Culture shock in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 23 March 2016
Last night I was in bed reading when I felt tears rolling out of the corners of my eyes. I had felt frustrated, a little angry, and just down all day. There wasn't really a reason to be upset except that I missed my cats, my family, my friends, and many of the normalities of our life in the U.S. We've been in Sri Lanka for three weeks (time flies!) and have eight more to go. I realized that the upset feeling was probably related to culture shock.

(Here are photos of our little kitties at my parents' house... Lily is the blonde kitty and Violet is the black kitty.)

After reading up on the phenomenon of culture shock, I learned that there are three stages: Euphoria (you're in a new place, everything is different, there's so much to see), Frustration (nothing is the same, you don't have comforts of home, your new life style is different and possibly more difficult), and Acceptance (you take the good with the bad and have knowledge about how to deal with differences). I'm currently in the Frustration stage.

I don't remember having as much of an issue with culture shock when I moved to London for two years. I was pretty lonely at times but there wasn't a language barrier and there wasn't such a harsh climate.

It is comforting to know that my feelings are normal and the sadness and frustration will pass. James has had his moments too. One night as much as we calmly tried to guide our tuk tuk driver to our apartment, the young man just would not or could not follow our hand gestures. The driver finally stopped to ask a police officer! We of course had to pay more than we would have... Not a big deal but because that scenario has played out a half dozen times already, James was understandably frustrated.

My mom is going to send us a box with a few things from home and I will continue to journal and blog. We are trying to take short excursions on the weekends to play the role of tourist and see more of Sri Lanka. That is certainly helping. (Below is a view of the Madu River from The River House lodge in Balapitiya.)

I also have research and lecturing goals that give me something to concentrate on and work towards. Plus - we are not alone. I know you are there rooting for us. Thank you! 

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