So here I’ve been – thinking I am so unique and special and all that jazz. I have witty observations about my new country and I go on wild quests to find ingredients to make comfort foods (or to join non-existent organizations). I blog about it for your entertainment (and my need to vent). And, unbeknownst to me, all this time I have just been experiencing a textbook case of culture shock. Not even a scientific-journal worthy case, just a normal ol’ case. There are like umpteen million articles out there on this, but I had never read one until today.
Apparently there are 5 stages of culture shock. Depending on the source, some of the stages vary a bit. However they all have the same first stage – the “honeymoon” phase. Now, all I have to do is look back at my own blog and my adoration of the food and the culture when we first arrived to recognize that phase.
Phase two, depending on the source, is either “rejection” or “distress.” This is where you feel isolated and start getting seriously annoyed by and judging your new culture (descriptions of trips to the post office, anyone?). I think I am still partially in this phase (I’ve been grumpier than I let on as I realize no one likes a grumpy blog) – but now that I know I am just reacting “normally” I don’t feel quite as badly (though being “normal” has never really been appealing to me….). Phase three involves regression – such as seeking out food or t.v. shows from home (am I really that predicable?!?!). We don’t even need to discuss if I’m in this phase (yesterday I spent about 5 hours searching for ingredients and then making California sushi rolls; we already know I caved and got internet access to t.v. from the States)! It’s weird having yourself described to a tee – especially by some list of common stages. While having my uniqueness myth dispelled isn’t fun, I do appreciate one theme in all of the articles – “IT WILL PASS.” And that’s a relief – because I was starting to wonder about whether I will ever adjust (and also because the lame sushi rolls were nowhere near worth the effort I put into them). Hopefully, I will soon move on to stage 4:
Stage 4 has many variations – “recovery,” “acceptance,” “emergence,” “assimilation” (I like this one – it has a Borg ring to it), and so on. The main point is that you are adapting and feeling okay about being in your new culture. I’m glad to hear that that stage is next because the thought of packing everything and 2 cats back up and heading “home” sounds ridiculous (and tiring!). I’ll worry about stage 5 (reverse culture shock) some other time.
But, have no fear readers, I am sure just enough of stages 2 and 3 will hang around that I will never run out of witty (i.e. smart-aleky) observations about which to blog!
Delicious dinner or cry for help?: