"The shock often results in me wanting to strangle certain types of people."
Nicole B Author of NicoleB Photography (excellent blog)
As tough as she may be, this is an educated and well traveled young woman. She's lived in Asia, Eastern Europe, and now the Middle East. If that feeling can be big for someone like Nicole who has seen more of the world than 99% of us, you can bet that you or I will be susceptible too.
For example, one time I was wanting to meet a friend at the Denny's in La Uruca, about 15 miles from my house. I told the taxista, "yo quiero voy a la Denny's in La Uruca". Simple enough I thought, until the hour long car ride ended at a glitzy country club / resort. I had said "Denny's", but the guy heard "tennis" and took me one one of the most exclusive clubs in the province.
Now had this happened last week, the driver and I would have had a good laugh and I would have called my friends with a funny story about why I missed my Moon Over My Hammy date with them. But no, this happened in the second month I was here and I was still oblivious as to why I was so irrational and paranoid. In that moment, my brain was conjuring up every possible scenario that had led to to some tennis club and not Denny's. First it was suspicion of the driver trying to charge a gringo as much as possible, knowing full well I had said Denny's. Maybe my friends sent me this taxi as a joke, which was quite possible considering my love of pranking them.
So I told the guy to just get me back home and that he was going to have to rethink his price. And because of my excellent grasp of the Spanish language at that time, I'm sure he heard it as "blah, blah, blah, mi apartamento...blah, blah, blah, dinero...blah, blah, blah, godammit!!" He was smart enough of a guy to figure it out, and an hour later I was back at my building. I paid the guy generously (I had calmed down enough to know it wasn't his fault), and made a beeline for my friends' apartment. The scene that followed played out something like this....
I'm a guy who rarely, if ever, loses his cool. This wasn't me at all and I recognized that as soon as my mind stopped to take a breath from all the hostility. And not all forms of culture shock manifest as hostility as Dr. Carmen Guanipa points out in her study.
"The symptoms of cultural shock can appear at different times. Although, one can experience real pain from culture shock; it is also an opportunity for redefining one's life objectives. It is a great opportunity for leaning and acquiring new perspectives. Culture shock can make one develop a better understanding of oneself and stimulate personal creativity.Remember: YOU are in control here, and now that you know why it is you think building a bunker in your room for the end of days seems like a swell idea right now, you can put off those plans and just try to chill.
- Sadness, loneliness, melancholy
- Preoccupation with health
- Aches, pains, and allergies
- Insomnia, desire to sleep too much or too little
- Changes in temperament, depression, feeling vulnerable, feeling powerless
- Anger, irritability, resentment, unwillingness to interact with others
- Identifying with the old culture or idealizing the old country
- Loss of identity
- Trying too hard to absorb everything in the new culture or country
- Unable to solve simple problems
- Lack of confidence
- Feelings of inadequacy or insecurity
- Developing stereotypes about the new culture
- Developing obsessions such as over-cleanliness
- Longing for family
- Feelings of being lost, overlooked, exploited or abused"
My next post on this subject will be just that: Chill Methods
I hope this helps!