Whenever I meet a new person, I try to figure them out. I listen to how they use their words, how they structure their sentences. I listen to what they say, what is important to them, what they find funny. I watch their body language, how they carry themselves, how they perceive other people or objects around them. I watch their faces, what kinds of expressions they use in different situations. And I’m not a very good judge of character/personality, but I’m working on it.
But people from another culture, another language, another country, they are so difficult to understand right away. And even after a month, when I think I’ve figured them out, they say or do something I completely don’t expect. Even though I understand the denotation of what they’re saying to me, I don’t get the connotation because I haven’t grown up in that culture. I can’t tell why they say something rather than something else. I can’t tell if they think something is genuinely funny or they’re just messing around with me. I can’t tell if they hold themselves the way they do just because that’s the way they are, or because they don’t like me. And that can get frustrating. Especially if you’re related by blood. Even though we look so physically similar, I still don’t know you.