Will people ever understand?

6 Apr

This is a question I think about every day. Will people ever understand?

I had the most amazing and life changing experience and yet I feel like no one except those who were with me, really understand. I tell all the stories and show all the pictures. I know they’re interested because they’re my family and friends and I went on a “holiday”. But I just feel like they don’t understand the impact it had on me. I try to explain but they still can’t see it. I was surprised how upset I got the other day because I was changing my desktop picture to a photo of the class I taught in India and my finacee said “why are you putting their picture up, they probably don’t even remember who you are”. He was having a joke which is not unusual for him but the comment really upset me. I think because it made me think…well, what if they don’t remember me? Just because the experience had such an impact on me, doesn’t mean it had the same effect on them. I think it was this that upset me more than the comment.

My new life

Needless to say, I got over being upset and I did make the (above) photo my desktop picture. I think I realised that, it doesn’t matter if the kids don’t remember me, the photo is my acknowledgment of the impact they had on me.

Well thats my first little rant. Hope I didn’t bore you all.

Do any of you feel the same way? Do any of you have experience with people not understanding? Can anyone say that yes one day they will understand?

Keep smiling



6 Responses to “Will people ever understand?”

  1. ladybec April 6, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    I feel the same way. I miss Hanoi all the time, especially the kids I worked with. Nobody really gets that. Like you said, they think I went on a holiday and I should get over it and get back to the real world. But it’s been a while now since I got back and I’m not over it. I often wonder if I’m the weird one or if it’s them.

  2. Christian van Ommeren April 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    Hee really cool blog! I got inspired so I wrote one myself 🙂 I think the reason why people don’t get it is because they have nothing to link it with. Your experience is just not compatible with normal life at home. So people will hear your story, see your pictures and then put your it in the same category as ‘nice travel experience’. They won’t understand because they can’t, there’s nothing to relate to.

    Actually the thing is, my experience is two years ago already. And I also thought it would be ‘life-changing’. You feel a little weird when being back home but after a while you get integrated and start being occupied again with the same things as before (study, friends, parties, etc.). I also worked with kids, but hadn’t thought about them for probably a year, until I stumbled upon this ethnosense-thing.

    So in the end, over time, you get de-linked yourself. I think this is because that special experience is pretty irrelevant to your life at home. Think about it: Did your experience change anything real in your life?

    In my life it didn’t, except maybe for having a bit different (or more extended) view on the world.

    Or am I just being way to negative in this?

    • mjfuss April 8, 2011 at 4:33 am #

      I think you are on the mark Christian. Not every volunteer will have a life changing experience. It’s just widening your view and increasing your knowledge of the world in which we live.

    • Rebecca April 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

      It might not be the same for you, but I know that my time there really did change things in my “real life”. I am a totally different person to what I was 12 months ago. And my life and the things i do as part of normal life or changed because of it. It could also be because my experience is relevant in my life at home because I am training to be a teacher…?

      • bec4890 April 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm #

        whoops. I posted a comment but i wasnt logged in. Sorry, Im still getting used to this blogging thing.


  1. Is it possible to ever come “back”? « EthnoSense - April 9, 2011

    […] is something very different. As bec4890 expressed in her post As bec4890 expressed in her post Will people ever understand? I’m left feeling quite the same, people will never understand, but then again I never really […]

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