The Team 2018-05-23T16:54:43+00:00

Charlotte

A culture shock to remember:

One of my most crucial shocks happened while I was working in Mexico… I would’ve loved to know how to start a meeting in Mexico, understand a yes that meant yes and a yes that meant no, realize that the word ahorita didn’t mean “in a minute” but rather “that’s not my priority”… During the first few months, I think I tried changing the way my Mexican colleagues thought… (in vain), and then I let go… It wasn’t until much later that it finally made sense to me: in the same way every country has its own way of saying hello, feed themselves, or create relationships, it has its own way of working!

Why get involved with TellUs:

To live in peace with different cultures, to discover other ways of thinking, seeing, doing, to open my mind, to meet other cultures, to debate our ways of living and viewing life, to share good times!

Pour vivre en paix avec différentes cultures, pour découvrir d’autres manières de penser, voir, faire, pour ouvrir mon esprit, aller à la rencontre d’autres cultures, échanger sur nos manières de vivre et voir la vie, partager de bons moments!

To live in peace with different cultures, to discover other ways of thinking, seeing, doing, to open my mind, to meet other cultures, to debate our ways of living and viewing life, to share good times!

My French cultural joy:

Sharing breakfast with my family: good bread, good butter, good jams, and a freshly pressed juice…

Eleonore

A culture shock to remember:

The day a Canadian friend, with whom I was learning Turkish in Istanbul, told me about how the Rwandese shake hands. “They (nudged) a limp arm in (his) direction rather than an outstretched hand to shake. A sign of deference and respect when meeting someone – almost as if to say ‘You can shake my entire arm and I won’t put up any resistance – this is a sign of the respect I have for you’.”

Like him, I have learned that a handshake should be firm and confident to translate self-esteem and determination. I had never imagined this way of proceeding could be perceived as disrespectful elsewhere. My friend’s experience turned out to be a turning point for me: such long hours spent preparing job interviews with immigrants from African countries. Relentlessly, I pounded them with “Sit up straight”, “Look your interviewer in the eye”, and “Shake hands firmly”… And I never stopped to question whether their attitude, that I often perceived as nonchalant, could be explained culturally!

Why get involved with TellUs:

Because I believe in the power of words and the magic in the encounter.

Because behind the prejudice, we are all children, women and men in search of a happy life, whatever the way we define it.

Because the apparent differences between us intrigue and fascinate me.

My French cultural  joy:

The invitation to be yourself and to travel. Leave my house and greet my neighbor, a tattooed, shaved and affectionate crew boss ; admire a tall African woman dressed with wax that reveals her secrets and whose hair are wrapped in a scarf that sublimes her ; pass by an old man wearing a djellaba over his wobbly legs, and imagine his childhood in the desert ; sit in the bus across a young hipster displaying her proud ethnic necklace, while reading a book by an Iranian author; exit to a Chinese family, that I barely notice, with just one child, no style, discrete, and happy; and on my way to our CSA last night, see my girl stop suddenly across a fat bearded Sikh, point at him to ask me… whether he’s a man or a woman because he’s pregnant! Laugh all three together!

Maïwenn

A culture shock to remember:

On my very first trip to India, I was 20, the age when the world opens to you. Cultural shocks on every street corner; eating with your fingers, sleeping on the floor, running into cows in the streets and eventually shaking my head just like the Indian people, a nation with a thousand faces.

Why get involved with TellUs:

Because the world does not stop at our door, because it’s so enlightening to discover new cultures and because my curiosity for our planet is such a lovely flaw.

My French cultural joy:

“Shells and Crustaceans”

Marine

A culture shock to remember:

After a long walk on the rice terraces of Guilin, China, my legs were suddenly covered with a blistery rash, causing itching that drove me crazy. Our guide took me to the “witch” of a close-by village. She was a frail and gentle woman, who pinched each blister. With a feather, she then coated my legs with a healing lotion that looked very much like water.

While she was doing it, I let her proceed and experienced mixed emotions of curiosity and amusement, but I had no doubt that this would in no way heal my legs. Ten years later, I realized I was wrong. Her magic potion may not have cured me faster but the fact that this adorable witch took time to take care of me changed my mood, soothed me and relieved me. I’m not saying that she could have cured me of bronchitis but that day, I came to her not feeling well and by the time I left, I was smiling. Had she not cured me?

Why get involved with TellUs:

For all the those times when I met a Chinese, an English or a Brazilian who made me question my own culture.

My French cultural joy :

Spending a great evening with some friends in a bar, discussing how to change the world (and having a foreign friend tell me he’s so sorry that everyone argued and the evening went so bad).

Valerie

A culture shock to remember:

Seven months as an expat in Papua New Guinea. This country houses 7.5 million souls, is flushed with over 800 languages, mixes fervent Christian churches with ancient mystical beliefs. There, one can die of a traditional disease and resolve a conflict with pigs.

Why get involved with TellUs:

To attempt in crossing cultural borders, that are – for me – much harder to overcome than geographical or economical ones.

To sum it up, foster communication, spark curiosity and interest for others, learn to understand, adapt and live together amidst our diversities.

My French cultural joy:

Drive under 100km and reach a whole new region, with its own architecture, cuisine, accent, and history. The plurality of French culture.