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Expat Life: Let’s Talk About Culture Shock (Part 1)

I remember the first time I heard the term culture shock.  I was eight and had just moved to the Philippines.  It sounded like something terrible that could knock a person out, maybe for good.  Like electric shock, or toxic shock, or something equally awful.  The adults (all American missionaries in the Philippines) were talking about it.  About how someone who had recently moved there could hardly cope with life, the culture shock was so bad.  As a kid making the transition to a new country, I don’t think I really experienced too much culture shock.  I didn’t like being stared at constantly and followed around all of the time.  I didn’t like sleeping under a mosquito net, or having to call everyone either aunt, uncle, or the Filipino terms meaning aunt, uncle, or big sister or big brother.  I remember almost choking on our first meal when we arrived in the country– a “hamburger” which was sweet, made of pork, with lots of gristle, topped with banana “katsup.” I didn’t like how all the Filipinos treated us like we were super special and important, better somehow because of our skin color.  The cold showers were hard to get used to at first, as was filtering all of our water.  But none of these things really felt earth-shattering to me.  I was having a good time, and enjoyed the adventure.  It was just different, and I am always amazed by how well children can adapt to just about anything.

My first real experience of culture shock was probably when I returned to the USA, which is called reverse culture shock.  I was ten, and had been living in the Philippines for two years.  I remember noticing that people didn’t seem as respectful to their elders, once all of those titles were missing, and I wasn’t sure how to address anyone.  Table manners and other types of etiquette were really different, and I was afraid of doing something rude.  Americans didn’t smile at each other nearly as much as Filipinos do, and so I didn’t feel quite as welcome in my home country.  Kids couldn’t do all the things I was used to doing– for example, taking public transport with another child to wherever we needed to go, or building fires in our back yards. I was scandalized by the very short shorts girls wore.  Everyone was talking about movies or TV shows I’d never seen, and I felt really out of it.  I particularly remember being fascinated by the “lights” down the middle of the roads– my dad explained that they were reflectors, and I felt silly for not knowing something so simple.  We were only “home” for several months, but I was glad to get back to a more normal life in the Philippines.

I only went back to live in the USA one more time before I graduated from high school and flew back over to live in my “home country” long-term.  It was disorienting enough being a college student for the first time, but I had to also face American culture simultaneously.  I remember feeling depressed that people weren’t friendlier, and that I felt like I was in a completely new world when I should have been “at home.”  Fortunately, I had wanted to return to the States, unlike some of my classmates.  Knowing that I would eventually move back made my experience at boarding school in Manila often feel more like a holding tank– I knew I would leave it all behind eventually, and as graduation drew closer, I had to loosen my grip on just about everything and everyone in my life.

Here I am, culturally ambiguous at 16.  I went to my junior prom wearing a sari I had a dorm sister from Bangladesh pick up for me when she visited her parents.  I also pierced my nose (just for the weekend, since it was against school dress code.)

But in California, I felt like I didn’t know how to do anything, or how to be me in a completely new context. I couldn’t figure out how to dress– I never seemed to be able to look like everyone else.  There were no answering machines in the Philippines, and whenever I got one when I was making a call in the States, I would freeze up.  I didn’t know how to pump gas because, even though I had a Philippines driver’s license, we never had to pump our own there.  Also, I failed my California drivers license test three times!  (Undoubtedly in part due to learning to drive in the Philippines!)  Using a debit card kind of freaked me out, as did many other automated situations.  I could go on and on about the things that I just didn’t know how to do.  It didn’t matter that I knew how to wash my own laundry skillfully by hand in a plastic basin, or that I knew how to care for pigs, goats, chickens and turkeys. (OK, monkeys, parrots, geese, and owls too!) That I could kill and gut a chicken myself, and cook it for dinner. That I knew how to check someone’s blood pressure, and that I had cleaned and dressed a hundred wounds in poor areas throughout my adolescence.  No one in my new life knew that I spoke another language like a native, and that I could also get around pretty well in Tagalog.  Or that I was skillful at squatting for long periods of time and eating neatly with my fingers.  It wasn’t relevant that I was frankly pretty amazing at climbing trees.  I felt completely inept in the skill set I needed for my new American life.  Plus,  I basically looked the same as everyone else, so no one treated me like a foreigner that needed help.

