both of them when my children were born, my parents have told me to never expect them to be at the same function again.  My brother invites them to kid birthday parties and then there is much drama about who will attend.  I just don't have birthday parties for my kids in a classic avoidance path.  

 

 

Dealing with dss's mom and step dad have made me a better person in that I see what it does to kids and I want to do better.  It makes me want to get along with XH for ds's sake.

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:grouphug:  You're not alone.  My dad didn't come to my high school graduation either - or my college graduation - or my wedding.  I had committed a crime.  I had invited my mom and she would be there, so he thought it was fitting punishment that he didn't show up.   :cursing:  (He flat out told me he would come if mom didn't.)

 

My DH's parents divorced when he was an adult, and so his dad didn't come to his graduation from the MBA program. I'm still a little mad/hurt on his behalf, and that was 14 yrs ago. 

 

I hate what divorce does to families, and am beyond grateful that my dad and mom were able to remain civil to each other for stuff like this. We have a photo from our wedding that has my mom & stepdad on one side of me, and dad & stepmom on the other, but our kids have dealt with all of the crazy from my in-laws. We never could do joint bday parties where they'd both attend, or Christmas, or anything. Now that our kids are growing up and graduating, we kind of consider it a convenience that FIL lives out of the country so that his absence from important days makes sense/is understood.....when we aren't wishing he would arrange his once/year visits to coordinate with these important events. :sigh: 

 

I hope he'll come in for their weddings, and I hope he and MIL will be civil about it. 

 

Did I mention, I hate what divorce does to families? At least the types of divorces like this, where the grown-ups can't even pretend to get along for one afternoon here and there?? :sigh: 

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Oh I know.  I definitely don't think your dad's reason is worse!  I just am stunned that so many people in the world are so unreasonable even when it affects their own children.

I have similar feelings for your dad's reasons TBH.  Sometimes one just has to shake their head and go WTH?

 

In my situation, I grew up with my dad (post divorce at age 11 until my senior year of high school).  He had tried to poison my thoughts about my mom (pretty successful too sadly).  But it was those decisions of his that helped me see who he really was.

 

 

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Though they both did come for my wedding, and the hospital waiting rooms were big enough for both of them when my children were born, my parents have told me to never expect them to be at the same function again.  My brother invites them to kid birthday parties and then there is much drama about who will attend.  I just don't have birthday parties for my kids in a classic avoidance path.  

 

:grouphug:  Some people just have no class whatsoever.  I'm sorry.

 

My oldest ds loved Thomas the Tank Engine. From ages 2-4 he would run to the window on Christmas morning and look for snow. We live in SC, so most years on Christmas it's 70 degrees. He was so confused and refused to believe it was really Christmas because there was no snow in our garden.

 

We moved to PA when my oldest were 4 and 2.  People in FL had told them how lucky they would be to see snow, so the morning after we moved into our house in PA they both got up and ran to the window... then complained loudly that there was no snow!  It was August.   :lol:

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When I was in - maybe grade 2 - a girl in my class dropped her apple at recess and it was covered with gross stuff.  She started to cry because she didn't want to eat it, and she'd promised her mom she would.  I tried to convince her first that her mom would understand, and when she insisted not, that she should lie.  She was shocked that I would suggest that!

 

I was shocked that her mom would want her to eat the apple and get mad if she didn't, or would be ticked off that it had been accidentally dropped (although I now think that was probably not the case at all.)  But I was doubly shocked that this girl never had told her mother even a small lie, and also that she couldn't see that it would be perfectly just if her mother was so very unreasonable.

 

I always thought that particular girl was a wimp and a goody-goody, but after that I wondered if she wasn't a bit slow, as well.  I felt very sorry for her and that her mom was doing her wrong, if it was indeed true.  Now, I think she was just a docile and also very literal child.

