Beka is Indifferent
Back when this photo went viral, I lived with two girls: Jessica and Lauren. The running joke in our apartment was that Jessica was not impressed, Lauren was very impressed and Beka (me) was indifferent. This was (and is) a somewhat accurate exaggeration of our personalities.
It’s not so much that I lack sympathy or interest. I am just generally unconcerned about most things in life and I also have a very even temperament. I used to get stressed and anxious very easily, but I found that to be an uncomfortable way to live so I’ve since changed that. I am naturally happy and things don’t bother or anger me for very long. I am not claiming this as a merit; I am simply stating facts. My day-to-day life involves a lot of contentment on my part.
I have been warned of culture shock a multitude of times. I didn’t suffer from it while I was in Spain, but I was mentally prepared to do so here in Colombia. So far, I’m not following the trend.
The trend is that at first everything is AMAZING. You loooooooooooooooooove Colombia. It’s soooooo great and you’re sooooooo very happy to be here.
Then comes the crash. You are miserable and sad and you just want to go home.
Then, you adjust and things are a little easier. Eventually, the cycle starts all over again.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to be here. I’m extremely honored to have received this Fulbright ETA. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the experiences I’ve had here so far, but my time here has not felt all that different from my summer in Sarasota or my past school year in Atlanta or my year before that in Orlando. Life is good. I’m happy. Yet at the same time, life here is not so much more amazing (or so much worse) than life in the States.
There are definitely a lot of differences, but nothing has surprised me as of yet. As I’ve mentioned before, I had studied Colombian culture and culture shock extensively before I ever had a flight to get me here. I also made a conscious decision before I came to purposely acculturate in some ways to make my professional and personal lives easier (that will be the topic of another post). Things haven’t been peaches and cream either. I’ve had my share of difficulties, but honestly, things aren’t always easy back home. I am definitely “homesick” in a sense, but I am accustomed to that. I miss my family and church in Florida. I miss my boyfriend in North Carolina. I miss my running group and TESOL community in Georgia. I miss my friends in Florida, Georgia and all the other places they’ve moved to. Unfortunately for me, I’m always missing somebody because the people I care about are scattered all over the world.
Life here just feels like life anywhere I’ve lived it. Some of the details are different, but the big picture is the same.
Maybe 3 weeks isn’t enough time for culture shock to truly hit me. I’ll let you know if things change.