I eventually figured it all out… But it took a long time, and as I have mentioned before, I never felt completely at home in America.  I felt more like an immigrant with roots. Having overcome that major transition, and having since spent time in several other foreign countries, I thought I would probably have a pretty significant leg-up on culture shock.  In fact, I felt naively un-shockable.  But lately, I have realized that I am dealing with culture shock here in the UK, and it has taken me by surprise.  I will write more soon about the things that have thrown me for a loop here, but I wanted to get the conversation started.

What has your experience been with culture shock or reverse culture shock?  If you haven’t lived overseas, do you have a story to tell about helping someone else transition to your culture?

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37 Responses to Expat Life: Let’s Talk About Culture Shock (Part 1)

  1. Jenny May 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    This is really beautifully written.
    I often wonder how we will all eventually adjust to life back in the US. Especially the kids- who have missed out on T-Ball and summer camps and corn dogs. Will any of us be able to slot right back into the lives we had before?

    • Ariana May 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      Hi Jenny, I think the answer to your question is equal parts yes and no. You will all get back into the groove, live like Americans again… But you will all also be a little bit Australian and a little bit British. There is no undoing the change in experience and perspective. I think you will have a certain detachment to your own culture,and will be able to evaluate it more objectively. I also imagine you will feel a kinship with friends you meet who are from the countries you’ve lived in, and will be able to offer them a sense of home– just because you have been there as well.

  2. Amelia May 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    You articulate your experiences so well! And I understand so many of those feelings. I often feel like I am being compelled to dance and I don’t know the steps. The longer I live outside the US, the more out of step I feel when I come back. And yet I appreciate how much easier many things are here. I’m always amused and simultaneously unsympathetic when I hear people complain about traffic and mail delivery and rare occasional electrical outages or water that tastes “funny”. If I were in charge of the world, people would be compelled to live outside the US for at least a couple of months before they could graduate from college. I would also make them work in retail for six month before they could graduate from high school, but that is another topic for another day!

    • Ariana May 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      Yes, I definitely relate to being unimpressed with complaints about the little inconveniences! I think, “If you only knew how most of the world lives…” I agree with you that going outside of one’s home country to live for a while, even a few months, nearly always changes people in a positive way. I really want to take Amelia to the Philippines or another struggling country by the time she is 10– we tell her about how lucky she is, but I don’t think she can really know it until she sees more of the world.

  3. Liene May 10, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I’ve read more than once that repatriation can give an even bigger culture shock, mostly because the person is unprepared for it, but because there are less resources to help, and there are less people around you that “get it”. Sounds like you saw this firsthand. Thanks for the insights, and looking forward to reading the next posts on this topic!

    • Ariana May 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

      Hi Liene! Yes, I think you are right, that repatriation can be much trickier, particularly for people who spent their childhoods outside of their home country. But even adults struggle a lot, and as you say, no one really notices or tries to prepare for that. We weren’t in Germany long enough to experience anything that could be defined as reverse culture shock– we mostly felt comfort with things being familiar and easier.

  4. doro May 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    I love that picture of you from Jr/ Sr banquet, with part of Patty’s hair in it :-). I identify with so much of what you wrote. I think that we even went to take our driver’s test together once with your Dad. Do you remember that? I flunked, but I think that you passed that time :-). This is a great post!

    • Ariana May 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      Thanks, Doro! I think that was my 2nd attempt at the written portion… I went on to flunk the actual driving part twice! We got it eventually, right?!

  5. Lois Thorpe May 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Ariana, one of my teammates said to me early on here in Ukraine that culture shock comes in waves. And while my experience here has not been ‘difficult’ or all that ‘shocking’, thanks to my other experiences abroad, I find that I have moments that are so clear that my homeland is somewhere else. And while my passport says that’s the US and I am mostly at home there, I still feel like I’m swimming against the current a lot of the time.

    • Ariana May 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      Hi Lois, thanks for joining the conversation! I know what you mean about your passport stating something that doesn’t quite feel accurate. And yes, I think culture shock comes in waves, as you describe– I think there will always be something in a foreign culture that doesn’t quite feel right, no matter how long you stay there. I remember learning about the “pendulum swing” of culture shock– loving it, hating it, recovering, liking it, being irritated, until the range gets smaller,and there is more general homeostasis– accepting of differences, but realizing the difficulties in a more stable way…

  6. Grandma Seelye May 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, Ariana. You express yourself so well!! Love you!

