I know the last few posts have been closely related to my return to America and adjusting, so I apologize for that. Today, I want to talk about the many things that affect adjusting back to American living and what culture shock really does to your body. I have several friends who have never experienced what I have, or at least not to the same extent, and that’s mostly what this is for.
I would have to say that the biggest and most challenging thing about all of this is you can’t prepare completely for it and you have no control over it. You can’t speed up the adjusting process. You can prepare your heart and mind all you want, but there are so many things you cannot prepare for or expect.
My third week back was extremely difficult. I was exhausted all the time and every day felt as if I could fall apart at any moment, and I did a couple times. I grew frustrated with myself and my circumstances, then I got frustrated that I was even frustrated in the first place. God has blessed me so incredibly much since being back, in ways I not only don’t deserve, but never expected. Because of these blessings, I was feeling that I had no right to be frustrated.
The second most challenging thing is that on the outside, you look perfectly fine, but on the inside everything is a mess.
I have barely been able to have full thoughts over the past couple weeks. I have had to write literally every single thing down that I need to remember, and even then I still may forget. In a previous post, I wrote about staring at orange juice for ten minutes because I was used to two size options not fifty size, brand and pulp options. On the outside, I may have looked like I just was taking my time deciding, but on the inside I was beyond overwhelmed and felt that I could fall apart on the spot (and surprised I didn’t).
The third for me has been the ability to be emotionally present.
I thought that since my heart for Honduras and God has opened some amazing opportunities for me here, that this aspect of adjusting would be simple. I couldn’t be more wrong. I could be in a deep conversation with a friend or having game night and laughing with a few friends, but I don’t feel present. I feel like I’m simply observing, watching my life pass by without having the ability to be there and enjoy it. This is one of those things that has grown increasingly frustrating for me, because I so badly want to be here. It almost makes you so focused inward, that you feel extremely self-centered. I was told that I’ve been pretty quiet since being back, and this is why. It is better some days than others and it something that will slowly wear off, but being patient with that is difficult.
Lastly, it’s all the little things that get you, the ones you don’t even think about!
It’s hearing a father speaking Spanish to his children in Target and completely tuning your friend out and being sucked out of your own world for a couple minutes without realizing it. It’s seeing kids that look like your students and seconds before waving, realizing that it’s an impossibility. It’s paying $60 for food that would only cost you $20 a month ago. And most importantly (haha), it’s paying $5 for a coffee that isn’t as good as the $1 coffee you used to enjoy every day.
I feel like I’m coming into a more stable place. I’m beginning to have a schedule again and real-life is starting to settle in. Maybe I will never be able to truly live as I did before Honduras. Maybe the cost of living will always surprise me. Maybe hearing Spanish will always pull me out of reality. Maybe $5 coffee will always sadden me.
I’m learning, extremely slowly, to be patient with myself. In order to be patient with myself, I have to surround myself with people who are patient with me. I have had such a great support system in returning, of people who encourage me to take my time in adjusting.
I’m learning to rest and to be content in where God has me. Learning all I can while I’m there, and taking the next steps in being more adjusted. It’s exhausting, frustrating and sad at times, but it’s a process that I have to walk through.
Have a blessed day!