My mind screamed with frustration, and did everything in its power to persuade me to walk into the office, fling those words at my boss, storm out and jump on the next departing plane to a place where people just get it! I was footsteps away from the door, when recognition pierced through my anger, flashing the words through to my brain “Culture shock.”
Culture Shock. I’ve been here before. We’re old friends who, I thought, parted ways long ago. I’ve been a foreign alien long enough now to have adapted to the new ways of thinking and living. I knew how things were and, I thought I had, accepted them.
I turned from the office back to my classroom, thinking of the possibility of my old, unwanted friend’s return and what it meant. Anger, frustration, disappointment, frequent mood swings, and the need to change what’s around me, so that it makes more sense. Longing for my own kind. For light-hearted banter and play, for family who understand and love me, for my easy-going mates, for children who have manners and respect, for gum trees, for the funny way we talk, for health, and fun in the sun.
Fun. How I long for the return of that old friend.
My irritable tiredness is growing every day. The differences are now what glow in the dark, extinguishing the light of what I once found so attractive, exciting and enjoyable. Meaning and sense of purpose have left me. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t know which foot to place forward next.
Could this just be a return visit of culture shock? Will it be easier now for me to make her leave, now that I’m aware of her presence? or have I reached a moment of definitive change? The moment where I realize “I don’t belong here. I don’t fit and I don’t want to try.”