Wednesday, 9 September 2009

PC or not to be...PC

Living in the US, I always felt under restriction as to what I could express verbally. America is supposedly the land of free speech, but we have more rules about verbal etiquette than anywhere else I have lived so far. One area of conversation I particularly felt I had to watch my tongue on was race relations. We Yanks are so bloody touchy on this topic. I wonder how some of my fellow Americans would react to me calling myself a minority. How would they feel about me saying I have a better understanding now of what it's like to not feel like I fit in with the majority. I often wondered why immigrants in the US tended to surround themselves with other immigrants, and why it was so common for us to also segregate ourselves based on colour. Part of the answer is that it's just easier. It takes work to try and fit into a new/different culture. Also, those who are in the majority typically just don't understand what those in the minority go through. I've been here for almost a year and a half now and I do have some Australian acquaintences and friends, but more immigrant connections. The Australians I do know and spend time with tend to have had more 'wordly' experiences than most, either having done a stint overseas or a foreign partner, etc. As I continue to settle in, however, I do hold out hope that I'll make more Aussie mates along the way. On that note, my stage 2 visa paperwork came in the post this week. My police check application has been sent off, 1 of the 2 main forms I need to fill out has been started, and I'll be spending part of this weekend trying to finish up the rest. Wish me luck that it's a smooth and short process!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Culture Shock and Stress

As I was reading this article today, the thought occured to me that I could still be in one of the stages of culture shock. Recently, a few other expats have mentioned to me that they were having trouble coping, either comparing themselves to others and wondering why they weren't enjoying life in Australia just as much, or admitting that they are seriously stressed out and not really happy at the moment.

Usually, I'm more than willing to admit the stress I am under, but since settling here in Australia, my 4th country of residence in as many years, I think I feel as though I should be just that...settled. I have a full-time job, a husband who I've just celebrated my 2nd wedding anniversary with, a house to call my own, and plenty of new friends and acquaintences that I am able to get together with on a regular basis. The thing is, all of these factors have their own complications. I've pretty much given up what were my career aspirations a couple of years back, due to the fact that there aren't as many pathways in Adelaide into my chosen field. On some level, I've come to accept that I will have to take a step back and re-build my skills, some old and some new, in order to someday create a job for myself that is alignment with what makes me happy. It will happen, but it's hard work and takes a lot of patience in the meantime. My husband is doing very well in his career; so well, in fact, that his average home time is probably about 8pm or later most nights. I hate this and it's caused me to have to re-work my expectations of what married life should look like. While I'm hoping it's only temporary, someday I may have to just accept that having a sit down dinner at the table before 7pm every night is never going to happen. Our house is a serious work in progress, and some of the unfinished projects feel like the physical embodiment of my mental state. This, however, should be alleviated in a few months, fingers crossed, although there are a few things I was very much hoping would be rectified before my Aunt's visit in November. Along these lines, I am dying to be able to reciprocate and invite many of my new friends over to the house for a few dinners, parties and such but I really can't yet because of the undone house projects.

I'm less willing to admit what is causing me stress or unhappiness because I don't want the folks back home to be worried, nor do I want the new people in my life to think I'm not doing well. To be honest, I'm not so sure that I'm not doing well; it's simply that some of things have to settle down at some point, and they will. In the meantime, I'm slightly exhausted! This is the first time in weeks, maybe a couple of months, that I have actually felt inspired and witty enough to write something I feel is worthy and coherent. Perhaps that's a good sign, for now anyway.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Slacker Update

Ok so I've been a total slacker with the blog lately. I am very much anticipating the end of winter and the completion of some more house projects, the lack of both of which seems to suck up my mental energy these days. Hubs and I just had a lovely, and needed, anniversary weekend away in McLaren Vale, where we ate heaps, visited numerour wineries, and spent lots of time sitting in the hot tub and sauna. I think we should do this once every couple of months!