This week I plan on posting photos that will demonstrate, through images, why people experience culture shock. Partly this is because I think it is funny and partly it is because I’m experiencing what I like to call culture clog. Similar to writer’s block but caused by crossing international borders.

Today’s photos are of grocery stores.

grocery store*image via Wikipedia

The following picture is the entire cereal section at the second largest grocery store in the country. And these photos are exactly why so many expatriates are reduced to tears by the cereal aisle.

grocery store1

And here is the produce section of a Safeway.

safeway produce section

And the produce stall I stop at whenever we need something. What I like about this photo is that it shows people, which to me, demonstrates the relational aspect of most transactions in Djibouti.


And of course, the meat markets.

grocery store meat*image via Wikimedia


Okay, I’m having a little fun with you. I know there are more meat options in the US than canned turkey sticks. And I don’t always buy my meat at places like this, though sometimes I do.

Also, I’m not trying to slam either culture. I love that I can anonymously run in and out of a Cub Foods in Minnesota and that I can be almost guaranteed to find exactly what I want exactly where it was the last time on the shelf. I love shopping in the market and talking with the vendors in Djibouti, I love the freshness of our food and the creativity of preparing so much from scratch.

But I don’t love the overwhelming amount of choices in the American supermarkets and I don’t love the limited options at some points in Djiboutian markets. Both can feel quite, well, shocking, at times.

How do you experience culture shock regarding grocery shopping?