Well we have now been in Memphis four about 2 weeks and we quickly moved pass the honeymoon stage and into the frustration stage. Yup, I am talking about Culture Shock. Or in our case, reverse culture shock.
We left Spain in a bit of a long awaited whirlwind. most of you know that John and I waited for his visa to come in for nearly 2 years and once we got it we were ready to go. We got the visa just in time to be home for Christmas. Quickly bought tickets and backed up all our belongings. On the day we were going to say good bye to our community, John woke up with a fever, that afternoon he tested positive for Covid. We had to cancel our flights, isolate from each other in our apartment. I also started getting some covid symptoms and was advised to continue to self isolate. 2 weeks and a few days later we were back to ‘normal’ and received the all clear for travel. We left Spain quickly after that, eager to finally move on to the next chapter. We landed in California on December 31st and stayed with my family for nearly 2 months. When we landed in Cali, we still didn’t know if John had gotten the job and while we were waiting for the news he continued to look for work in LA as well as Memphis. In the end John got the job here in Memphis and we are so thankful for blessing. That being said leaving my family was hard. I had created this dream in my mind of the ideal life seeing my family weekly, started a business with my best friend. Etc. It was an idealic dream, that I need to say goodbye to. So we are here in Memphis and as you can from the chart above we moved quickly past the honeymoon stage and into the frustration phase.
Here is a short list of things that are frustrating me:
- Why are there so many pot holes here? It’s like playing some sort of weird live video game, an obstacle course from hell.
- Speaking of the roads, the drivers. Man oh man. Maybe it’s because everyone is trying to dodge the pot wholes, but I think Memphians think the lines are suggestions.
- We have now looked at around 12 different homes and still haven’t found the one.
- There are a lot of southern formalities that we aren’t use to, like using mr and mrs or yes ma’m etc.
- Everything is sooooo spread out. We are having to drive wide and far to get anywhere…
Ok that’s enough of venting… If you are from Memphis, I hope you don’t take my venting as sign that I don’t like it here or that I don’t like you, or that I am not thankful for being here. I am simply in the frustration stage. In this Medium article it describes this stage like this: “At this stage, the fatigue of not understanding gestures, signs and the language sets in and miscommunications may be happening frequently. Small things — losing keys, missing the bus or not being able easily order food in a restaurant — may trigger frustration. And while frustration comes and goes, it’s a natural reaction for people spending extended time in new countries.” Although we aren’t in a new country, the stages still apply when experiencing reverse culture shock.
I am writing this hard reflection for two reasons. 1. to let you into my heart and current story. 2. for me to continue processing.
Although I am having feelings of frustration, loneliness, anxiousness and more. I also hold on to hope. When I look at the timeline above I see a light at the end of the tunnel, I look forward to adjusting and accepting and if I could add a fifth, I would say I look forward to celebrating. We chose Memphis for a reason, or better yet God brought us back for a reason. And I have been an obedient follower of God’s calling in my life since day one and each step I have taking thus far in my life I am so thankful for.
Speaking of gratitude, a few that are helping in this process are:
- finding safe spaces to vent.
- getting outside.
- and gratitude.
It is hard being here right now but it’s also been really fun and beautiful too. To name a few things that I am thankful for of my time so far.
- Going to our best friends house for brunch on our first day here.
- Playing fun games with our nephews.
- Drinking Margaritas with our family.
- Cuddling with “our” puppy (not actually ours, but we are living with him.)
- Eating Muddy’s cupcakes.
Anyway, that’s it for now. I hope next time you read something on here, its less frustrating and more up lifting. But this is where I am. I hope that if you are feeling frustrating in your context, or feeling anxious or lonely you also can find hope and support. You are not alone.
Come to me all who are weary and I will give them rest.