    • Ariana May 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      Thank you, Grandma!

  7. Natasha May 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Great post. I just recently started following your blog after I saw a post on BlogHer. I’m getting ready for expat life and am trying to prepare myself/learn as much as possible by reading about others’ experiences! Do you think kids’ experiences repatriating these days are different because of the internet, social media, an explosion in TV and other media (i.e. it’s easier to keep up with American/global trends and culture)? Or even among adults for that matter …

    • Ariana May 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      Hi Natasha, and thanks for joining us!
      I think you bring up a really good point about technology. I do think it really changes everything. Friends can stay in touch much more easily across continents, there is so much more continuity between countries in terms of keeping up with culture… I feel pretty in touch with what is going on in the US, as I also learn more about British events and politics. I would say I am equally aware of both. Skyping is huge, email, facebook… All of it! These things really make the challenge of living in a new country easier! And I imagine they also help reduce reverse culture shock, since in the virtual world we are still living in our home countries, in a way. Complex, but fascinating, right?

  8. Dennis Family May 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Thanks for the beautiful post Sister. Having lived overseas in various places long term, I have gone through so much of the same. I have embraced the feeling of being
    separated from my “home” culture. I know that I am different, have different views, and like it. For a long time I yearned to go back to “somewhere” else, to take my family there and have a new cultural experience with them. Now that I am settled here, I still feel that differentness and try to incorporate it into our family culture. I know that sometimes my kids feel “shocked” by the culture outside of our home, they don’t feel “American”. What can I say, they weren’t raised by one. I have found that I am very sensitive to others who aren’t from around here, we connect on a deep common level of knowing what is out there and understanding each other. One of my closest friends is from Mexico, she and I have had so many similar experiences, she knows that I get her, and I feel like she understands me in a way that some one else wouldn’t. Thanks for sharing and opening up this conversation.

    • Ariana May 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Hi Joy, it’s nice to hear your voice and your story here. I agree that two foreigners can have a whole lot more in common than even two people from the same country. Living in a place that isn’t home completely changes a person in really significant ways. I am fascinated by the idea that your kids don’t feel “American”even though they have lived there their whole lives. I wonder if when they get older, and do more traveling, if they will find a place that really resonates with them. I still wonder about that myself. I don’t think that the Philippines feels like home to me any more that the US does. I sometimes want to roam about more, to see if there is a place that feels “right” to me. I was surprised by how comfortable I felt in Germany, a place I had never thought of living before. I loved Italy, but didn’t spend enough time there to get a good feel for it– but the warmth of the people there felt comforting to me….

    • tech.samaritan May 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

      The nature of being a TCK is that you have a third culture made up of a mixture of the two (or more) cultures that you have experienced. We know quite well that our family culture is foreign to many, and combines the influences we have had not just from the Philippines and the USA, but also from my home-schooled upbringing in SoCA, our mobile lifestyle, missionary frugality and can-do mentality, and my genetic disposition for quality food from Grandmother. Our kids don’t feel particularly American either, but really they are very American, but just not participants in mass media and pop culture. While we are establishing a sense of place here in rural America, we can’t help but be drawn to places with a deep history, and architecture to prove it.

      Reverse culture shock was different each time we experienced it. As a teen, it was an oddity, and I liked that America seemed so strange. As an adult, it was a little more sombre, as I could see so much damaging or unhealthy aspects more clearly. My own reverse culture shock started before actually returning, while we were still in the expat community. Seeing the import of the negative aspects of American pop culture and the influence on other cultures was really hard. Returning to the source was even harder.

    • Ariana May 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Good points about family and regional culture! And I agree with you that not participating in mass media and pop culture does not make someone not from their home country– it’s just another subculture. The no-tv, slow food, slow living, etc. subculture– but all part of American culture still.

