We just got access to the internet today and I am so happy. I wrote a post in Word on Tuesday and now I can post it. . . of course, much has happened since then!
In 1998 I moved to Brisbane, Australia as a single woman eager for adventure and mocking this thing called culture shock. It took a few months but the novelty and “cuteness” of the cultural differences wore off (just like I had been told) and the tears started. I distinctly remember the effort it once took to go to the grocery store because the thought of the four rotating wheels on the “trolley”, a.k.a. buggy, a.k.a. shopping cart was too much for me to bear that day. As time passed I grew more accustom to the Aussie way of life and grew to appreciate the fact that the bank, grocery, and other “practical” businesses were all found in the mall! I saw the benefit of having off/on switches on the outlets. I adapted and Brisbane became home. So much home that when I returned to the USA I found it inconvenient to have to drive to multiple locations to run my errands, etc.
In 2002 I moved to St. Louis, MO as a newlywed eager for adventure and distinctly naïve of the cultural differences I would face in an American town just 8 hours away from home. After four months of trying to figure out the grocery stores, merge lanes, and sports teams, the tears started. This time there had been no preparation for the cultural differences . . . there had been no training. This experience was a real example of how the “shock” got into “culture shock” and the recovery time was exponentially longer. Still, years passed and I grew more accustom to the way of life. I grew to appreciate bagging my own groceries! I saw endless opportunities in such a family friendly city! I started using my horn at stop lights!! I adapted and St. Louis became home. So much home that when Honey told me we might move away, I found myself sobbing in my room.
Last week on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 I moved to Ft. Collins, CO as a wife and mother of three who was overwhelmed by the speed of the move, powerless to the timing of the move and drowning in endless details left uncertain. My brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces are here to help with cross-cultural training for a group of teachers headed to Asia and my sweet SIL has sent me a steady stream of precious reminders that what I am experiencing is very similar to the transition these teachers will face. It is with this encouragement as my soundtrack that I sent my kids off to school today . . . and learned at pick-up that they should have had a water bottle and two snacks. I had four tasks on my to-do list today and not one square holds a check because of cultural differences that dictate more steps on my part. Because of B’s encouragement, when I experienced the final roadblock to my task and turned the wrong way out of Walgreens . . . instead of hitting my steering wheel and crying, I just started laughing.
I thought to myself, “I am as frustrated after five days with a family in a new city as I was after three months in a foreign country as a single! Good grief! This too shall pass. One day it will be second nature to turn into/out of this Walgreen. One day it will seem second nature to look for cyclists before turning at an intersection. One day I will adapt and this will become home. So much home. . .