Most of the posts I have done thus far have described the unique and interesting things that I’ve noticed about Thailand. I’ve ridden on motorcycles, gone to the beach and eaten strange fruit. But there is an uncomfortable and difficult part of uprooting your life and moving to a foreign country … culture shock.
As a first-time expat, I can tell you that the difficulties of moving to Thailand have been immense. Aside from the obvious hurt that comes with leaving behind your friends and family, there are the challenges you confront in everyday life. Not knowing the language and the inability to communicate with taxi drivers and store clerks probably top the list of the most frustrating aspects of each day.
I have noticed that culture shock is very much like the 5 stages of grief. First there is denial. This affected me for the first few weeks; I failed to wrap my head around the fact that this was my new life and that I did, in fact, live in Thailand. The next stage is anger. This is where I’m at now. It is not something that I outwardly express, but when everything around you is so unfamiliar, you are bound to become frustrated.
Thankfully it can really only go up from here. Bargaining is the next, followed by a little dip with depression and finally acceptance. From what I hear, that should hit at about the six-month mark. And I can’t wait for the day when I chill out, take a deep breath and finally accept that there will be traffic, I will sweat and I will get puzzled looks when I pantomime to the store clerk that I am looking for hangers.
Music by Get Set Go.