      I think a lot of TCKs really struggle to re-integrate with their home cultures, seeing them as inferior. This is of course hard for everyone. You have found and worked to develop a community and subculture that you get can behind, that you feel good about raising your kids in, and that’s really important! I have to say, I’m still not sold on where we are as an ideal place to raise Amelia, and that is what it often comes down to. Luckily, we have options!

  9. Becky May 11, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    “But none of these things really felt earth-shattering to me. I was having a good time, and enjoyed the adventure. It was just different, and I am always amazed by how well children can adapt to just about anything.”

    My experience is limited, as I’ve never actually lived abroad myself, but I do think that “culture shock” is just an umbrella term for a whole host of things and an unfairly negative term at that. I’ve been delighted with how well public transport works in other countries and thoroughly annoyed at being pestered in shops. I’ve been pleasantly surprised when just smiling at someone is enough to initiate a conversation and furious with myself for forgetting to validate my ticket before getting on a train. All of these might come under “culture shock” and not all of them are bad things.

    But I think I know what you mean when you say that you didn’t look like a foreigner, so no-one thought you needed help. A close friend of mine emigrated, and she didn’t look like a foreigner either. And she really struggled. Not just with the bureaucracy, the visas, passports, overseas medical insurance, but with how different everything was. Her qualifications weren’t valid over there, she had to go back to secondary school, even though she’d been through Sixth Form and was qualified to go to University in the UK. There was one particularly horrible incident in a supermarket where she ended up in tears because something went by a different name. She was looking for something, I think it might have been mince, but the assistant didn’t know what she meant. They got there in the end, but in the UK, she’d have just been able to ask, it’s such a basic everyday thing that you don’t even think about it. I know that if I suddenly didn’t have the words to accomplish the things that I do without even thinking, I’d feel inadequate as well. Of course, when she was telling me all about this on the phone, I told her that she wasn’t inadequate at all, just inexperienced. And that was true. But there’s a whole world of difference between hearing something and knowing that it’s true, and actually feeling it. It was a long while before her heart caught up with her head, if that makes sense.

    At the same time, there were plenty of phonecalls that went along the lines of “Becky, Becky! You’ll never GUESS what happened today, it was so cool!”. I always took particular note of those ones because they were invaluable when she was being bombarded with the less positive aspects of being an expatriate. I ended up building quite a list of the things she’d be losing if she moved back to England. Eventually, she was remembering those things on her own without any help from me. She rarely has a good word to say about England now and annoying as I find that, it does mean that she truly has made another place her home.

    • Ariana May 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

      Hi Becky, thanks for sharing this story about your friend! I agree, too, that culture shock sounds unfairly negative, and not all of it is bad. There is a story line that people often follow in their transitions, from loving so many things, finding what is best about a place, and then gradually all of the differences creep up and seem overwhelming.(Sometimes this process is inverted, starting with the stuff they dislike.) They deal, they feel better, find more things they love, then get irritated again… And so on, until they can finally come to a better place of acceptance and understanding. I have been through this process a few times, so now that I am in a more difficult stage of adjustment, I can at least know this is somewhat normal– that I WILL adjust in the end, and feel OK about most of the things that make living here hard for me.
      I will be interested to hear your perspective when I write about the specific things that I have been struggling with here in the UK!

  10. monika May 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    After a lifetime of holding myself in, holding my true self back because it didn’t fit with the majority, and I didn’t want to cause any waves, it felt amazing to be somewhere amongst people who thought like me, shared my likes and dislikes, my values and beliefs, my pastimes…

    And now it has been taken away. And I just want to go back. I was finally, after a lifetime of never quite being happy, of always feeling like an outsider because I came from elsewhere and moved around a lot, I was finally deliriously, blissfully, ridiculously, happy. I remember driving my 7 year old to her riding lessons in Gex every week, and just feeling like I had to pinch myself, I was so happy.

    Since we have returned to Canada, nothing has worked out for me. I am still trying to re-integrate with my previous employer, but it has been hard, what with hiring freezes and massive cuts. My closest friends have moved away, my have colleagues retired, financially it has been a real struggle, and I’ve had had health problems which make me realize how inadequate our health care system really is.

    I trained as a planner, specifically an urban designer and heritage planner. I get sad every time I head out my door — every time I head out, I see and understand in excruciating detail how badly we have designed our cities and the effect it has on our quality of life. To know that there are solutions, but to have been involved long enough to know that no one is interested in changing the status quo, it makes me see that I am simply living in the wrong place.