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British Columbia surprised and mesmerized me. I was 13 when we moved there, and everything was so different from Oklahoma; the landscape, faces, accents, and mannerisms were all different. And the food! Salt and vinegar chips, ramen noodles, fish and chips! Vinegar and mayonnaise on fish and chips! I was in culinary heaven! And you could ride the bus anywhere! :hurray:

 

Forty years later, I've been statewide for most of that time, but I still love Canada.

Edited by trulycrabby
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I was shocked during my first college history class (late American history) to find out that people from all over the country knew about the disaster at Three Mile Island (although they didn't call it TMI like I did).  I have vague memories of the evacuation, but I didn't know it was a big deal.  I just thought it was local news and that most people wouldn't know about it.

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I remember being shocked that "prin-near" wasn't actually a word. I learned that fact when I was 13yo and I was writing a paper for school and I asked my dad how you spelled it.

 

Example: I "prin-near" ran over a deer today, but it bolted out of the way at the last minute.

Edited by Kinsa
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Having grown up in a rural area, I was shocked when I went away for college in a big city and learned that not everyone got "Doe Day" off from school. During my first semester of college, I was most upset that I had to go to class that day.

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I remember in second grade being terribly surprised when I learned to spell "Philadelphia."  Previously, I had thought the second set of "ph" was written and said as "th" - Philadelthia.  It took me about a year to learn to say it correctly on the first try.

 

I was shocked when I discovered some people actually cared what color skin others had and disliked them for it.  

 

 

 

 

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I remember being shocked that "prin-near" wasn't actually a word. I learned that fact when I was 13yo and I was writing a paper for school and I asked my dad how you spelled it.

 

Example: I "prin-near" ran over a deer today, but it bolted out of the way at the last minute.

 

 

:lol: 

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I was bullied in 8th grade in part because some people thought I was "stuck up" and a "show-off."  Funny because at my previous school, I was the lowest of the low - large, poor family, working mom, thrift store clothes, holey shoes, ugly self-styled hair.  But, by habit, I spoke and wrote correctly and had morals that seemed prudish to some.  Plus, I didn't wear jeans because I didn't have any.  Therefore, I needed beat up.  :P

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I was shocked to learn that my grandma was my mom's mom. I was certain that there was no way that could be right. (Obviously I was pretty young)

 

I grew up in a local culture where everyone did handy work themselves and had relatives help. There was a huge repository of knowledge between my dad and all my uncles - there was always someone with expertise, always someone with that hard-to-find tool, and they'd teach the others if needed. They'd all get together when someone needed help re-building a deck, replacing a floor, anything like that. I was so surprised when I got to college and learned about the concept of hiring something out.  I was like "umm...don't you have uncles?" Even hiring a babysitter or putting my kids in preschool, drop-in daycare, or a mother's helper program is a bit of a foreign concept to me. I still do it, because my mental health needs it, but I grew up going over to various relatives' houses to play and didn't fully realize that's when my parents were going on dates. Basically it was hard see past the "keep everything in the family" mentality.

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I, being from the country, remember being shocked to learn as a high school freshman that there are people who are born in a city and die there and never see open country. As a matter of fact when you think about places like Hong Kong and Sao Paulo there are way more of these people than I even knew about then. 

 

I was 19 and met an Arab man whose father had three wives and he had nineteen brothers and sister and did not know when his birthday was off the top of his head. His family had never celebrated it so he never looked forward to it. He thought it was sometime in the spring, lol and that was a real shock to me, that some people would not know their own birthday. Years later I was talking to a man from that area of the world and I said I was born in 1970 so I was now 36. He got a shocked look and said, "Me too! I was born in 1970 so I must be 36!" He just knew his birthday was in October and it must have passed, lol. He was kind of annoyed that he had gotten so old. He had it in his head he was 32, that was the last time he had paid attention.  

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Ok, this will floor everyone, but I was 15 before I realized that a woman could have a baby without being married. Yep, 15!! Very sheltered, from a very Catholic family in rural Louisiana. We were staying with my cousin in New Orleans for a funeral and her friend just had a baby. I asked how long she had been married. Not married. Blew my little naive mind.

