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.


Laine Moore said...

Yay new post! Ok this is really not on topic and I'm sorry but, remember that amazing chicken fruit rice dish we had at Kappy's that one time? Man that was good. Do you know if they are they still open?

Anyway, I feel ya. I'm definitely still in culture shock, it's like the waves in Hawaii, they just keep hitting and I can't even stand up yet! I think it gets to a point where the novelty is gone and it's just stressful.

Suzer said...

Yep Kappy's is still open but it is under new management. Same cook is working there though.

Yeah same here although I think it should come back around, hopefully sometime soon. I want more novelty damn it!

A Free Man said...

Hang in there. It took me about three years before I started to feel comfortable in Britain and then we left six months later. You'll get there, just takes a bit more time than we think.

Muddiah said...

Putting up a 'good front' is a good idea in certain situations, but trust that your family and good friends can handle the truth and be more than willing to listen when you need an outlet. You're probably expecting much more of yourself than is humanly possible.