    To come back and see the lost potential of our cities and communities, the levels of obesity, the food that is on offer in restaurants and grocery stores, to see the commercialization and commodification of life here… to know that it will never change in my lifetime, to have only once lived in a riding where my vote helped elect and official, well, it is frustrating. And honestly, I don’t want to be part of it. I want to go back to where we were all happy, but we can’t recreate the circumstances which sent us there, not for the long term. And so I am trying to face the reality that there may be no way back.

    What was so wonderful about Geneva is that it is absolutely chock-full of TCK — people who grew up elsewhere, lived a bit all over, and belong nowhere except with people like themselves. Ditto for their kids. It was great knowing that there are other people like me out there, and to have become friends with them.

    I guess in my case it is worse than culture shock or reverse shock — I have always felt out of place, and now I know for sure that I am.

    • Ariana May 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      Monika, thanks for sharing your story and experience here. It definitely makes my heart heavy to hear about your current situation. Is it worse to have had your ideal living/ community experience and to have lost it? Or is it “Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all…?” I still haven’t found that place where people seem to “get” me. I realized recently that I hadn’t told many of my stories to anyone, until I started tell my daughter about all of the things I’d done in my life that were unusual. I would tell her these stories while I took her to school, and she would tell them to my husband, who couldn’t believe them! That really made me realize how different my life has been from all the people around me. Only my old friends from boarding school can say, “Oh, of course!” when I tell them about that part of my life.
      Monika, I so wish we could have you guys over for dinner! I hope things look up for you all soon, and that some opportunities will come up for you to make some positive changes that will be healing for you all.

  11. Deepa May 12, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Hi Ariana, I found your blog via Decor8 :) This was such a fascinating read for me, because I’m Filipino! I grew up in Manila and even I would have had a hard time doing some of the things you learned to do. I was quite prissy as a kid so I never learned to properly climb a tree, and… caring for livestock or slaughtering a chicken? Wow!
    My experiences of culture shock are not quite as dramatic, but I’ve had my moments. I remember moving to Singapore and being so embarrassed when I started to greet a Singaporean ex-colleague by kissing her on the cheek (beso)… and she recoiled! And in Amsterdam, I feel woefully inadequate for being nervous every time I ride my bike, but wonder how the Dutch would feel about having to jump into a moving jeepney AND hang out of its tail end by the railing (sabit).
    As for reverse culture shock, after a year of living in Amsterdam (pop. 800,000 or so) I found myself overwhelmed by how many people (and billboards!) there are in Manila (pop. 19 million).

    • Ariana May 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Deepa, I’m so glad you came by and introduced yourself! I have to say, not all of my friends had the same provincial experience as I did, but I spent a lot of time with our helpers (mga katulong) and local kids, and really loved those parts of life. We did not live in a big city– we had to drive quite a ways to get to a big store, so most of our life was very rural. But I went to school in Manila, and like you mention, all of the traffic (yes, the obnoxious billboards!) and crowds were so different from what I was used to. I still prefer country to city. Even though I am not one to give kisses on the cheek, I remember how good and comforting it felt back in the States to hang out with a group of (American) Filipino friends and have everyone greet and say goodbye with a kiss on the cheek. Your experience sounds really embarrassing, though!

      Thanks for sharing, Deepa!

  12. globalanni May 16, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    I have lived overseas more than I have in my home country, the USA. I always experience reverse culture shock more deeply. I had to leave university after 2 years as I had such a hard time adjusting to the American way of life even though I am American. Now that I am living abroad as an adult, I feel so much more at “home” with other TCKs or Global Nomads and travelers. I love your pumping gas story. I can relate, but luckily my state is one of the few where you are not allowed to pump your own gas!! Thanks for the wonderful post!

    • Ariana May 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      Hi globalanni! I’m guessing you lived in Oregon– I always enjoyed not being allowed to pump gas when we lived there. I have definitely had the experience of meeting someone and really feeling a connection… and then I would find out that they had spent part of their life overseas! So, I know what you mean about feeling “at home” with people who share that history. I hope you have found a comfortable place to be with your family!
      Thanks for sharing.

