Saturday, 10 November 2007

The Honeymoon Is Over

Maybe its just been the stress of the last week but I feel like I've left the honeymoon phase. Remember the four stages of culture shock. There's the honeymoon phase where everything is wonderful and exciting and the people seem sooo friendly! This is followed by the rejection phase where all the little things about the new country start to annoy you. Apparently this can lead in to the regression phase, where your home country seems wonderful and you wonder why you left. If you make it through this one without packing your bags, you eventually hit the recovery phase, where you finally start to feel comfortable in your new country.

I'm not sure where I am, somewhere between the rejection and regression phase, I think. All I know is that yesterday, while enjoying what should have been a moment's peace with a wonderful chocolat chaud and a tarte aux pommes in one my of favourite cafés, I just felt lonely. And then I started to think about the things I used to do in Australia and the family and friends I used to do them with. I suddenly had an urge to run out and watch The English Patient (which I really didn't like that much) or some other Merchant Ivory production, weird hey?

And then I hit you tube to find the Cruel Sea singing this song and I found myself searching for INXS and Hunters and Collectors. Oh boy, I think I've got it bad! Sing it Tex...



13 comments:

Melbourne to Metz said...

I'm definetley missing Melbourne, and I really didn't think I would. I miss people, but I really miss being able to do what I want and be independent. I miss being able to do the things I used to that made me feel better when I was sad. My sister just sent me a pack of Tim Tams and some Who magazines which was really sweet of her. I miss lattes. And normal bread. And sausages Australian style. And I hate this weather so much. And I hate even more the fact that I could be on a 40 thousand a year salary right now if I wasn't here. But it's worth it to be with Christophe, but I really have to try and combat this whole rejection phase!

Rose said...

Oh, man, honey... I am so sorry. Here I was, wishing I could do what you are doing, thinking it's 100% bliss!
Trying to think of something to cheer you up. I have an idea, but for now, this will have to do:
http://www.idiots-guide.org/koala.htm

mammaclaudia said...

Hi Penny! I hope it's just a moment... I understend you miss your country. I've never been to Australia but I imagine it as one of the most beautiful places in the world (after Italy, obviously!). And you left SO far! It is normal for you to feel like that. And it is normal to have phases so... try to think of all the advantages of your life in France, look at your children's smile and... take care!

Penny said...

Hi M2M - its hard hey? I'm still in search of a decent sausage here - they all taste so packed with nitrates. Lucky you getting a care package of Who magazines! I'm looking at this as a positive step - I had to move out of the Honeymoon stage at some time if I'm ever going to feel at home here. BTW, have you read "Almost French". I'm just re-reading it now and some of it just rings sooo true! Hang in there :)

And Rose - thanks for the laugh! I'm doing much better after a chat with my Mum and calls from 2 friends from Australia :)

Thanks Claudia - you are right. France has so many good things to offer and the kids, especially Lily, are so happy here :)

French for a While said...

Sometimes I read one of your entries and I feel like just cutting and pasting it onto our blog, because I'm thinking the same thing. I think we're still in the honeymoon stage -- but the next stage is creeping in.

guera said...

Thanks for the Cruel Sea nostalgia! We have been listening to old Hoodoo Gurus lately - must be a homesickness thing too. I'm not sure where I'm at in the culture shock phases after a year and a half here (and almost 8 years away from our home town) - it varies from day to day. Some days I am revelling in the great things about being here, others everything that's different annoys me. I think I am almost in the recovery phase with occasional relapses into rejection and regression!
Just got back from our holiday so I'm catching up on your news. Sorry to hear about your troubles with Jasper but I'm sure it will all be fine. Yes, I know all about mother's guilt - as much as we logically know its not our fault, it doesn't make it any easier. I've got a story to tell about that from our holiday - the last day was spent at the Playacar hospital with Chiq having a head CT after a bump on the head - she's absolutely fine, but I still feel sick about it. I will blog about it in the next few days, as well as more happy stories from our trip.

Rupal said...

I can completely relate, Penny. There are days when I find it difficult to appreciate even one thing about Mexico and Mexicans - and it always gets bad when I am about to go home again. One of the blessings is that I am able to go home a few times a year because we are so close - I can't imagine how difficult it must be being so far away. But what a great attitude you have about getting on with this stage so that you can move into the next one. Hang in there!

Karen said...

It is a long process. But good for you to look on the positive side. One of the things that keeps me going is knowing that if I can make it through a rough patch, just make it through then things are going to fall back into place and I can find a deeper appreciation for the people and places in my life.

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

hey penny hang in there. You're doing a great job and I'm sure this rough patch will pass shortly.

Penny said...

Guera - Hoodoo Gurus - how can I have forgotten them? We spent a fun hour yesterday watching all the old videos on you tube - Leilani, My Girl and my absolute favourite Tojo (I never realized in my alcohol sodden late teens and early 20s that it was about Cyclone Tracy - bizarre!)

FFAW - that's what I like about expat blogging - finding people who are going through the same things but also reading about those who've made it through to the other side :)

Rupal - you know its probably good that I cant go back to Australia yet - that would make it worse for me, I think :)

Karen and L'étrangère americaine - thanks for your comments - I'm doing better but I'm sure it will be up and down for a while yet

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Just came across your blog...when the honeymoon phase ended for us, we happened to go see an American movie...and when I stepped outside of the cinema, I felt sooooo lonely and sad. Then everything about France started to irritate me!

Penny said...

Cassoulet Cafe - thanks for stopping by! I havent seen any movies yet - maybe I shouldnt go :)

screamish said...

The cruel sea! Hoodoo gurus...you don't know how great it is to find people who KNOW who these people are!!! It's so great!!!