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A Gentle Clash of Cultures

by Karen J. Clayton and Dale L. Clayton

A diminutive Filipina dynamo visiting the States invited Dale to teach in a small college in the Philippines. The family accepted the adventure; Karen worked and took classes, and Jeff, 12, and Kimberly, 9, attended a one-room, multi-grade school. Cultural differences were challenging and fascinating—one practical issue was that "there were no cats for cat lab!" Dale's students were from 17 different countries; he guided some of them on a boat tour of the islands. The family traveled to many countries in Asia, always observing that people are more alike than different. They experienced reverse culture shock moving back home to another new culture in Texas! Looking back on the family's arrival in 1978, Dale wrote, "We were coming home to a land we had never seen before. . . . to a people we would learn to love, but never totally understand...once back in the States, I missed the 'Hey Joe' greeting which was really meant to connect, not separate me from the people whose land I had invaded."

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