    • traveller September 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      I just discovered your blog Ariana. Being a Filipino, married to an Indian, considering U.S. home but having lived in Tokyo for the last 8 years… I can totally relate to your posts. Moreover, my daughter, who is 8 years old, has Type 1 Diabetes. I wish I had your mom’s tenacity and positive outlook… she seemed to make things look so easy. We’ve just moved back to Midwest U.S. and my two oldest children want to go back “home”, so does my youngest one, who is only 2 1/2. Anyway, just wanted to wish you luck and blessings on your expat life in Europe. Hats off to you.

    • Ariana Mullins September 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

      Hi Traveller! Wow, you have such an incredibly global identity, which I’m sure will really shape your children. I hope your transition back to life in America goes smoothly. It must be disorienting for your children, but I’m sure they will adapt. Wishing you well as you work with your daughter on her diabetes– it is not easy, but she can have a full, wonderful life in spite of it. Thank you for stopping by and introducing yourself!

  13. Jason Burnett May 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Hi there! I found my way here after seeing one of your comments at decor8blog.

    Although I’ve never lived overseas, I have experienced culture shock several times, leading me to believe that people vastly underestimate how different things can be from one place to another within the United States.

    I grew up in a small town in Mississippi, then moved to New Orleans for college. It was my first time living in a big city, on top of which I had to learn to cope with the unique New Orleans culture. My wife is a native New Orleanian, so marrying her definitely helped out. On the other hand, it meant I had to learn to deal with her family – I could totally relate to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, having lived it.

    Then several years ago we decided to move to Minnesota. It’s nice up here, but definitely took some getting used to. Even though Minnesota winters aren’t as bad as we had feared (we moved up here having never seen snow), there are still a lot of small things about living in Minnesota and dealing with the weather here that I would have just learned by osmosis had I grown up here, that instead I’m having to set out to learn deliberately.

    • Ariana May 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      Hi Jason, thanks for coming over and introducing yourself. You are one of many that has commented to me on the culture shock of moving even within the USA. A lot of people have felt this, moving from the West Coast to the East Coast. The US is such a HUGE country, I think we forget sometimes how incredibly different the various regions are culturally. And then there’s the family subculture, which is also a really big deal. My family is very different from my husband’s family, even though we’re all from California.
      Ugh. And weather changes. It seems like a relatively small thing, but can have such a huge impact on daily life!

  14. Anonymous July 24, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    culture shock.

    it’s a small thing to other people.

    But it is a big thing for me.

    It can be the reason why I should stop going to school.

    I just feel left out really..

    And I always spend my Recess in the girls toilet…

    & spend lunchtime in the library…

    I told my parents about it, but they don’t care.. :(

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  16. Roly Manansala October 3, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    For a lot of Filipinos I have met who have been living or working abroad, its not so much the new and foreign things that unnerve them. It’s rather the loss of what they are used to, like the closeness and camaraderie that is typically Filipino. But I have known a handful of them who, when they come home, act as if they have never set foot in the Philippines. It’s all part of a “superiority complex” that infects Filipinos who get the opportunity to work abroad, and by shocking their families here with their new behavior and manner of speaking, they also introduce a sort of culture shock to their loved ones. Oftentimes this is just a phase they deal with, but there are those who don’t snap out of it. They become awestruck by the foreign country they act like foreigners in their own. In a way, they seem displaced, much like what you felt when you wrote this post. But I hope that ultimately this culture shock will not make anyone feel like one culture is superior to another.

  17. Hannah Avery October 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    I lived most of my teen years in Mexico, only coming to the states two times in 5 years. I really felt like a Mexican, and had planned on probably staying there my whole life. We left kind of unexpectedly, and it was extremely hard for me. I felt like I was leaving my country, culture, and friends. My sister and I had always been homeschooled, and we went to a Christian school here in the states. We also felt very out of the loop about movies, music, etc. It seems people were always quoting movies of which we had no idea. Most of what we talked about was Mexico, but quickly figured out that people didn’t want to hear about that all the time. Eventually, we learned more about them. I was homesick for years for Mexico, and even now, 11 years later, miss it, and have memory flashbacks. This was a great post, and I totally relate!

    -Hannah

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