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Culture Shock

September 21, 2017


After arriving at our new apartment and unpacking, I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was our second day in our new place and I was panicking. I cried myself to sleep and couldn't understand why I talked myself in to moving to China. Why did I think this would be a good idea?! I was so out of my comfort zone. I didn't know how to order food at a restaurant, go grocery shopping, or even use my microwave because everything is in Chinese! I cried and felt so home sick. I wanted to be back with my family, decorating for fall, indulging in pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, but instead, I sat in a small, muggy apartment surrounded by mold. I'd try to muster up the motivation to clean, but everywhere I turned, MORE MOLD! One night I laid in bed and just sobbed. I don't think I've ever cried like that in my life. The culture shock was unexpected for me and I didn't know how I was going to ever feel happy here.

For about a week, I spent my time looking at houses online, picturing myself somewhere else with a crisp fall breeze, hanging my autumn wreath. I thought about the nostalgia of Thanksgiving, the pilgrims, and the feelings of pride for our Country that I couldn't celebrate the same way here. I thought about all the differences, especially the ones I didn't like, and thats all I wanted to focus on. I felt justified in it too. What we were going through was hard and I felt entitled to my homesickness. As the week passed I felt myself spiraling and a huge fear overcame me. Will I ever be happy?

You may think that sounds dramatic, but it's a very valid concern. My entire life I've struggled to feel content. I've dreamt away the present thinking, if only I had a boyfriend...if only I was married...If only I had a house...a kid...another kid. It's something I've never been able to overcome in my life. While living in Rexburg I could never understand the other moms who were content to be home, or live in such a small town. I would wonder to myself, do they feel like they had to settle for something less, do they not know there's more out there? I couldn't relate and subconsciously isolated myself from many opportunities to understand and make friends. I often categorized myself as a misfit, because I mistook their contentment for complacency. I think there is a fine line between the two, a balance that is hard to find. As I pondered that realization, I made a decision, I did not have to be complacent with my life, but I did need to be content, and I figured, if I could find contentment IN CHINA, I could find it anywhere. It has become my new goal. I long to not just have a positive attitude, but be truly grateful for what I have in my life. As I have started to apply this goal, I've felt much happier. Things that were initially a huge problem about being in China (ie the bedding, the wall decor, the shower with no walls) started to become a non issue. When I started letting go of the need to control and the need to be somewhere else, I could appreciate my family and things around me more. I still have a long way to go, but each day gets a little better. 

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