Thursday, 18 February 2016

That One Stage of Culture Shock Where Everything is Irritating

Disclaimer: I don’t hate England. Or Great Britain. The United Kingdom? Whatever the HECK this country is.

When I arrived at Harlaxton a little over a month ago, literally EVERYTHING was exciting. E V E R Y T H I N G. Myself, approximately one month ago:
  • “It’s rainy all the time here? GREAT! I LOVE RAIN.”
  • “I’m living in the carriage house?! This is fantastic! I’ll get to breathe in fresh air everyday!”
  • “Plastic bags cost extra? That’s SO cool, discouraging waste and trying to be environmentally friendly!”

Myself, approximately yesterday:
  • “Why does it literally have to ALWAYS be raining?????? THESE ARE NICE SHOES.”
  • *Walks to the manor, forgets keys, textbook, laptop charger, etc.* “ARE YOU SERIOUS I HAVE TO WALK ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE CARRIAGE HOUSE I HATE THIS SO MUCH”
  • “WHY do I have to pay for a plastic bag?? Why do I have to pay for tap water?? Why do I have to pay to use this restroom?? Why do I have to pay to eat this food in the restaurant?? WHY IS THIS COUNTRY SO EXPENSIVE???”
  • “Honestly, do you have to talk like that?”
Welcome to That One Stage of Culture Shock Where Everything is Irritating. (Seriously, everything.)

I mean, I knew this part of culture shock was a thing. It’s generally the second stage of culture shock, and it’s called something like “rejection” or “frustration.” However, I didn’t think that I would ever actually experience it. I didn’t see how the splendor of the manor and the thrill of life in another country was EVER going to wear off. I thought I was going to whip out my inner-ENFP and be absolutely thrilled for every single second of this semester.

The irritation is REAL, y’all. Underneath all of those annoyingly peppy Instagram and Facebook posts that go on and on about how wonderful and exciting this country is, there is an angsty human who just wants to throw fish and chips in the trash and eat a cheeseburger and copious amounts of sugar, the true American diet.

Because my brain actually leaps at any opportunity to stress itself out, this frustration and irritation has spurred a lot of anxiety on my part. Why am I not having a 10/10 time like everybody else seems to be having? Do I just have a really awful attitude? Why don’t I feel as #blessed as I did at the beginning of the semester? You see, I haven’t exactly enjoyed this negativity and irritation that I’ve been feeling – I’ve done my best to try and suppress it and be the way-too-happy girl that haunts my social media profiles.
I mean, you probably already guessed it – that didn’t end very well.

I am a FEELER, guys. (Read: emotionally unstable.) I have a lot of emotions, and little to none of them can be contained. Therefore, trying to bottle up all my feelings of frustration resulted in a little outburst explosion.

Luckily, I have GREAT friends who are always more than happy to document my breakdowns, and therefore, here is a picture of me, at the Cliffs of Moher, during said breakdown.

I won’t go into details, but this breakdown consisted of me screaming angry things at the weather and proclaiming “I AM IN THAT ONE STAGE OF CULTURE SHOCK WHERE EVERYTHING IS IRRITATING!”

Acceptance, friends. Acceptance.

It took some very nasty winds and a small downpour, but I had finally reached a place where I could acknowledge the stage of culture shock I was in. I mean, maybe I just needed to shout profanities at Mother Nature to make myself feel better, but more than likely, I just needed to accept that these feelings of hostility and frustration towards this country and its culture (and its climate) are normal. They comprise an entire stage of culture shock, which is a very normal thing that most people go through when encountering a new country and culture.

I’m okay, y’all. And if you’re experiencing the same feelings of irritation as me, you’re okay, too. Just because the honeymoon phase of culture shock is over doesn’t mean that we are all doomed to walk around with feelings of hatred for the rest of the semester. Eventually, we’ll come to accept that the weather is simply rainy 24/7 and the British actually like food this bland. We’ll reach a blissful state of biculturalism, and it’ll be GREAT.

Until then, it’s okay to be irrationally angry that the sinks have two separate faucets.

Written by: Lindsey Moore


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