We are what we think. Thoughts shape who we are. These are strong and true statements! People in cultures around the world think a certain way. I have understood this from a very young age.
Being raised in East TN, I have realized what a mentality people have, and some beliefs are truly formed by culture, not fact! My parents, immigrated from Cyprus to the USA, before the occupation of Turkey to the northern part of the island where they grew up, and our extended family lived. I remember Walter Cronkite, and the 6:30 news blasted, telling us about the war. My parents could not reach our family, who abruptly left their homes with the invasion. I was only 4 years old.
It took my parents 5 years to save enough money to fly us as a family to Cyprus to visit relatives. It was 1979, no credit, only hard earned cash. I suddenly went from the South in the USA, to a Mediterranean island, and I was 9 years old. Mentality was huge in my understanding of the shift in thought. In Cyprus, my relatives had settled in the south of the island as refugees. To this day, they will not forget the war of 1974, and this historical event has forever changed the way they think.
In the states we do think more about ourselves, than the world, and in East TN our news and passion surrounds the VOLS, football and our basketball teams (men & women’s). The world seems insignificant to us in light of our rich culture. When I travel, I so appreciate the various countries, people that I meet, and their own culture. I spend time asking them questions to understand how they think. Due to the empathy I speak from, the conversations are filled with honest, open insight.
I am reminded that other people think differently than me especially when I travel. This gives me an appreciation of the world, our diversity, and how mentality can shift. Today I am thinking a little differently due to my experience at a cafe in Gaia, Portugal. Tomorrow will even be further enlightened as I explore Braga, a city to the north. My change in perspective, and thinking is healthy for my mentality, and for this I have much gratitude!