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In elementary school, I thought "envelope" had a TH instead of a V, so that's how I said it. Even after learning the proper spelling, I still said it wrong. It took over a year of my husband's nagging to get me to say it correctly without thinking about it.

 

When my daughter was six, she asked when the world had color added to it. She thought that, since all old pictures are in black and white, that the world must not have had color way back then.

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In elementary school, I thought "envelope" had a TH instead of a V, so that's how I said it. Even after learning the proper spelling, I still said it wrong. It took over a year of my husband's nagging to get me to say it correctly without thinking about it.

 

When my daughter was six, she asked when the world had color added to it. She thought that, since all old pictures are in black and white, that the world must not have had color way back then.

 

 

My XH used to say Hypnocrit for hypocrite/

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When my dh was little, he thought that radio stations played music by having a tape player on a stool with a microphone held up to it.

 

 

So funny!  For a while, I actually thought the BANDS were in the radio studio!  I remember thinking one day that logistically that really couldn't be how it was done!  Duh.

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I remember being shocked that "prin-near" wasn't actually a word. I learned that fact when I was 13yo and I was writing a paper for school and I asked my dad how you spelled it.

 

Example: I "prin-near" ran over a deer today, but it bolted out of the way at the last minute.

 

*Ahem*

 

I don't mean to correct you, but according to my dad, the word is "purt-near."

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My college classmates from the big city thought all wedding dresses were white.

 

Most of my high school classmates had never traveled out of the county.

 

Sad that my neighbor would get drunk and not give the wife enough money to feed the kids. My summer chore was to bring pbjs to a spot just across our fence where the adults couldnt see and the little boys could nip over and quickly eat them. As a kid, I didn't realize it was the alcohol, cause the dude was over 300 lbs and clearly had the money since he and his dogs were well fed. I thought he was just mean. Wasn't aware of what the school was doing to help as mom just said to keep it uder my hat. No summer feeding programs back then. I often think of those boys,as my college guys help their friends who are short at the end of the month and my vfw friends supply pbjs at the school during the year for those who don't have a lunch (usually they are on reduced and don't have a dime).

Edited by Heigh Ho
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Let me premise by saying I grew up impoverished.

 

I thought the local zoo was owned by the school. The only times I ever visited the zoo were on class field trips and we always rode the school bus. The bus parked by other yellow busses. I only ever saw (or paid attention to) groups of students with chaperones and teachers. I was in my teens before I became aware that the zoo was its own entity and anybody could visit it any time.

 

I also think I was in my teens before I realized that any one with money could travel outside the country. My father was in the military and I always believed that only people in the military and their families could go over seas. After I was born, my dad was the only one to go when he was stationed in another country. The rest of us stayed home. I still have yet to travel to another country.

Edited by Scoutermom
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I remembered being shocked twice in college.  Once- when a student in my dorm was having problems because 1) he had earned the money for college during summers and after school - my college was very expensive and 2) his mom had stolen it and gambled it away=  It wasn't the fact that some people had lousy parents that shocked me but that someone could actually emerge successfully from such a crappy childhood.  Then the second instance was when I realized that my friend had gone to such a bad public school that they were teaching her incorrect facts. She would say things she thought were true and all the rest of us would just stare and then someone would gently correct her wrong facts.  I hadn't realized that public schools would actually be teaching false information (and it wasn't anything that could be seen in any different light.  These really were facts no one else disputed).

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I was done highschool when I found out how credit cards really worked. 

 

I just never gave it much thought. But when I did I thought it worked this way. With the credit card you get to pay easily with just a swipe, so you don't have to bother with cash. But you make a promise to pay them back at the end of the month. And if you don't pay them back that is the same as stealing, since you agreed to pay them back. So I assumed that if you don't pay them back promptly without letting them know why and making arrangements with a lawyer - well then they would call the cops on you, and could bring you up on charges for stealing. 

 

Then I meet someone who was in thousands of dollars of credit card debt - and didn't really know what he spent it on. It was then that I learned you could let things ride month, after month, after month. 

 

 

 

 

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