Foreign to Familiar {by Sarah A. Lanier}

Foreign to Familiar (a book review)

One afternoon quite a while back, a group email conversation began among our staff. The gal who started it had suggested a book for us all to read, saying even after her years of living in South America she still received “many revelations” from the quick and easy read. Additionally, the book was translated to Spanish so the other half of our staff could read it as well!

Several people Replied All to the email with comments like:

“I read this on a plane back to the US and couldn’t have been more regretful for not reading this book before heading back into my mother culture. I am convinced I have been doing things just plain wrong…”

“A must read for all who travel or live cross-culturally.”

“I will also affirm this is a fantastic read.”

Being easily convinced it was worthy of reading, I made the purchase. Here is the small review I wrote way back when…

…I’m very much from a cold-climate culture. I’m also pregnant in a hot-climate culture (my belly now belongs to all of Ecuador to touch & rub). While this book didn’t give me a magic answer to making that just go away (I’m smiling while I type that), it reinforced all I know about our culture differences and eloquently explained it in ways I hadn’t heard. I now have even more tools to help make the gap smaller between us and to avoid misunderstandings that I may cause in my own behaviors.

The author used examples from all over the world (not just USA vs. Latino as I am used to) which helps the reader more fully grasp the beauty alongside the complexity of this world. It’s a very short, easy read I recommend to anyone traveling to a different culture or living/working near/within a different culture.

If you want to avoid offending someone in ways you’d never dreamed of being an offense, if you want to be able to make friends quicker, build work relationships faster or just understand things that make your eyes bulge and your mouth go “why?!” to your fellow sympathizer, read this book’s powerful advice.

Have you read this? Let me know what you think of it!

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