From Peanut Butter to Cheese: 6 steps to thriving in a culture that is not your own by means of adaptation

I love peanut butter. At one point, it was a borderline obsession. Each morning I systematically had one piece of toast drenched in Jif and jelly. Originally when I moved to Morocco, the only change in this routine was that it became Jessy’s and jelly. A change in brand, no biggie, I can deal. After two and a half years, Jessy’s peanut butter mysteriously disappeared from the shelves of every grocery store I had access to. The culture had weighed on me and I was six months away from escaping for a time. I refused to give up my mundane breakfast ritual of a single piece of toast. The solution: find a spreadable alternative that is at least bearable and not as bland as butter. That alternative became a french soft cheese called Kiri. A month in, my longing for peanutty goodness dissipated and I found myself just as content with my substitute. And thus began my thoughts on adaptation to cultures much different than my own, determining why some thrive while others wither away into a cycle of cynicism.

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