Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pizza: Similar but Different

As we prepare for working, traveling and living  globally – finding ourselves in places new to us - we talk , read and ask about the differences we’ll find.  What will it be like?  How will people act? Dress?  Do business?  (Unless of course we assume everything will be exactly as it is at home and then the surprises begin.)

But we seldom start from a place where we ask – what will be similar?  – not the same but similar.  Justin Bariso’s  post “Becoming Multicultural – Learning How to Fish for Success  (  makes the point that that there’s value in seeing similarities in places that are not familiar.   For example, he notes that we all eat.    I’d add we may even eat the same things  - the similarities - and yet pizza at MammaMia in Florence  ( )is a different experience than pizza eaten in downtown Los Angeles at California Pizza Kitchen.(‎).  Similar but different. 

Looking for similarities offers us a way to feel connected, maybe offers a sense of comfort that comes from what’s familiar.   It can help us avoid being overwhelmed by the differences we see and experience in a new environment.  We can then move from seeing the familiar to noting the differences – comparing and contrasting.

It isn’t a matter of pretending that differences don’t exist.  Rather it’s a way of looking around, being curious, searching for a clues that can help us adapt and understand.  What unexpected similarities will you find the next time you are in a new place?  

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