Monday, January 14, 2008

Survival Fact #3: You Are Still Yourself (Only More)

Wow! A whole week since my last post? That's not good, but the circumstances aren't so bad. A new promotion at work is going to give me the time and resources I need to really concentrate on this labor of love. I want to thank everyone who has been so kind. Apparently people really like this blog, so I owe it to them to never fall so far behind again!

That said....

In the last installment, we looked at the symptoms associated with culture shock and where they come from. Tomorrow's post entitled "Chill Methods" will address how to slay this gorgon without risking your inner Perseus. But today, I would like to point out some helpful facts in response to some comments I have been receiving regarding the perceived loss of identity associated with culture shock. It happens. We sometimes feel as though our whole being has melted away and we're replaced with someone else.

I know I felt it, and unfortunately for me, I didn't have the darndest idea as to what was happening to me. Culture shock was just a humorous reference to someone who couldn't adapt to their new surroundings, or so I thought.... In my mind I was doing just fine blaring Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" every morning as my computer woke me up. So what if I didn't like that song before? At that moment, it was the best piece of music I had ever heard.

Yeah, I had it that bad...

Still do in some ways! Right now as I type this, I have a madman's playlist queued up on my Winamp. Patsy Cline followed by Jane's Addiction and rounding it off with some classic Dr. Dre. Before I moved here, I was pretty much an Alternative and Jam Band (Phish, Dave Matthews, etc.) kind of guy. In the year I've been here my (legally acquired) MP3 collection has gone from a few hundred to literally many thousands of songs. Why? Maybe I was (am) over identifying with my own American culture as a weird defense mechanism. But the side effect to that symptom is that I now have a much broader appreciation of music that will probably stay with me for life.

So it's not all so bad. Like the growing pains all of us have to experience when we are young, the secret is turning it around to your benefit. Though in my case it wasn't an excuse to get out of gym class, it was a deeper love of an art I had previously only used as background noise.

So in summary, don't be afraid that you are disappearing. You aren't. Whether you like it or not, you are becoming more cultured and the person you are is becoming the multi-faceted person you were meant to be. Tomorrow, we will talk about good ways of maintaining your tranquility. But for now, those of you who need something to meditate on,
I give you this truism....




Just think about it, you'll get it....

See?

You're Welcome!

16 comments:

Nicole said...

Grin, I was wondering if you got shocked ;)
Glad you're alright.
You never know, after that story with the scorpions and such ;)

Nicole said...

Hey there,
if this one:
http://actualhumor.com/?p=10
is not your blog, then someone has copied your entry....

Hope you are alright!

msSmunro said...

Do you think people who dont like their homeland so much, ie. cant wait to leave and little intention of returning, would suffer Culture shock to the same degree?

You're a great writer by the way :). Im one of those who thoroughly enjoys your blog.

Nicole said...

Hello Echo - are you still there?
:(
Hope you are ok?!!

msSmunro said...

Ditto!

Merlyn???

chanpheng said...

I enjoy your blog - but what's happened? I think it's a great idea to record your transition into a new culture, even the small subtle things are good to record. I've been overseas for so long, I've forgotten the giddiness then the shock when I first started working overseas in 1985.

macgirvin said...

Greetings - just stumbled across your blog. I'm another American expat now living in Australia. You'll be settled in no time...

macgirvin.com

don_mecca said...

Yo! I'll be movin down there from Georgia - June 4th. We will be down there till Aug 12th - but are hoping to live there. Questions: Are you working for a company there? And if so how does an American do that? Also - do you have residency and/or citizenship? And how hard is it to get? Any other advice is greatly appreciated. Here are our notes so far: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddbdf5x_24cjfh5dcx

Nicole said...

Hello - pls let us know how you're doing!
:(

Cole said...

Pretty interesting website. It brings up a familiar feeling to me, the current topic.

I live on the Texas border; practically in Mexico, at least you'd think so if you were to see my little town.

I'm not from here, but am from Texas.

It is amazing to me the difference in culture being in a border town from being a bit off of the border.

There is much good and much bad here. I try to focus on the good and maintain my style of life. I must say, it is difficult though.

Border folks are not very welcoming to folks not from the border, I assure you. THey can be very rude and quite racist.

I counter the negativity with a grin and a nod usually. At times it wears on me though and all I can do is well, blog. :)

Take care, I like the blog.

Pam said...

Are you still updating this blog!? I am living in Brasil on assignment for a year. I am curious to see what your suggestions for dealing with culture shock are. Looking forward to seeing a new post soon. Sincerely, Pam Belding

travelandtrips said...

Hi..
Nice blog..
Congratulation..
☆ Martinha ☆
=)
http://travelandtrips.wordpress.com/

Pablo (yo) said...

Muy buen blog!
Si quieres, pasa por el mio: http://albumdeestampillas.blogspot.com

watch vampire diaries online said...

hey there
Nice post

broham4567 said...

I've always laughed every tie I see that picture.

Leila said...

I was born and raised in the Philippines for 11 years before I moved to God Bless America. I hated being in the Philippines. I was bullied because I was fat (when everyone was anorexic), "stupid", and socially awkward. And I came to America, suddenly, I was smart, not that fat, and socially acceptable (this can be ascribed to the high level of political correctness in this country). However, even with the salutary beginnings, I couldn't help but fall into an abyssal depression where I couldn't cope with my culture shock. I escaped through internet, videogames, and reading. Now, 7 years later, I am fully integrated into the American culture and legacy. I'm not a patriot or anything, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't American (when my heart and soul I was... at least I'm 1770s American, not 21st century...).

I described in my first comment on your blog that life is a perpetual birth cycle, where you leave a more comfortable bubble for the unknown world. That is what culture shock essentially is. You're not anymore helpless and lost in your prior state of being, but being thrust in a foreign world makes you think so. I can even go as far as saying this "culture" shock phenom is applicable in all things: relationships, jobs, schools...

This is why I love your blog. Other than the fact that I can relate, it is thoroughly fulfilling to understand why culture shock is so important and distressing.