When you begin to make a list of what you want a place to have for you to be comfortable, take it seriously. Make your dream list. But also be aware of how you will adapt to living in that place day to day. A great deal of how you adapt to your new countries culture depends on what personality type you are. Please do some soul searching about yourself and be honest with which type of personality you have. A definition can be found at Wikipedia .
If you are a type A personality, like I am, can you live with the fact that some countries are on a “manana” time schedule? Will it drive you crazy, when the plumber says he will come to your house on Monday only to see him show up sometime on Thursday? Maybe, make a “cultural adjustment difficulties checklist.” List things you know will drive you nuts and decide how you will overcome them.
I am an avid stickler about time. I boast that I am never late for any appointment and go further to say that I feel much more comfortable when I am several minutes early. By the same token, if my telephone repair man says he will be at my house at 9 am, I will be very angry when he shows up at noon.
I know this about myself. I also know that when I move to Panama, the pace of life is slower. I will need to alter my expectations, and yes become more PATIENT. So, really look inside yourself and determine if the cultural adjustment you will have to go through is something you can handle. It will make a major difference in your happiness in any place if you can “go with the flow”
I thought I would write this post because last weekend I saw the best movie that captured the cultural adjustment that expats face when living in a very different country than the one they have always lived in. I would advise anyone thinking about moving abroad to see this movie. It is thought provoking as well as really funny and fun to see. Here is a clip from, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Find out where it is playing at Fandango.com Of all the great lines in this movie, I love this one the best, “Everything will be alright in the end. So if it isn’t alright now, it is not the end.” Words to remember when living abroad.
Everyone Will Experience a Cultural Adjustment
When you know it will happen, remember that you will work through it and in the end appreciate the fact that you did become an expat. It is often said in blogs that panic comes to everyone at some point in their first year. The thing to remember is that you must not do anything drastic when you are in this “state of mind.” If you wait it out, it will pass. And what’s more you will be glad you did. The rewards of keeping your reactions in check, will give you years of enjoyment in your new home. Here is a great article on how to face your own cultural adjustment .
Each time you experience some event that doesn’t feel comfortable, think of it as a challenge to you personally. Remember, that you had the courage and determination to make a decision to move. Anything after that is just a hiccup!
For more information go to my page: Living abroad resources