On culture shock, or lack thereof

20 Mar

“Culture is a little like dropping an Alka-Seltzer into a glassyou don’t see it, but somehow it does something.”

~ Hans Magnus Enzensberger

It’s been one month since I stepped off the plane at the infamous Toncontín airport. I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed.

I received a lovely ‘letter of support’ from AFS Honduras yesterday, which was filled with words of encouragement and advice about how to work through homesickness and culture shock.

This made me realize that I haven’t actually experienced any culture shock yet. In fact, I’ve settled into life here with an almost surprising ease.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve lived and travelled in Latin American countries before or because I’m now older (confirmed) and wiser (debatable), but culture shock hasn’t been an issue. I’m happy to be here and excited to be learning about the Honduran way of life.

I think the hardest thing to deal with has been the lack of freedom caused by the insecurity. I’m used to being able to come and go where I please, when I please.

Not being able to go for a walk or pop down to the local shops on my own can make things feel a little suffocating, but my host mum has been brilliant at looking for ways for me to get out and about safely.

Apart from that minor adjustment, I can’t say there’s been anything that I’ve come across yet that’s really floored me. In fact, until I read the AFS letter I had actually forgotten that culture shock was often part and parcel of the travel experience.

Maybe I’m being too blasé and in a couple of weeks’ time I’ll have a delayed culture shock-induced breakdown. But for now, todo bien, todo tranquilo.


4 Responses to “On culture shock, or lack thereof”

  1. MB March 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Far easier when you know (and love) the food, have the language, and appreciate the lifestyle. I wouldn’t have even considered culture shock as an issue Em. Just being able to put your thoughts into cyber-space and knowing that people from ‘home’ can see them instantly is probably enough to get you by. You’re doing well, but don’t get too relaxed and lapse into over-confidence about the security aspects. Love following the posts by the way, and a few of my work colleagues are also having a read.

    • honduranhiatus March 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

      That’s true. Nice to know that I have more than two readers of the blog. 😉 Will your work collegues be joining the ‘International Stair Climbing Support Group’? My current tally since starting on Tuesday is 1150 stairs!

  2. chris dolahenty March 22, 2013 at 4:06 am #

    Glad to hear all is going well. Your posts have been very entertaining. Keep them up.

    • honduranhiatus March 22, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      Nice to hear that you’re enjoying them. I think they’ll make a nice record of my trip.

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